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June 18th, 2005

Counting Microsoft’s Tentacles: Just How Tethered Are We?

[My wife] and I both use our home computers to do work-related tasks a great deal. Both of our shops use all of the Microsoft Office applications. … So, practically speaking, because of the demands of my job, I cannot boycott Microsoft entirely on my home computers… Basically, the only Microsoft-produced application I could actually boycott is Windows itself.

Microsoft Embraces the WorldEven a dedicated Microsoft-boycotter like me has trouble avoiding contributing to Microsoft’s coffers these days. On some level, I know my friend worries about supporting Microsoft products, because he uses Mozilla instead of IE, and Quicken instead of Money. But Microsoft’s empire runs far deeper than just Office, Windows, Money, and Internet Explorer. (Oh, that’s right… IE isn’t a separate product. Sorry, I forgot that for a moment.)

Bill Gates and his gang have been focused on defending the Microsoft monopoly for so long, they’ve managed to gain significant shares in pretty much all technologies and market segments that might pose a threat to Windows. Since my fellow Microsoft-watch writers have been kind of quiet on this particular topic for a few years now, I thought it would be good to survey the scene afresh. Let’s take a quick look at the various outposts of Windows technologies and see just how many tentacles we can find (in no particular order).

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