Bill Doesn't Love Us Anymore

Bill Gates launched his new search engine service today. On the front page of, he strikes a Peter Norton-esque pose and offers us personal assurances that MSN search is more precise and more powerful than before. He also wants us to try his new desktop file search program designed to compete with Google's Desktop Search. What Bill does not mention in his letter is that if you want to use his new desktop search, install his search bar, or even try his video search, you must first be running his Internet Explorer. Sorry, Bill.

In the days when Microsoft was young and Bill was King, he could ask us to use his software and we would. Bill brought us standards, and Bill crushed his competitors by delivering software that served our needs. He gave us better spreadsheets, easier word-processing, and successively friendlier and more powerful operating systems. Sure, he didn't always succeed, but he was always trying. He kept working at it until we were delighted. Somewhere along the way, however, Bill lost interest in us. Bill got a little older. He became hard of hearing. His software started gaining weight. Bill became complacent and stopped trying to delight us. He started trying to figure out how he might satisfy us with the absolute least amount of effort. He lost interest in us and we in him.

01 February 2005

Dear Bill,

I am so happy for you and your new search engine. I hope it does well for you. I can't tell you how it pains me to write this, but I won't be able to use it. I have decided that I am not going to run Internet Explorer anymore. It doesn't feel safe.

Every day I hear more stories of how people have given up Internet Explorer for Firefox, so I know I am not alone in this decision. While others may have been jealous of your success or afraid of your market dominance, I have never been troubled by them. You have helped create an industry, and I have always appreciated your contributions.

I shifted to Firefox in a moment of frustration. After spending two days wrestling with your biggest OS update ever and finally getting it installed, I loaded a news website and found out that yet another critical security warning had been issued for IE. That was the last straw. I switched.

I have been happy with my new browser. I like its speed. I like the tabbed interface. I like that it stopped blocked popups the day I loaded it without having to load yet another piece of software. I am once again delighted to use my computer.

Again, I hope you do well with your new offering. I just wanted you to know that you will have to do it without me.


About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.