Open Ballot: Which is the biggest threat to freedom - Google, Microsoft or Apple?


We're going to record our first podcast of 2012 later this week. And as we're feeling a little cold, we want to warm things up with our first open ballot question of the year. We’re asking whether you think it’s Google, Microsoft or Apple that represents the biggest threat to our freedom, and why. We’ll give our opinions in the next podcast. If you’d like to hear your own, sign out of your Google account, delete your cookies and leave a comment. Double points for those with an amusing name.

You should follow us on or Twitter

Your comments


Can't separate any of them, Apple is locking down EVERYTHING, Microsoft is starting to lock down everything and Google is waiting to swipe what little freedom we have left.

Is the measurement of freedom openness?

Apple not even trying to enforce any form of freedom. They are in fact flying in the face of anything free, by actively closing any medium which they control.

Microsoft, always the definition of closed source, are having to adapt at least some freedom into their approach. Particularly in the shape of cross platform technologies. And we have Microsoft products on GitHub. Nowhere near a pro-freedom company, but one which is being pushed there as they begin to crumble as a super-power.

Google, On some front's they are all pro-freedom, but there is an undercurrent where they are not free, nor in anyway do they provide freedom to their users. In their privacy policies and other convulted and dark corners of Google, its clear that they do not care about the user's freedom. But in general when we look at things like Android(although the openness of this is debatable at times) and the fact that all their services your data can be exported, I find Google to be the least evil of the 3 Companies here. Google have started to let their name slip a little recently I think, reflected across tech sites. I think they need to get back into the game and start releasing as much open source software and giving back to the community, and try to stop enforcing products people don't necessarily want.

All of them

The biggest threat to freedom is google, because google knows everything about what you do on the internet and it is available on linux, mac and windows.We don't know how much information is google collecting about us and what we are doing on internet.
On the second position is Mircrosoft, they try to have control over your pc so only the software offered by them can work, this is like a move made by Apple so that MacOS work only on specific machine made by them.
Personally I wanna add another threat and that is Canonical, they try to be like all of this tree in one piece.


Currently I think apple are the worst for this, they want you to live in a little apple bubble only doing things they want you to do. They want you to live in a world where you use everything apple, so they can make even more money from you than they already do.
Google I think are possibly the most key player in this debate. I can avoid apple at all costs, and only use microsoft products when absolutely neccessary, but I like so many others rely on google search every single day. I don't like having so much dependence on anyone company, but they have been the best for years so I will be dissappointed if they let us all down now.
Microsoft have and always will be haters of open source software, no matter what their press releases say. However, at least they don't stop you from running free software (at the moment anyways). If they force secure boot upon us which they probably will, and the manufacturers don't give us a way out then I would imagine the EU may step in.

Its not just the companies you have mentioned though. It is the government and the courts and all the other legal procedings going on that are messing the internet up. Megaupload was a prime example that they don't care if you rely on a service for legal practises. BT being forced to block newsbin too, it really won't be long until the government and ISPs decide what we can and can't do on our computers.

Besides the obvious one

Besides the obvious one being the US government I would say all three have an equal chance to take away whatever freedom they can. They are all kind of trusted by their users and could easily marginally shift over time to something much worse.


"Personally I wanna add another threat and that is Canonical, they try to be like all of this tree in one piece."
I don't agree. I think Canonical are doing a fantastic job at developing their platform without hurting the open source community. Its easy to shoot at one of the largest linux distros, but your forgetting that ubuntu's main aim is to provide a free and open source fully functional operating system for everyone. Personally, I think they are doing a great job, they are trying news things, trying to innovate the community to drive linux forward.


The worst threat to freedom comes from neither of the three companies. It comes from the ease of use that most computers provide, and the extent to which they hide the underlying system. People expect coding to be as easy as clicking a button, and run away screaming when they see what it's really like. In the graduating class of 2011 at my school, 12 people are taking political science as a major for university. 24 people are taking art. 40 people are taking an economics major. One person is taking a computer science major. At an inter-school technology conference in Hong Kong, there were 40 student led workshops. Only one of them was about programming. 38 workshops were about using computers to create music, media and art. The last one was a computer games club. Two people showed up to the programming workshop. This conference was open to every student in Hong Kong.

