Mixed Microsoft

By Mark Nuyens
6 min. read📱 Technology

My feelings toward Microsoft are a mix of appreciation for some things they offer and concerns about some of their practices.

Our relationship with technology can be complicated, to say the least. I've found myself in a love-hate relationship with Microsoft in particular. It all started in 2002, the year I got my first computer, where Windows Media Player skins and the world of gaming on the Xbox captured my teenage heart.

Before owning my first computer, I had used my parents' Windows 95, mostly for playing games. However, my Windows XP allowed me to install applications and build my very first website. I even remember customizing my Windows XP boot-up screen to display some corny message, an experience that felt like being a legit hacker. In the midst of it all, I found profound inspiration in the exceptionally artistic designs for Windows Media Player, courtesy of The Skins Factory. And let's not forget the launch of Halo, an Xbox game that forever altered the course of my teenage years (I still play this game, by the way).

However, things took a turn when I got myself an iPod Touch in 2007, diverting me down the Apple path. This sleek device, essentially an iPhone without call functions, introduced me to the world of Apple, with its clean interface and a world of apps that made my digital life a dream. My transition to a MacBook further solidified my commitment to the Apple ecosystem, leaving Windows behind forever.

In the years that followed, I noticed how Microsoft's Windows had taken on various forms and styles, both in hardware and software. It felt like they were trying too hard, playing catch-up with new trends and market demands. Years later, the Microsoft I once admired had seemingly transformed into an antagonist in the tech world. Their most popular product, Office, had become a subscription-based service and even my beloved Xbox had shown signs of corporate greed. Their relentless push of their Edge browser certainly wasn't helping either, showing the less appealing side of Microsoft.

Through a series of acquisitions spanning social platforms such as Github, LinkedIn, Discord and entire game studios like Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has steadily strengthened its hold on the software landscape and ensure its long-term goals and ambitions. And let's not forget their substantial investment in OpenAI, showing the considerable power Microsoft has gained, especially with their products and services combined. Their position should at the very least raise some ethical questions about its future impact – for the greater good or otherwise.

However, despite of these concerns, Microsoft provides me with VS Code, a free development tool I really enjoy using, as proudly evidenced by the sticker on my laptop. They also own Github and Discord, platforms I wholeheartedly support. And after discovering that Microsoft is the main backer for OpenAI, rather than some other faceless corporation, or worse, Google, I must confess that I was somewhat relieved.

The tech industry is a tangled web of options and dilemmas, with companies' interests interwoven in intricate ways. It's a challenging environment for consumers to navigate, leaving us wondering which path to take. As a Linux user, I've observed this "drama" from a neutral standpoint, yet that doesn't make it any less bewildering. This blog post doesn't provide definitive answers or conclusions but serves as a moment of reflection on the evolving dynamics of Microsoft.

In the end, I can't help but genuinely wonder about Microsoft's role when it comes to AI democratization and stepping up against other tech giants or, in the words of Satya Nadella, "make them dance". Call me naive, but I believe Microsoft may just hold the key to a more ethical and regulated tech landscape, a trust that I find harder to place in some of the other tech giants.

One thing is for sure though: Microsoft's journey certainly is intriguing, and I eagerly await how they handle the responsibilities that come with supporting OpenAI and their role in democratizing this powerful tool. In today's tech climate, it's a story worth keeping an eye on. Let's just cross our fingers this story has a happy ending.