Upgrading a computer to Windows 8 or Office 2013 is like swapping the driver’s seat in your car for one of those goofy kneeling posture chairs. You can do it, but why in Hell would you want to? Unfortunately, to function in the real world you have to be able to run programs that are compatible with updated Windows and Office. Therefore, Microsoft gets to impose such asinine “improvements” as ribbons instead of drop-down menus and tiles instead of a “Start” list on the computer-buying public.
Reasonably intelligent computer users can adapt to the new programs, but why should we have to? The former versions of Windows and Office were functional and relatively easy to navigate. If greater functionality was necessary, why was it necessary to change the user interface and make users learn whole new ways of working on their computers? Instead of selling customers what they want, Microsoft dictates to its customers what they may have. This suggests the question of what would a car look like if Microsoft had the kind of monopoly on automobiles it has on PC operating systems.
Car makers make incremental styling and mechanical changes and respond to customer preferences. Customers who do not like what the new Fords look like or how they perform will transfer their loyalty to a competing brand.
Computer buyers must take the operating system and office software that Microsoft gives them. If they do not want to upgrade, too bad. In a few years tried and true software solutions stop working on new machines, and new software is not compatible with older hardware. Office 2010 was a slap in the face to the computing public. Microsoft decided to create a new suite of business programs outputting documents that cannot even be opened under the prior versions. That is like Trojan creating a new line of products that require a surgical upgrade — and having the market power to force men to get the operation.
If Microsoft had control of the automotive industry, cars would no longer have transparent windows. There would be a 360̊ camera on top of the car feeding into panoramic LCD “Windows™” lining the inside of the car. There would be no steering wheel or other mechanical controls, the car would be “driven” by touching a destination on a projected map or by negotiating through a virtual universe like Google “Street View.”
Cars would be totally safe because there would be radar and sonar sensors all around the car that would prevent collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects. Unfortunately, though, for the first couple of years after new models are introduced, they would tend to crash all the time.
Styling would be abandoned. Why would a car owner care about the car’s appearance? When using the vehicle it would be impossible to see what it looks like from the outside and occupants of other vehicles would not see it, either. They would choose a theme and wallpaper. From the perspective of anyone inside a vehicle, it could be cruising through a coral reef, a verdant jungle, or a solar system. Other vehicles might look like Roman chariots, battleships, or kids on skateboards.
Might this be more fun than really driving a car? Some people would think so. However, a Microsoft car would only last five years and every fifteen minutes it would have to be parked so it could update itself.
I prefer to view the real world through conventional safety-glass windows and be in physical control of my car. More than that, though, I would rather choose the type of car I buy than be required to accept whatever the auto monopoly decides to build. Let us hope that Microsoft never takes control of the auto industry, or, even worse, food or health care. Let’s also hope Verizon doesn’t, either. Then a new car would only cost $49, but the service plan would kill your budget.
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
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