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Caller Wants Me to Love Microsoft


RUSH:  Back to the phones we go on Open Line Friday.  This is Stewart in Gainesville, Florida.  Hi, Stewart.  Great to have you on the program.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  I've been an off-and-on listener to your show over the years, and one thing I've consistently heard you do is sing the praises of Apple products.  And it's time for somebody to call BS on that, and I'm the guy to do it.

RUSH:  All right!  All right!  BS to that! The Stick-to-the-Issues Crowd is gonna love you.

CALLER:  Yes.  Well, it's time this topic was aired.  There are two parts here.  There's a technical part and a regulatory part, and they are related.  First, let's acknowledge the technological part that the only reason computers became the force in our lives that they did is because one company made a world-changing decision when IBM decided they weren't going to make their PC, personal computer, of proprietary architecture. 

Because of that one decision, they made the concept of a computer affordable to everybody because they didn't keep the technology to themselves, and it allowed people all over the world to turn out clones at lower cost.  That's why all through the nineties when the industry was in its big growth phase, the IBM compatible had 90% of the market and Apple -- which was supposedly the quote/unquote "superior technology" -- had only 10%.

Because it was so much more expensive than the IBM clones because Apple wanted to control every single part that went into the machine and every byte of software that went into it.  So all through the nineties Apple lovers always talked about, "Oh, the Apple is so superior; it never locks up. And the IBM compatible is a piece of junk 'cause it crashes all the time."  Well, of course it crashed all the time because there were thousands of people all over the world writing software for it.

RUSH:  Wait a minute.  What is...? Okay, so IBM makes the home computer possible, and Apple decides to go Mac and doesn't license clones (although they did for a while before Jobs came back). Why is that bad for Apple?  What'd Apple do there?

CALLER:  Well --

RUSH:  You said you --

CALLER:  Let me... Let's go to the other half of my argument, and see if I can tie it in for you.

RUSH:  But no.  No, no, no, no.  You said you need to get my mind right or get it straight about Apple. They're not the greatest guys in the world like I make 'em sound.  What did they do wrong by having 10% market share?


RUSH:  I don't understand the crime.  What?

CALLER:  Okay.  All I'm saying is.... Well, you gotta let me get to part two.

RUSH:  Okay, let's go to the part two.  We'll come back to part one and we'll try to close that.

CALLER:  It's the regulatory angle that ties into that angle.  Do you remember back in the nineties when the FTC went after Microsoft 'cause it was so wrong that they had a monopoly on the operating system and the apps that they could fold into it and were putting all these little software companies out of business?

RUSH:  They were bundling. They were bundling their browser with the operating system and thereby freezing everybody out, yeah.

CALLER:  Right. The Justice Department, you remember, wanted to break Microsoft up into an operating system company.

RUSH: That was only because Microsoft wasn't paying any bribes.  They didn't have any lobbyists, and they weren't greasing any skids.  And the way it works in Washington, if you don't have a lobbyist and if you don't have somebody greasing skids to pave the way for you -- i.e., sharing some of your profits with politicians -- they're gonna come after you.

CALLER:  Okay, but it did happen. For whatever reason, they didn't play the game? Okay. But it did happen.  Now, what if Apple had been...? What if the shoe had been on the other foot and Apple had the 90% market share. Think what the Justice Department would have done to them, because they would have in effect a monopoly on hardware and software.  What I'm saying is that computers became part of our lives because... What I'm saying is, specifically Apple, because they got to fly under the radar all through the nineties, and Microsoft took all the heat, it gave them the cover to become great.

RUSH:  How in the world does a 10% market share allow you to fly under the radar and dominate anything or anybody or force anybody to do anything?

CALLER:  Because the Justice Department was so focused on Microsoft.

RUSH:  Well, right. How can somebody with 10% market share even be called a monopolist?

CALLER:  That's what I'm saying.  What if the shoe had been on the other foot?

RUSH:  But it wasn't!

CALLER: (silence)

RUSH: We can do "what if" with all kinds of things. What if Samsung had not copied the iPhone and had invented it themselves instead? Where would Apple be?

