10.29.2007

Facebook, Microsoft & The Campaign for (Virtual) World Domination

by Molly Kenney

If there is ever going to be one supranational government, it will be run by Bill Gates.

A key move in the campaign by Gates and Microsoft to dominate the computer world unfolded just in the past week. That's when Facebook announced that Microsoft had bought a 1.6 percent share of the social networking site for $240 million. The percentage looks small, but that small bit of control over the $15 billion e-empire of approximately 50 million users — the majority of whom belong to the important 18 to 24 demographic — is very significant.

Maybe Facebook users haven’t noticed Microsoft ads creeping onto the sidelines of their pages, a practice in use for some time now. But everyone’s noticed that Microsoft controls the software, operating systems, personal computer, and computer gaming markets and that Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, worth at least $59 billion. Gates, and Microsoft by association, may even dominate the realm of international philanthropy.

While many students find Facebook both an obsession and an inane distraction, few can dispute the powerful medium the “social utility,” as its slogan reads, has proven to be. High school students, college students, and 20-somethings from around the world are gathered in one cyber-place for advertisers’ taking, doling out personal information and exchanging consumer preferences freely. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, and the advertisers who line his pockets, probably know more about my generation than we do about ourselves, and Microsoft knows that getting its foot in the door is one step closer to controlling that knowledge — and Facebook.

In a few years, Microsoft will probably have bought out Facebook and merged it with Windows, so our entire lives (already centered on our computers) will be run by one operating system. Meanwhile, Gates will likely trump rival Google and acquire YouTube, merging that technology with the rest. We petty automatons will still think our YouTube creations a brilliant form of expression and information-sharing, while Gates and other Microsoft execs laugh at the diversion they’ve made for us and sign the papers for their buyout of the United Nations.

Microsoft’s domination keeps growing and growing, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Is such growth really benign?

(Photo of Bill Gates at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by Domain Barnyard of Las Vegas via Flickr using a Creative Commons License.)







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3 comments:

Watsonia said...

Microsoft may inject a great deal of capital into Facebook, isn't the social networking supposed to be based on trust? A small and intimate social networking siyte such as www.b4uparty.com has so much more community spirit to offer than Facebook

Anonymous said...

I love a quote made a long time ago by Steve Jobs. To paraphrase what Jobs said essentially is that he does not have any complaint about Microsoft's success, they have more or less earned their success but what does bother him is that Microsoft makes really second rate products. (the irony in Job's voice is impossible to duplicate in writing).

What jobs said all those years ago is still true today as I pull my hair out with Microsoft Vista. Thank god in my personal life I have a Mac

thanks
john

academic research paper said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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