Alarm bells were sounded about SOPA because people understood the consequences. What happens when schools stop producing students skilled with computers? What happens when the older generations of computer engineers dies out?

The diminishing knowledge of technology among the general populace is the greatest threat to our freedom.

But let's blame Apple for hiding the underlying system. It's fun to blame companies.

Apple + Microsoft

I'll admit I'm naive, but I still think Google's money tree (advertising) gives them little incentive to be evil. Every other company on the planet actually has to sell something to survive, and therein lies temptation and corruption.

I vote for Apple and Microsoft in equal measure.

Apple: for trying to create a world where children who would otherwise grow up to be the next Linus Torvalds or (dare I say it) Steve Jobs instead grow up never even thinking of trying to peek behind the curtain. If Apple wins then tinkerers will eventually cease to exist.

Microsoft: one only need take a gander at on a regular basis to see that Microsoft are still determined to destroy Linux (and Android). The tactics they employ are so vile, it frustrates me that only Barnes & Noble seems to have the courage to fight back.

What threat?

If by "freedom" you mean can I run Linux on any computer then the enemy is Microsoft.

But if you mean how you live your life then we're into the realm of politics and what has that to do with LinuxFormat?

In decending order of evilness.

As far as I'm concerned, Apple may have the edge for the number one spot for their blatant 'our way or the highway' and their enthusiastic abuses of the software patent 'system' that exists in some countries.

M$ come in a close second because although they do offer a freer system, they too would seem to rely on legal bullying and extortion to get ahead rather than by competing with a competitive product. as for that locked down UEFI for ARM devises business...

Google come a pretty distant 3rd in terms of being a threat to freedom. they do seem reasonably good at sticking to their 'Do no Evil' motto. If anything, they need to be watched as a threat to privacy. Which is of course a separate, not necessarily freedom related, issue.

Tough choices

Out of the three I'd pick Microsoft as the most problematic. Apple is a very, very close second. Google a distant third.
Microsoft still has a really strong legacy stranglehold on PCs and even though they haven't had a significant impact on the rapidly growing mobile device market (smartphones and tablets), the tightly woven incestuous bond between Microsoft and Facebook is keeping Microsoft in the game. Facebook's reliance on Bing and Windows Live services is a real boost for Redmond.
Apple's walled garden approach locking down their hardware and software, restricting developers and what their 'apps' can or cannot do, filing lawsuits almost without restraint, and handcuffing Apple device users to an abomination like iTunes all make for an efficient if not disgusting world where fanboys and fangirls are numbed down to glassy-eyed compliance. Apple's growing but still much lower market share numbers are the only reason I didn't pick Apple as the top freedom hating corporation.
Google is getting a lot of bad press lately but if you examine stories such as the ones tied to the recent freak out headline about Google's Privacy Policy announcement, there's not a lot of actual analysis and objective insight. News media sources, including IT news media, are for the most part fluff and trivia whores. Things like 'Summer of Code', VP8 codec development, and support for open standards like .ical or .odf in their free for public use services are just a few indicators some of Google's original idealism is still a part of how they do business. I'm not saying Google is some kind of social services agency, or that we all shouldn't be really worried about the massive amount of information they continue to accumulate about us, but as far as outright immoral behavior it's pretty hard to top Microsoft/Facebook or Apple.

Linux Format > Google > Apple > Microsoft

While all three companies you've mentioned do limit freedom within their own platforms in various ways, only Microsoft has a history of attempting to lock down the wider world through spreading FUD and their "embrace, extend and extinguish" approach to computing standards. By contrast, Apple and Google are relatively benign entities that don't impact the greater ecosystem.

Recently though, Apple has begun claiming 'protection' fees from Android handset manufacturers, which would put them more in Microsoft's camp.


It's the ignorance and apathy of people that is the real threat;p

The fist can close so quickly and without warning

The only person (or corporation) I trust is the one with open hands. Even then, an open hand can quickly become a fist.

Apple wish to blast any product based on open sourced software into a patent hell hole which, when you remember their products were originally based upon open sourced material makes them so easy to despise. So they are number one in my despised list.

