Letter: Why we use Windows

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Usborne provides one possible explanation for people's use of Windows: because they like it ("Bill Gates is going into battle with the US government", 12 May). A straw-poll of the Windows users I know provides a different reason: because they have no other viable option. In an ideal market, the consumer has the privilege of choosing the best product for their needs, but we do not live in such enlightened times.

Joel Klein of the US Justice Department should ponder the following problem. Is it better for the consumer to have the option of using many different operating systems (and associated software) with the hassle of data conversion between different standards, or would he or she prefer standardised Microsoft products which have no competition and consequently less pressure to improve rapidly? Would the amount of time saved using a system honed to perfection by pressure from the "consumer with a choice" offset the extra hours needed to overcome incompatibility problems between rival systems? If the answer is yes, then by all means let us split up Microsoft.


Department of Computing

Imperial College

London SW7