This last column of the year will be a bash on the “Evil Empire” that is Microsoft. I have no shame and I am definitely not sorry. Some of you dumbass Microsoft fan boys might be saying, “That asshole Apple guy is so damn ignorant.” As you’ll see in a moment, I don’t hate Microsoft because I’m a fan of Apple, but because they are stagnating the growth of the technology industry with their blatantly obvious monopolies and attempts to kill the open source community.

For those of you who don’t know, Microsoft has monopolies. Microsoft’s three biggest monopolies that pertain to the average consumer are Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. How did Microsoft gain these monopolies? Once Microsoft had a staggering 95 percent of the operating system market, they began loading Windows with Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Consumers began using these applications because they were already available. The consumers had no reason to go out and get anything else. With 95 percent of the operating system market, everyone was using Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Microsoft essentially took their first monopoly, Microsoft Windows, and tricked consumers into using their other two products.

While monopolies in the operating system and the office productivity suite markets are important, the other monopoly is the more modern product that affects a technology very close to our lives – the Internet and the World Wide Web. Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s dominant closed-source Internet browser application, which I will explain in a moment. While there have been attempts by Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari to cut some of Internet Explorer’s market share, Internet Explorer’s worldwide usage averages around 85 percent, according to some statistics. The tragedy isn’t that Internet Explorer is the most vulnerable Internet browser, but that Internet Explorer is included in every new Windows PC sold. To most people, it is the only option.

Microsoft’s monopoly of the Internet browser market is crippling the future of Internet development. Microsoft refuses to comply with many of the World Wide Web Consortium – the governing body of the World Wide Web – standards and are slow to adopt new emerging technologies. As any web designers or developers will tell you, when they design a website, they make sure it works properly on the many different versions of Internet Explorer. This limits their creativity and progress in building websites. Monopolies do not bring about innovation and change and this is the main reason why I hate Microsoft with a passion.

Looking into the future, Microsoft has also been taking aim at the open source software community. To those who don’t know what open source software is, allow me to briefly educate. Open source software is any piece of software code that is readily available for anyone to view, change, improve and redistribute. The Linux operating system is a good example of this because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different distributions (or versions) of Linux out on the Internet for anyone to use. In contrast to Linux, Microsoft Windows is a closed source operating system, which means nobody can see the software code except Microsoft. There are many advantages of open source software, some of which include the wide range of compatibility across many platforms, and the speed in which bugs and other vulnerabilities are fixed. These advantages are the some of the best outcomes of the massive open source community.

A couple weeks ago, however, Microsoft accused the open source community of violating 235 of its patents. Over 100 of these violations involve the Linux distributions, and over 60 violations are related to Open Office, which is a completely free version of Office that everyone should use. Why does Microsoft want to kill the open source community? Simply to protect their three monopolies. This just proves once again that Microsoft really is the evil empire, and all they really care about is their bottom line.