Microsoft have a fist that occasionally opens a little, (may be to get us nearer to them to make a strike by them more effective), but is now looking for ways to lock down our hardware to only work with their products. They too, love a patent fight despite the patents being based upon pathetic “new” ideas stifling the advancement of technology and ideas. They get my second vote.

It rather depends upon who owns Google to whether they join the evil corporations. The fist can close so quickly and without warning. At least they are in a position to withstand a Troll should one attack. Perhaps they should be providing open help to Barnes and Nobel.

Really we should be weary of any group who gain a dominance over any aspect of our lives, especially those by the back door (like ACTA).


Apple and Microsoft are so blatantly nasty that one doesn't have to us them. It's Google that is contributing to the community, but only up to a point. Unless they are completely open about data collection and what their software does, I would have concerns about using such software.

All three are just

All three have demonstrated practices that could be considered anti-competetive and restrictive of consumers' larger interests.

All MOST people really want from their computers is a way to keep in touch with their friends and family, watch some telly or a movie, shop and bank and basically do all the things the middle class has done for a hundred years. Many outside the linux-sphere see the restrictive behavior as a long overdue taming of the web with all of its porn, trolls, viruses, security flaws, and misinformation.

I feel that this conversation needs to move higher than the
blow by blow of which company is nicer to us. I think politics has everything to do with the next several years of tech advancement. Twitter's recent blocking announcement, Cory Doctorow's recent War on General Computing speech and the SOPA and ACTA political developments are just from the last MONTH.

All three companies are well on their way to putting in place tools capable of limiting our access to key personal tools. and of widespread, detailed surveillance of individuals' communications (texts, phone calls,etc), topics of interest or that our on our minds (searches, browsing history ...not quite our thoughts, but getting there...) and our behavior (location, purchasing habits, in some cases our weight, speed, exercise habits, food intake, whatever you want to share...). I personally still believe they're using it to make money for themselves by providing services to consumers and market data and advertising to themselves and others.

These tools are double edged swords. As hinted at in other posts, they could very quickly become tools of police states. The apparatus of a policed planet is very quickly being erected, even if it isn't being used bluntly in a widespread political or social way yet.

Maybe Linux Format isn't the venue, but I'm genuinely wondering where informed tech-interested or tech-educated people with a growing awareness of how the sensibilities we have today are being built into the all-pervasive tech layer that will determine the day to day life of ourselves and future generations can discuss things at this level.

Our tech reflects the ideas and fundamental beliefs of its creators. We buy it because it works for us. But it's also educating us into certain ways of acting, thinking and interacting with others and the world.

Oops... I ranted.

Unfortunately None of them are

As much as I like to bash on Microsoft, Apple and occasionally Google, it's public apathy of how laws are made that creates the greatest threat to our freedom.

Threat to freedom

Unfortunately, if we buy into any system, to extract information, food, defence, comfort, etc, we lose some of our freedoms in the process. We have no control over being born, there-on-in we start to exact increasing control over our existence. In terms of control and use of our computer is defined by licence, technical strictures and agreed usage. What have to fight for is enough freedom to do the job we want from the system. Microsoft, Apple, and others want our money in exchange for the goods. We may not like the deal, but we have to make whatever choice is available to us. Do I trust them? Not really. At least Linux and similar systems provide us with more choice, but there will always be conflict. Fairness and protection for the individual is never a priority for those with money and legal power.

All and none

Whilst each of the above companies could, would or do threaten our freedom, I think that the biggest threat is combination of general ignorance and apathy by the computer using public.

Looking at most the other comments here, it's clear that WE know what the dangers (or potential ones are) and are better positioned to choose those which value freedoms. However, there is a vast majority of people who do not know what we are even talking about.

The solution to ensuring freedom remains free, is by educating and raising awareness of this important issue, otherwise bigger companies and governments will walk right over us.

Of these, Apple

Other posters point out that, of these three, Microsoft has the greatest ability to directly damage Linux and curtail its users' freedom through efforts such as the much discussed UEFI ARM lockdown. Can not disagree.

