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Re: Microsoft Metaphors

At 7:09 AM -0800 1/15/98, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>What are the best metaphors to use when talking about a browser and an
>operating system? Is the combination like a car and an engine, or a car and
>a roofrack? A pair of gloves?
>Or is it even useful to talk about a browser/OS metaphor in the case of
>Microsoft, since IE has been glued into the operating system in the form of
>.DLLs? Might that be more like the wheels of a car?

I think this is one of those cases where metaphors mislead. They cause more
confusion than they lessen confusion.

(I was thinking about the "car + navigation system" metaphor, which someone
I think proposed, and how a car company is supplying a map/Etak, but other
map makers want the Justice Department to force the car maker to remove
their map/Etak, and so on.... but any browser-ignorant reader, presumably
the target for your metaphor, will be misled.)

My advice: Skip the misleading metaphors and simply describe what the Web
is (duh!), what a browser is, and what Microsoft is bundling with their OS.

Anybody who by now doesn't know what these three items are is too stupid to
grasp metaphor, anyway.

(Unless it's this: "Like, think of a beer company. The company wants to
include a can opener with the beer. Like, they even want to include an
automatic opening thing they call a "pop-top." Netscape, a maker of can
openers, wants the Justice Department to force Microsoft to remove this
pop-top feature so that more people wil have to buy their can opener.")

--Tim May

The Feds have shown their hand: they want a ban on domestic cryptography
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
ComSec 3DES:   408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^2,976,221   | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."