I've posted previously my dislike of California. I should clarify that statement. I dislike the economic liberalism that is the state's government - a liberalism that is manifest in ways that seem to say, 'You are too foolish to protect yourselves, so the state will do it for you.' I hate the thought that the government seems to think they know what's best for me and that I don't have the freedom to live like a jerk if I should choose.
That being said, there are some things about the state that I do like. The state itself is beautiful and contains two of my all-time favorite cities, San Francisco and San Diego. I also have good friends and colleagues there, so it isn't all bad.
Ultimately, however, the state is bankrupt and I can't help but think that it has something to do with the above liberalism. And, just so I can say 'I told you so', the same California left-wing thought process is in charge of our national government, as well (bashing Pelosi could be a future post).
So, if you are still reading through this rant, you are probably asking, "why is he going off on California again?" The answer is because California seems to follow the European way of thinking and something has been occurring in the EU that just seems wrong.
My fear is that I will be seen as a Microsoft apologist, but the EU is so far off base with how it is addressing anti-competitiveness issues with Microsoft that I feel compelled to blog about it. And the same thought process that is pervasive in California is running the show here. The 'we are too stupid to take care of ourselves thought'.
In a nutshell, the EU has been battling Microsoft for years saying that it has unfairly used its market position to stifle competition. The use the whole Windows Media Center vs. Real Player thing as one example. The current battle is Internet Explorer vs. Netscape and other browsers. I won't comment about the ultimate claim, but even if Microsoft has wrongly taken advantage of their position to squeeze out the competition, the EU hasn't handled this case well. They fined Microsoft and stated that IE presents an unfair advantage.
So, what does Microsoft do? They announce that they'll sell Windows without IE.
Now, the EU states that this solution isn't adequate. Yet, Microsoft has addressed the concern that has been communicated by the EU.
But, since the concern wasn't communicated well, the EU has to backtrack. They want Windows to ship with alternatives. Ultimately, the EU got what it wanted, but now that it did, it wants more. This is where I have a problem...
The EU wants Windows to sell with a competitors' products integrated. Does that make sense? Would that be like making Airbus ship planes with Boeing parts? Or Nokia phones ship with Motorola parts? I don't get it. And, I don't get it because there are choices out there. If you don't want to use the MS browser, download Firefox or Safari. Both are available, work really well, and are free. In fact, in the time it took to post this message, I downloaded and installed Safari (I already had Firefox installed). A recent article states that half of eleven million Safari downloads have been on Windows machines, demonstrating that this is exactly what consumers are doing.
Therefore, my message to the EU is, "get off of our desktops." We're not as stupid as you think we are - and even if we were, freedom means that we are allowed to act in ways that might be counter to our well-being. In fact, it is the ultimate freedom that allows participants TO LOSE.
That's what we seem to have lost [pun intended]. At the end of the day, every little leaguer who plays doesn't have to get a trophy. In order to win, someone has to lose. You can't have one without the other. In today's bail-out, hand-out society, it seems that winning has now become a bad word, and that it is wrong to allow anyone to lose. The problem with that, is that you take all motivation to compete away. Look at the 32-hour work week in France, or the socialism that is becoming more and more common in Europe, or in California.
Perhaps the best way to ensure competition isn't to restrict the participants but to ensure that losing is a real possibility.