Apple, however, is the lantern lighting the way for all who seek to lock down and wall in their user base. They have provided a model for profiting from technology, that once paid for, end users have no control over and don't even own in the conventional sense of "own". It's brilliant and terrible and what tech giant would not lust after it?

Your so stuped

I dunt know what the prblem is. I lik andruid and I alwys use google. It gives me my serches back and werks rlly well. Macs look so much cooler then windows too. I use my iphone for everything and I never have any problems like I do with ubntu. Everybody uses windos anyywy. Its stupid that all of you ubuntu people talk like dis. I nvr have problms with my internet or nything with windws. Yr stupid. Thy don't wnt to do anything bad to yu. You just don't want to pay.

Posted from my iPhone4S

freedom isn't free

The American Government is the greatest threat to freedom the world has ever know.
Google. Apple. Microsoft.
Its all the *************** same. The American Government will protect its wealth generating machine at any cost.
Even at the cost to its own citizenry. Its not like its a new trend. A few people may do jail time but so what? It's enuf to keep everybody else in line.

Overkill is the American way. The rest of us just get caught up in the tsunami.

P.S. What are they gonna do when were all on FreeNet?

Programming Drought... & FACEBOOK IS EVIL

I agree wholeheartedly with "I'm using Anonymous Penguin!" in that the greatest threat is how much my generation (I'm 15) and future generations shun the need of computer programming. I think that this could really turn into an epidemic in the near future as we begin to lose the programmers of the 80s and 90s into retirement and we begin to see the lazier and more GUI addicted programmers of the '00s come into play. I'd say that Microsoft and Apple are to blame for this if we must blame a company. Also, I think Facebook deserves a shameful mention as I think that the Facebook business plan is far worse than Microsofts, Apples, or Googles. I would also like to give Google an honourable mention for allowing users to opt-out of almost all their privacy invasion tactics. I think Opt-out is fair enough. Google also is a=very active in encouraging programming, relating back to the earlier part of my comment.

The winner of the most evil award is...

Apple for massive profiteering above all else, appalling labour records, aggressive use of patents and eyewateringly unfair EULAs (iBooks).

Microsoft come a close second for their attempts to invade education (Gates+Murdoch) and lock down bootloaders on ARM devices.

Google will no doubt get more progressively evil and probably have already altered their motto to an Orwellian "don't be more evil... than others".

This should be taken with a pinch of salt, but there's a few big lumps of truth there too.

Government's are the biggest problem.

Governments are a much bigger threat than any of these company's. Their answer to any wrongdoing seems to me to always be "let's restrict the freedom of the public" not "let's find the people responsible and prosecute them through the courts"
For example "I use bit torrent software, I do not download copyright material". This fact apparently make's me suspect and likely to receive a love letter from my ISP at any time.
I can think of other area's with similar official responses. However this isn't the right place to go into them.


Freedom is about choice, and although Microsoft has tried as hard as possible to shut that down, they have always done it by trapping people. Apple has actually convinced people to willingly accept it.

Google bump's up on the line when it comes to privacy and information gathering, but they don't tend to limit a person's choice.

None of these

Freedom is also the freedom to choice.
I can choice and not being forced using Apple, Microsoft or Goggle products. So how do they cut my freedom?
They all have vital business models, which I have to agree too, if I want to there services and products.

I find companies with obsolete business models, like the film and music industrie much more dangerous. Instead of focusing on new business models, they use all this lobby work to create laws and keep courts busy, trying to defeat what is technically redundant and dead since years.

Apple and microsoft, but if google ever went evil...

Apple wants to restrict user freedom to a massive extent and use patents as a bludgeon to try and make their platform the only platform (at least in the mobile device market).

Microsoft is becoming incresingly irrelevant, as the desktop is becoming irrelevant, but I fear the desparate acts they might turn to to stop this from happening.

So far Google has been quite beneviolent. So we throw our data at them and chuckle about how much power we are giving them. If they ever did go evil...

And the award for most evil tech company goes to.......

