Monday, December 20, 2004

PBS | I, Cringely: Between an xBox and a Hard Place

PBS | I, Cringely: Between an xBox and a Hard Place: "With its continual need for more revenue, Microsoft will by then have already finished its destruction of the world software market, will have sucked all the profit out of the world hardware market, and will discard its hardware OEMs like HP and Dell and compete with them head-to-head. And they'll be doing the same for DVDs, TVs -- even mobile phones. Of course, part of the plan is for all the content coming to those devices to throw off little revenue streams to Microsoft, too. And the software that holds it all together will be rented, rather than owned or even traditionally licensed. This would give Microsoft both the deterministic revenue stream it covets and the leverage of being able to threaten to turn off the tap and thereby maintain control over, well, all of us. It will be an effective five to 10 percent tax on global income that suddenly appears one day, and academics will call it a natural monopoly.
Fortunately -- and I can assure you I never thought I would ever in my life be writing this -- IBM may save the day.
By maintaining independence from Microsoft and actually making Microsoft dependent on it, IBM can have some influence on this diabolical scheme. They could foster alternate standards and, by doing so, make a good living. Let's just hope the two companies don't decide to simply share the booty and jointly enslave us, couches, potatoes, and all."
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