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What I don't understand about Microsoft, Intel, and everything

There are lots of things I don't understand. They make me crazy. But don't worry, it isn't contagious.

There are lots of things I don't understand. They make me crazy. But don't worry, it isn't contagious.

What I don't understand
How was Lou Gerstner able to reposition a zillion-year-old company like IBM from big iron to services, while Jerry Yang doesn't even know where to begin reinventing Yahoo!?

Why does my wife clean the house before the cleaning people come?

When you tell telemarketers you're not interested, why do they keep talking until you hang up on them?

Why do criminals go to all the trouble of robbing a bank or smuggling drugs and then get caught with the goods doing something stupid like speeding?

Last week my dog pissed on the couch; the same day the cat threw up in my slippers. Why do bad things happen in groups? Is there some unknown force of attraction between disastrous events? Where are the physicists on this?

Why do at least half the people working in customer service act as if they hate serving customers?

Why don't boards fire CEOs who consistently underperform for 10 years or more? And how do those CEOs live with themselves?

Why do people cut across three lanes of traffic or stop and back up so they don't miss a highway exit? Do they think saving five minutes is worth the risk of getting crushed by 3,000 pounds of metal?

Why does Verizon have the best service and the worst phones? Are they mutually exclusive, like politics and honesty?

I don't get how each side in the Sirius-XM satellite merger saga can claim it has the consumer's interest at heart and the other side is bought and paid for by special interests. In reality, both sides are driven by special interests and nobody knows what's best for consumers.

You know what I really don't get?
After umpteen antitrust trials and billions in fines, Microsoft still doesn't see the writing on the wall.

Yesterday the European Union fined the Redmond software giant a record $1.35 billion for "...failure to comply with an antitrust decision," according to feisty EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Here's my point: Remember how in Jurassic Park the scientist--played in the movie by Jeff Goldblum--said that life always finds a way to break through barriers? Well, free market economy is kind of like that too. Monopolies don't last forever. The market finds a way around them eventually.

Microsoft and Intel--the world's biggest one-hit-wonder--will both go the way of the dinosaur if they don't realize that it's time to change. They need to turn the corner to a new business model while they've still got some of those fat monopoly profits coming in. And I don't mean simply diversifying as they've been trying to do for years; that won't cut it.

Why do you think Microsoft's stock has essentially flatlined for eight years? Ditto for Intel. Investors are wondering what comes next after the whole PC thing has run its course. Good question. Ballmer and Otellini definitely have some 'splainin' to do.