Monday, June 20, 2011

876 The Five Families

876 The Five Families

The five families of organized crime?  Pikers.  Here are the REAL five families:  Google, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle.   They’ve divided up the home and business computer and internet worlds in a way no gangland gang ever could, and it’s all legal.

You can live your life without ever directly encountering a crime cartel, though you may unwittingly be paying a “mob tax” in some form.  But you cannot avoid today’s five families.  They have a lock on every computer thing you do, and you can’t live without at least some of them.

The silent coup.  No one had to break legs, no one had to sell drugs, no one had to import or make rotgut during prohibition.  No one ran numbers, hookers, concrete trucks, garbage trucks, gambling parlors, chop shops.  No one even needed to own a suit.

Look at Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the Google guys.  Think any of them owns a tie?

Ah, Gates, the richest man.  Two simple acts put him on top of the money heap and at one time made him boss of all bosses, which he no longer is.

One: envision a desktop computer on every desk in America.  Two, buy low, sell high. MSDOS was a steal when Gates and Paul Allen bought it and then sold it to IBM.  Except they didn’t actually SELL it.  They leased it out.  The money kept rolling in, and now, with Windows, it’s still leased and the money is still rolling in.

The five families have made it all but impossible to live without them.  And it’s all legal.

If any one of them shut you out, you’d run screaming into the nut hatch.

What would happen if Google decided to start charging big bucks to users?   You’d pay, is what you’d do.  Without them, chances are your mail, your blog, your calendar would implode.  Oh, sure, you could go to Yahoo! But how long before Yahoo! caught on and started doing the same.

Pay your bills on line.  Manage your bank account, get your news.  Send flowers, buy books and shoes.  Just think of what a “mob tax” would mean if they charged one.

Why, you’d turn to a Mac, right?  Only you’d find Mac would have levied that tax as well.

We have to assume that the Families are just honest businessmen and women making a living.  That’s now.

Google has sworn a kind of Hippocratic oath about doing no harm.  Great.  What about when the kids who run it die or retire? What about the next generation?

There’s so much power in the hands of these companies, they can do pretty much as they please.   Including shutting you down at will.  And it’s all legal.

Shrapnel (Tech Edition):

--The Blackberry people, RIM, are worried and their profits shrinking.  With all the competition they face, they could be the new Palm, a wonderful technology in their day.  But it may be “the end of the day,” to overuse that cliche.

--Speaking of outdated, don’t get rid of that typewriter just yet.  Unabomber Kaczynski’s  just got sold at auction for a couple of hundred grand.  So there may yet be gold in them-thar antiques.   

--The new Samsung Galaxy Tablet it getting rave reviews, mainly for its speed and thinness.  It’s still not thin enough.  We need something that we can roll up and gently tap the dog on the snout when all the newspapers finally go broke.  

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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