Andreessen: MSFT did us a favour

I don’t normally like to praise Microsoft for things. Not only am I not a Microsoft fan-boy, but I think some of the ways that the software company has done business in the past have been — well, bordering on unethical. I also think many of its products suck in terms of useability, and give new meaning to the word bloat-ware. But I’m glad that Marc Andreessen (of all people) said something that I’ve often said in the past, which is that love them or hate them, at least Microsoft standardized the operating-system market around something.

Maybe it wasn’t the best something — maybe DR-DOS was better, or whichever flavour you happened to like if you are old enough to remember those days (and yes, I am; thanks for asking), or IBM’s various tries at recapturing its lost glory. But that doesn’t really matter. You may think DOS was bad and Windows was worse, but at least Microsoft stabilized what was a fragmented and chaotic market, and that arguably pushed us further ahead faster. If they hadn’t done it, someone else would have had to, and it might have taken longer and been even worse. More from Marc Andreessen’s chat with John Battelle here.

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