October 26, 1998

Looking for the Wizard of Redmond?
Follow the yellow brick road ahead

If I had a nickel for every time someone compared Bill Gates to the Wizard of Oz ("Pay no attention to the truth behind that curtain"), Gates would no longer be the richest person on earth.

I've often wondered what it would be like to take the comparison to its logical conclusion and turn the Wizard of Oz into pure allegory. Dorothy's first encounter might be with a handful of corporate IT professionals engaged in a strategic political battle with Dilbertian pointy-haired bosses. The IT professionals, portrayed by the Scarecrow, would sing this song of Windows NT momentum ...

We could while away the hours
advisin' to the powers
"migration is insane."
But our heads we'll be scratchin'
while their Windows schemes are hatchin'
if they only had a brain.

It's a myst'ry and a riddle,
with registries they'll fiddle,
and reinstall again.
Wasted time they'll be spendin'
on the reboots never endin'
if they only had a brain.

Oh, we -- can't tell you why
they don't like NetWare more.
To do the things they can't with NT 4
they'll wait for 5 --
and wait some more.

Yes, our bosses have a mission,
an NT expedition,
and so it will remain.
But our costs could be shrinkin'
if our bosses did some thinkin'
if they only had a brain.

The Department of Justice claims that Microsoft violated its consent decree. Dorothy notes that the DOJ's position is precarious, pointing out that the consent decree had no teeth and contained a fatal loop hole. A pundit, in the form of the Lion, sings ...

Yes, the DOJ went sissy,
it's sad, believe me, missy,
when Billy threw a curve.
He can copy innovation
if he calls it integration
'cause they didn't have the nerve.

I understand you vendors fully,
that Microsoft's a bully,
a fate you don't deserve.
But the vendors of the nation
could avoid this situation
if they only had the nerve.

Microsoft executives would vigorously defend their position. They are represented by the Tin Man, who sings ...

We would never think of stealin'
technologies appealin',
we'd always do our part.
But for that I'm presumin'
we would have to be quite human
if we only had a heart.

Screw the moral implication
of global domination,
for us it is an art.
We will pet friends like sparrows
while we'll pick them off with arrows
if we only had a heart.

Picture me -- as royalty.
Above a voice mourns low.
"Trade secrets where'd they go?"
I hear defeat ... how sweet.

Just to register emotion,
integrity, devotion,
why is it we should start?
When our strategy's a-workin'
while the judge's chain we're jerkin'
if we only had a heart.

In marches Caldera to the rescue, played by Dorothy and her friends. They sing gleefully of claims that Microsoft used tricks and monopoly power to squash DR-DOS ...

We're off to sue the Wizard,
the Windowful Wizard of DOS,
because he ran a wiz of a biz
by taking a whiz on us.
If ever oh ever a case there was,
this suit we'll win, we'll win because,
because, because, because, because, because ...
o' th' anti-competitive things he does.

We're off to sue the Wizard,
The Windowful Wizard of DOS!

Former consultant and programmer, Nicholas Petreley represents the Lollipop Guild. Send your comments to nicholas_petreley@infoworld.com .

Copyright © 1998 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.