Newsletter #493 Preview: Of Bill Gates and P.T. Barnum

May 10th, 2009

The legendary carnival showman, P.T. Barnum, once denied saying “there’s a sucker born every minute,” but he was fated to forever have that phrase attached to his name. However, you didn’t have to take Barnum seriously, since he was strictly delivering entertainment. If you didn’t like the show, you didn’t have to see it ever again.

When it comes to Bill Gates and Microsoft, unfortunately, we are stuck with their products, which, as well all know, continue to dominate the personal computer landscape. While a Mac user can easily exist in a Microsoft-free environment by choosing alternatives to Word and Excel when it comes to basic productivity apps, you will find it horrendously difficult to avoid businesses that do not, at least to some extent, depend on Windows and other products from the world’s largest software company.

From banks to restaurants, Windows is deeply entrenched. Even if there are Mac alternatives to the vertical market software these firms use, it may not be cheap or easy to switch. It requires acquiring new equipment, new software licenses and at least some retraining is definitely involved. Macs may be easier to use, but that does not make them simple, particularly for workers who are accustomed to doing things differently.

What many business owners evidently don’t know — or are afraid to admit — is the fact that Microsoft didn’t reach the peak of the mountain by delivering better products. From the very first, they achieved a large portion of their success through misdirection and outright deception.

P.T. Barnum would have been proud of Bill Gates.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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