It's a tie.......for third

Microsoft for attempted desktop lock-in failed so far, but they will become increasingly desperate the more irrelevant they become. I seriously think, with the rapid growth of mobile computing, which Microsoft completely missed the boat on, we are beginning to see the irrelevance creep in. (The mobile computing miss gives me a feeling of dejavu over the infamous internet gaff which led to the initial browser wars)

Apple for locking down hardware and software 100% (even Microsoft has not achieved this, not that they haven't tried), selling it at grossly over inflated prices, and then telling you that you can only do what we will let you, even though you own the hardware (or do you? Is it just an extension of a software EULA - aka Windows - to hardware?)

Google, herein lies a sleeping giant. They have not shown 'evil' as yet, but as others have mentioned, who owns the data? Google. Who is increasingly becoming an even larger behemoth ecery day? Google. Once they reach critical mass, watch the total reversal of non-evil policies occur.

I will add Canonical in here, only a small fish compared to the others, but I think they are doing a monkey-see-monkey-do along the lines of Apple. They will attempt to be the Apple of the Linux community.

In second place is the US - aka govt. Notice how all of those in 3rd place (except Canonical of course) are US companies. See what the US govt lets them get away with, and now they want to let all these US companies shut down any internet site that is not a US one. Remove the competition outside of their control and voila - the US will control the internet (something they have long desired but so far failed)

In first place, the total apathy and indifference of the general public. Let's face it, the third place rankees are only giving the apathetic what they want, and locking it down to boot. And feeding the apathy by making the populace believe that is what they want. We need to work at removing that apathy to revolutionise the tech world.

A bit far fetched and Orwellian? Yes, maybe. But also a feasible scenario. I think we may have a more definite picture of the situation a lot sooner than many may think. Give it a couple of years.



I never thought I'd say this, but I believe Apple is the biggest threat to freedom.

Microsoft still fights the hardest against freedom, but their policies are hampered by their incompetence. For example, it was Microsoft's appalling software that first persuaded me to try Linux 11 years ago, and with MS' features being so far behind the times I've never been tempted to go back. Nowadays this story seems to be more and more common, and Microsoft looks more and more like the popular image of a dinosaur that's only just noticed its head was cut off last week.

Google has the kind of drive and influence that Microsoft now lacks, but so far it's still hanging on to its 'don't be evil' roots - at least enough to stop it being a threat for now.

Apple, with its recent dirty lawsuits, is showing all the signs of being a threat to freedom for more than just its willing customers - but it has the advantage of making products that (aside from their locked-in nature) are generally appealing and well-designed. So it effectively sits somewhere between Google's influence and Microsoft's evilness, with enough of both to be a bigger threat than either.

Having said that, I agree with earlier posters that the real biggest threat is people's apathy, helped by politicians' greed.


APPLE Definitely APPLE!!!

Probably Microsoft

Apple and Google do at least provide freedom in that you don't have to use them. If anyone is particularly worried about using a service of either companies, there are many other search engines, music players, phone manufacturers out there.

If Microsoft enforces a "lock down" on new computers so that you cant easily install a new OS then that limits your freedom because it makes doing what you want with your hardware more difficult.

Apple Definitely

Apple are getting worse and worse
Lawsuits, Patent portfolios, Vendor lock in, proprietary formats, Going "Nuclear" on google, suing everyone who has an apple in their logo/name.

None of the above: endusers are their own biggest threat

I agree with 'I'm using Anonymous Penguin!'
If you don't like MS Windows you can run Linux. That obviously rules out a desktop/laptop-as-toaster from PC World but there are other options if you use a bit of creativity.
If you don't like Apple just look straight ahead and quicken your pace when walking past one of their ludicrous tech stores.
If you don't like Google pick any number of alternative search engines/networking sites/whatever.

But we've now got several generations of computer 'whizzkids' who throw out 'broken' PC's to buy new ones when 'broken' is actually nothing more than a virus-infested, junk 'software' beladen Windows 'install'. Who don't know what a command line is. Who think that when a website or application becomes unresponsive, bashing the keys and mouse buttons harder and harder will get it to work again, as if there's some sort of mechanical link between those keys/buttons and the onscreen widget (-OK, I suppose we all do that sometimes in frustration, but I've frequently seen people who really REALLY believe it's going to make a difference).

