Monday, January 07, 2008

The business of business

Two different news stories really jumped out at us today, and both involve a company that people seem to love kicking when it's down. Of course, when things are up, people don't tend to give them a nod of approval, but that's just how it seems to go in the business world. And no, we're not talking about Disney... we're focused on a different "Evil Empire". Today, we turn our attention squarely to Microsoft.

The first article that we saw actually pertains to the ongoing WGA strike. As many of you are aware, one of the main points of contention between the writers and the studios is the concept of funds from "New Media", which is a fancy way of saying DVD sales and Internet downloads. Well, in an attempt to bolster the XBox Live selection, outgoing Microsoft front-man Bill Gates announced a slew of deals with the studios to repackage their films and television programs for the XBox audience. Of course, since there's no money in New Media (a point made by the studios), obviously this agreement was a simple handshake deal, and no money will ever change hands. Right, and we don't know anyone who's paid the 99 cents to download a song (and don't even try to pretend that the money goes all to administrative fees).

And then, we were met with the second article. An article that points out a problem suffered by XBox Live users over the holiday season. A two-week server overload leading to outages that could cost Microsoft $5M, if some irate gamers have their way. Five million dollars? For not being able to get online and play a couple of games for a couple of weeks over the holidays? For being forced to actually interact with visiting family? For possibly being asked to take some time in December to reacquaint yourself with the giant blue box called "outside"? Seems a little ridiculous to us.

Of course, leave it to us to find a deeper connection, one aside from the mere mention of Microsoft in both articles. As far as we can tell, the reason that there is no money to be made through the Internet is because those who are the target audience (namely, people who spend too much time on the Internet) are also those who are going to try to find ways to get their money back when they've suffered a minor inconvenience.

After all, it really is cruel to ask some of those people to step outside. Most of them are more familiar with three multi-hued suns than the one we get.

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