Holding a Grudge Forever

Microsoft burned me in 2002 when I was running a small retail nursery business selling rose bushes online. Through their puppet, the Business Software Alliance, they accused my tiny business of having pirated software. I was threatened with hundreds of thousands dollars of liability. They offered an amnesty program that would still cost me thousands, forcing me to layoff an employee. I had no pirated software in my business, but I couldn't find any of those "Certificates of Authenticity" that had come with my three Dell computers, I just about bit their amnesty hook. I had a week of sleepless nights as I agonized who I was going to layoff and how I was going to get by short an employee for a whole season.

Just as I was about to pay, I figured out that the whole thing was a scam: a protection racket. My business was called "The Uncommon Rose". I suddenly noticed that the envelope was address to Rose Uncommon and the letter began "Dear Rose". I asked other local business owners if they had received such letters. Sure enough almost every one had. A couple business had already paid them off.

Microsoft knew nothing about my business or any other. They had bought a marketing mailing list and SPAMed every one with the same accusations. They were just trying to pump small businesses for money. I think what they did was a crime, I, along with others in my community reported the scam to the Oregon Attorney General's Office.

Microsoft turned an enthusiastic customer into an enemy. I removed all Microsoft products from my business, embracing Open Source Software. Linux replaced Windows.  Microsoft keyboards and mice went to electronic recycling. Open Office trumped MSOffice. Python took over for MS C++. Postgres shoved SQLServer aside.  Never again would Microsoft be allowed to have their hand in my revenue stream. I will hate them and their products forever.

Now some eleven years later, I delight in seeing Microsoft falter. The day that vile company files for bankruptcy, I will pop a champagne bottle. I would love to see a "For Lease" sign on their corporate headquarters building. There are certainly companies in the world that are probably even more deserving of my ire, but my focus is still the Redmond Racketeer.

Articles like these make me smile:

Infoworld: The death of the PC
Windows 8: Epic Fail of the Decade?
Five reasons why Windows 8 has failed