The end result of this mentality is probably something like Windows 7 Starter pre-installed on a 64-bit, dual-core netbook with 1GB RAM.
In fact, to answer the question sort of properly, I'd say Microsoft's the worse for conning the general public and the business world into using software solutions that, even with every advantage afforded a monopoly, are still so utterly inferior to their competitors.

I'd have to say Apple

While M$ and Google are underhand and devious, Apple takes the prize as biggest bastards for their relentless patent trolling and desire to really stick it to free software.


MS and Apple are huge patent trolls already, MS makes more off Android devices than it does off WP7 devices.... Which is crazy. Apple... Yeah. Google don't have a big chest of patents, but I bet they wish they did. Anyone who thinks they bought Motorola mostly because they are a consumer electronics manufacturer are insane, they bought Motorola because Motorola have lots of patents, which they can use to defend their product, but it's a fine line between defending and attacking.

All of these companies of course want you to be locked into their ecosystems, that's what they compete on 'how much of a monopoly over this person's technology can we have, can we have more than company no. 2'.

In this way all three are a huge 'threat to freedom', because they are as against actual software freedom, because they are businesses and exist to efficiently make money, and working together isn't an efficient way to do that.

Google's an interesting one, but I wouldn't call Android 'free' per se, it just pretends to be, it's not developed in the open. Try pushing a patch, see what happens.... It's better than being entirely closed, absolutely, but there are better ways of doing things.

So all three are against complete freedom, they have to be to survive, but none are pushing the limits of what could be achieved as a technology company in 2012, we'll have to wait for our next Google for that.

Apple's Monopoly

Apple's idea of making people think that Pretty means its good is a very big lie. Usability depends greatly on the software, and those who make it. Apple just wants to control the way you compute... by making both the OS and hardware closed source. This means you have to forcibly use there products, and buy there apps. Linux is greatly affected by Apple's Virus free OS. When I help people with Linux, I explain that Linux is Virus free, and they always say "Oh, like MacOSX". The real success of an OS depends on those who make it, and what there goals are. Apple Technician's care about how to sell the product, in way to make even more money. We all know -that in contrast- the Linux community is focused on making the product better... not make it prettier to sell it to you. These are what OS's like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Redhat, Fedora, and OpenSUSE such succesful OS.

It's deeper than that.

With the world of enterprise growing around us, it's easy to loose sight of the big picture. We can all decide to like or dislike brand names and the large organizations behind them. Every move they make is carefully planned to appeal to an audience. The biggest threat to our freedom doesn't lie in names like Google, Microsoft or Apple. The one true corrupting factor is greed and by extension, money. Each of these companies are willing and able to make any venture under the banner of profit. If that means trampling upon the common man's freedom, then so be it.

You could order Google, Microsoft and Apple on an arbitrary scale between "Suspicious" and "The Worst" but it doesn't change them from being large, greedy organizations. They're all the same.

Long live the Free and Open Source way!

Short and simple

The answer is short and simple. They are companies and will do what is best for them. All three are a threat.

They all monitor your activity.

In Android 4.0 Google is pushing it's own platform Google+. This is an attempt to get more info about you to sell more direct advertisement. This is all Google is about. They didn't create Android to be good Samaritans.

Freedom champion

I think all three companies pose a threat to our freedom in different ways. What we we need is something like the now seemingly defunct Reboot Movement Anti-wintel campaign to fight for our freedoms and a champion who will speak out on our behalf, someone like....Richard Stallman

Microsoft, because literally everybody has to pay it money...

From my personal perspective, the undisputed winner is Microsoft. I haven't ever felt pressured into using any Apple hardware or software, I use Google for free and out of my own free will (of course, using other services would be less convenient, but that's not Google's fault), but I've been forced to use crappy MS software and nearly been pressured to pay them, as millions of people are. Actually, that's not true, I'm paying all the time in my taxes, part of which the government (incompetent or corrupt enough not to use open source) uses to buy MS software for schools and offices. Can you imagine a better scenario for any company: part of every person's tax, enforced by the government, becomes part of the company's profit. Has anyone achieved anything comparable?
I'm not mentioning the difficulty of e.g. buying a laptop without a Windows pre-installed and added to the price.
So, in many areas Apple may be the Bad Guy, but I think the dominance of Windows and the dependence it has imposed on nations and governments, are truly orwellian. As long as people and governments treat this as something obvious and 'unavoidable', no single person can say that they live "in a world without gates and windows".