CALLER:  Okay. Can --

RUSH:  But they didn't.  They copied and stole the iPhone and used it. And that's a court decision, by the way, that affirmed that.  I'm just saying.

CALLER:  Well, can you at least acknowledge that for Apple fans to say... (pause) I'm never gonna convince you, am I?

RUSH:  I don't know what you want me to admit to.  If you'll just tell me what that is, I'll be glad to consider it.

CALLER: (deep sigh)

RUSH: What am I guilty of? You just don't like Apple fanboys.  You think they've been brainwashed, and you think they just love Apple just 'cause it's Apple and they won't be open to anything else because, for whatever reasons, their minds have been poisoned. Apple's really not the best. IBM and all these derivatives are. But because of what Apple did, the way they played it, and they've skirted any kind of regulation, they've been allowed to basically sell junk to people and they think it's class stuff.  Is that what it is?

CALLER: (sigh) Okay.  I wouldn't put it as extremely, but it just ticked me off so much that I had to listen in the nineties to how crappy the IBM compatible PC was.

RUSH:  Okay!

CALLER:  But it was open to the world.  Anybody could write a piece of software for it.

RUSH:  Right, even the clunkers.

CALLER:  Apple kept everything in-house; they controlled every single part of the process.  The IBM compatible is what made the computer revolution possible! That's what I'm trying to get at.

RUSH:  And you wish everybody loved Microsoft and appreciated them instead of loving Apple and appreciating them, 'cause you think Apple --

CALLER:  I wouldn't say "instead of."  Just acknowledge it. Just acknowledge that IBM's decision to let the --

RUSH:  Well, then why did IBM get out of it?  Why did IBM close up their consumer computer division?

CALLER:  Because the clones that they enabled by opening their architecture took all the profit out.

RUSH:  Well, see, that's the dirty little secret.  That's the real answer. There wasn't any profit.  That's why there's an Apple.


RUSH:  Now, our previous caller made his point a little bit more complicated than it needed to be.  He just wishes that I were a Microsoft fan because he thinks Microsoft paid the dues to make Apple possible.  He thinks Microsoft enduring their massive lawsuits, that anti-trust suit, and that they paved the way. I mean, they ate the costs at first. They made the home computer possible.

They made it open to everybody, and they were down for the struggle. And then Apple came along, didn't pay any dues and were just scoring a huge profit with only 10% market share. So he just wishes I would acknowledge Microsoft's role in paving the way.  I think that's what he was basically after.  But I think where IBM got screwed... (sigh) I'm, you know, wild guessing here.

But PC compatibility moved from being compatible with IBM to Microsoft, Windows.  First there was MS-DOS, and then there was Windows, and Gates came along... You talk about monopoly, the monopoly was that Gates had contracts that Windows or MS-DOS had to run on every PC made.  They were bundling their Internet Explorer browser and not giving people chances to use Netscape or whatever. That's technically what it was.  Gates was just a brilliant contract negotiator.

But the clones that he was talking about -- the PC clones, not the Macs, but the PC clones -- didn't have to have IBM motherboards, circuit boards, and other parts. So, at the end, IBM didn't have anything to sell.  Dell Computer, Compaq, it didn't matter, what you were really buying. Those computers weren't any different than any other 'cause it was the operating system, the software that made it, and that was all the same thing. 

So you got Sony VAIO? Okay. You like the way it looks. But it's gonna do the same stuff that a Dell does or it's gonna do the same thing that a Gateway did. (interruption)  Snerdley said, "Crash, virus." (chuckles)  Right.  But point is, it was a tough row for those guys. If you're Gateway or Dell, you've got a computer, but it's no different than the other guy's computer other than you can't put any different features on it than the other guys have because that's all Microsoft. 

You can maybe put a couple of different buttons on the keyboard, and you can have a better display with more pixels and all that. But that's how you had to differentiate your computer.  The way it worked was identical to the other guy's computer, and then Apple, of course, had a wholly different operating system. (interruption) Yeah, well, that's right. Apple's system was really glommed onto by artistes, musicians, graphics designers. I think it was Apple that introduced the first laser printer, if I'm not mistaken, for consumer use.  



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