Microsoft Indonesia

What did Bill Gates’ wife say to him on their wedding night?
Now I know why you called your company Microsoft!

Hahaha! A bit limp perhaps but he ain’t stupid. Remember all that antitrust fuss a few years’ back? Well that went away a bit too easily didn’t it? For a time the regulators were saying that his company would have to be broken up because of its monopolistic characteristics (Windows is installed on at least 90% of all PCs). And then NOTHING. What the heck happened there? All very mysterious indeed.

And here in Indonesia, Bill Gates has even, according to some people (not my opinion), “bought” the Indonesian government: they have supposedly agreed to buy Microsoft products for all government offices in exchange for a contribution to some sort of “slush fund”.

Bill Gates has even blown his gasket on the issue of copyright violations.

Now what gets me is that Microsoft claims that the total losses due to piracy of DVDs, music CDs and computer software should be based on the retail value of the products pirated. They come up with some ridiculously humongous figure that I can’t remember except that it’s in the billions of dollars.

But any fool would know that it isn’t like that. Sure an average Indonesian may be willing to buy a pirated DVD for US$0.50 at places like Glodok. But if it were sold at say US$20 would they still buy it? Of course not! They’d watch the stuff broadcast by the TV stations instead. So it isn’t really a potential loss. The DVD sale simply wouldn’t have been made.

And why should the Americans be so upset anyway? In fact, I reckon they should be pleased that Indonesians are watching pirated Hollywood DVDs and listening to illegally downloaded MP3s. After all, from a strategic viewpoint, doesn’t this mean that the people of the world’s largest Muslim nation are being exposed to the ideals and values of the world’s no 1 espouser of capitalism?

In short, pirated DVDs are basically a great way of bringing American culture - Pamela Anderson included - into the homes of the downtrodden masses in third world countries. And I reckon it’s a strategy that’s working really well. Cos it’s truly remarkable how Americanized the people living in Indonesia’s main cities really are – a far cry from the machete wielding radicals who are wreaking havoc in the Sulawesi town of Poso.

And heck, shouldn’t the Americans be paying the Indonesians to watch some of this Hollywood stuff? Cos let’s face it, some of it really is not very good, is it?

As for Microsoft, they produce some of the most cumbersome and monstrous computer software ever written. No elegance whatsoever. And if you’re still using IE to read this blog, do yourself a favor: switch to Firefox. It’s much more compact, faster and easier to use. Sorry Bill. But never mind mate. You can always try this stuff:


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