Apple Worst. Microsoft Dying. Google still time to redeem itself

Apple Worst. Microsoft Dying. Google still time to redeem itself. Also add in all those organisations more interested in manipulating or dictating to their users than in propagating an open society, Facebook, Canonical, most ISPs...

Canonical being Evil

I think it is worth noting that Red Hat/Fedora have successfully built a single product whilst heavily investing in the upstream and now they are a 1B$ Open Source company.

Why is it that Canonical can't do the same; and they are still not making money (as far as I know).

IT dude

Apple are the worst. The fact that you can run Windows on Apple Hardware, but Apple won't allow their software on non-Apple hardware is BS. They think they know what is best for us and give us little choice. Apple are also extremely good at abandoning products so that you are forced to update by buying new and thus perpetuating our "throw-away" society.

Don't be fooled.

William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955)[4] is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people[5] and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third,[6] in 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person.[7][8] During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4 percent of the common stock.[9] He has also authored or co-authored several books.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts.[10][11] In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. [12]

Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer. Gates' last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.

His father was William Henry Gates, Sr. (born William Henry Gates II on November 30, 1925) is a retired American attorney and philanthropist and author of the book Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime. He is the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Microsoft is so amazing. It's founder, his father and the philanthropy.

Too bad it's all lies.

Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, stability, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. In the 2000s, a number of malware attacks have targeted security flaws in Microsoft Windows and other programs. Microsoft is also accused of locking vendors and consumers into their products, and of not following and complying with existing standards in its software.[1][2] Total cost of ownership comparisons of Linux as well as Mac OS X to Windows are a continuous point of debate.[3]

The company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits by several governments and other companies for unlawful monopolistic practices. In 2004, the European Union found Microsoft guilty in the European Union Microsoft competition case. Additionally, EULAs for Microsoft programs are often criticized as being too restrictive.[4]

While Microsoft's permanent workers enjoy some of the best corporate treatment, a large part of Microsoft's labor pool exists outside this privileged class. This includes the use of permatemp employees (employees employed for years as "temporary," and therefore without medical benefits), use of forced retention tactics, where departing employees would be sued to prevent departure, as well as more traditional cost-saving measures, ranging from cutting medical benefits, to not providing towels in company locker rooms.[41]

Wow, how uninformed are many folks

The question was threat to freedom... Only one gorilla in that cage, GOOGLE! You see Google and Facebook have managed to pull off peacefully what dictatorships and other intelligence and govt offices have tried for decades. Between these two giants they can track at least half a billion people and their habits... That is a threat to freedom! And the best part is; more people want it, they need it, and can not do without it.

As for Apple or Microsoft? they are computer companies. If you don't watch your patents you will be out of business in 5 years. If your interested in patents follow all the cell phone manufacturers, its comical!

Don't be a tool, master your OS (whatever OS) and make it do what you want. I had no idea Apple was such a big target... Expensive yes or go to Refurb page and get small discount and discounts for many organizations. No free software? BS! the App Store (desktop version) has a boat load of free software and if you have a bit of motivation Fink and MacPorts allow you to run programs for Unix and Linux... (Cygwin for windows). Get a clue!!! Oh and I can get the development environment for apple for free and a boat load of documentation. Just some thoughts...

Open Group Master Certified Architect

It depends on your view of openness. Apple aren't particularly breaking any openness, they simply offer a proprietary product that clearly has great usability. Google pertain to be open, but are stretching the definition and are at risk of doing what Microsoft have always done - publish APIs for application development on their platform, but actually retain inside knowledge to ensure their own apps have the upper edge. Microsoft's Office Open XML was a great example of trying to hood-wink the industry. Apart from the issue that most consumers don't even understand the potential consequences of buying into a proprietary product, the biggest threat is software patents, in particular algorithm patents.

Don't misevaluate Goooogle

They know all about you.

Hey George (Orwell), may you had made a mistake about the year. But you're absolutely right.

A company that acquire patents with that such voracity... Hum... I can't imagine other thing as control.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Username:   Password: