04 February 2011

Addressing a Fallacy


Microsoft is disgusting because they break the law. Microsoft routinely engages in conflicts of interest, forces shoddy products on the consumer, and suborns government officials. Microsoft goes beyond the bounds of what is LEGAL. Amusingly, Apple was originally funded by sales of "rainbow boxes" of questionable legality.
It also happens that their products are inferior the Xerox PARC originals, but that's also true of Apple. Both Microsoft and Apple copied from Xerox.

I’ve addressed IP law before, so I see little need to do so here.  Also, the claim of “conflicts of interest” is a rather obvious red herring, so I will ignore it for the time being. Instead, I will focus on one tiny little fallacy that not only ruins Occultrick’s argument, but thousands of other arguments as well.

That fallacy, as seen here, is the assumption that value is objective.   Instead, value is inherently subjective, which excludes it from being objective.

The claim that Microsoft forces shoddy products upon the consumer is laughably false.  While most Microsoft products are far from perfect, that doesn’t make them inherently shoddy.  As any software engineer knows, all programs face tradeoffs.  There comes a point where adding more features and options and customizability undermine a product’s simplicity and ease of use.  The question that must be asked is always, what is the optimal blend of these elements that ensures the software works for its stated purpose?

Thus far, consumers have indicated they like somewhat complex systems with broad peripheral support that is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t require the ability to write code.  Apple products are remarkably expensive, and most people don’t find the higher costs to be worth the added benefits.  This preference is neither right nor wrong.  It simply is.

Likewise, the remarkably low market share of FreeBSD and Linux distros indicates that consumers want a system that is relatively well-supported and doesn’t require a degree in software engineering to use.  Again, this preference is neither right nor wrong.  It just is.

The bulk of users have a similar set of preferences when it comes to operating systems, and they recognize the tradeoffs.  Microsoft has done a good job of capitalizing on these preferences.  They deserve kudos for that.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your software is flawless.  It doesn’t even matter if your software is superior to other software at a specific task.  Ultimately, what matters is that consumers believe your software is not only better than all the rest, but is also worth the cost.  At this point, it seems clear that consumers believe that Microsoft offers the best combination of features, and offers said features at the best price.

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