I’m not one of those guys always badmouthing Microsoft. Sure, I’m always badmouthing my computer. And Microsoft has a lot to do with what is going on in my computer. But if Microsoft has something to do with the glitches, it also has a lot to do with what works.
We get impatient if it takes three minutes instead of three seconds for an email to reach someone half-way around the world. Still, it’s a dang miracle, ain’t it? The law moves a little slower, but we do seem to be near a resolution of the Justice Department’s years-long anti-trust suit against Microsoft. A few states must still sign off on the deal. But it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
For those of us who view this lawsuit as the misbegotten brainchild of envious competitors, the proposed settlement is both a relief and a disappointment. A relief, because at least the company isn’t going to be chopped in half. A disappointment, because Microsoft will still be handcuffed. It will be banned from entering into exclusive contracts with PC makers, for example. And it will have to put up with a three-man regulatory tribunal that will be allowed to hunker down in Microsoft’s own offices, at Microsoft’s expense, in order to monitor Microsoft’s every move.
Who knows? With a little luck, we still might be able to turn one of the most hard-driving and successful companies in U.S. history into the functional equivalent of the post office. Not that I’m rooting for that outcome, mind you, and somehow I don’t think that would make our email go any faster.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.