June 6, 2000
As part of the Microsoft conference I am attending, Microsoft has decided to throw a party. What more appropriate place to send their customers than the Islands of Adventure theme park. It is almost frightening as I realize the correlation between this amusement park and my experience with Microsoft. As I entered the gates, I am assailed by Microsoft employees to sign documents removing their liability should anything happen. This exercise seemed quite similar to their registration wizard for Microsoft Office. We then were packed down a narrow walkway where Microsoft threw small trinkets at us to make our stay more enjoyable. In a sense, they do the same by sending out patches to fix their software bugs. We then arrived at the park itself and all it had to offer. Islands of Adventure is broken up into several themed areas that surround a man-made lagoon. To the left we strolled through Marvel comic land with rides being portrayed as action cartoons. Along the street were street performers dressed as super heroes or super villains. I could have sworn that Dr. Doom looked eerily similar to Bill Gates. From Marvel land we moved to Toon Island, a silly land that would equate to the experience customer’s have when calling Microsoft Technical Support. You do a lot of running around and people laugh at you when you try to be serious. Our journey then moved to Jurassic Park, the land devoted to legacy software that Microsoft still supports. There is nothing more frightening than to come face to face with a Windows 3.1 user, unless of course you come across the fossils of a DOS user. We next entered into the Lost Continent, that area where Microsoft embraces open standards and is a good corporate citizen. Of course this area was filled with lawyers who were litigating that this land was not necessary because all the other lands were perfectly competitive and were benefiting humanity without government intervention. The final land of adventure I visited was the one that accurately described my dealings with Microsoft, Dr. Suess Land. Whether it was the Gates that Stole Christmas statue or the Ballmer in the Hat, I felt like I had lived this experience more times than I cared to. I can still remember those immortal words spoken by IT customers upon opening their software, “I do not like Exchange and Spam, I do not like them Bill I am.” It is interesting how life imitates software.