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Caleb Kraft
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ms divisions
Caleb Kraft   10/15/2013 9:17:37 AM
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Doesn't seem like a bad idea. However I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around what the divisions would actually be. Care to speculate?

JimMcGregor
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Re: ms divisions
JimMcGregor   10/15/2013 11:21:09 AM
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I admit that there are no clear lines. You could divide the company in many different ways. I would consider separating all the applications and cloud services into one unit, including Office. The OSs are best paired with the hardware systems, but this could be split further. While I think the handsets, Surface, and PC efforts probably belong together, the Xbox belongs more with the cloud services because of the long-term direction of the market. Separating MSN and bing may also be a good division to allow for an acquisition or merger to better position these internet offerings.

Some Guy
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If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
Some Guy   10/15/2013 12:00:41 PM
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Two movies here: break it up like Moto or Nokia, or double down like IBM under Gerstner. I wouldn't point to Nokia as the way to go, and I think the jury is still out on Moto, too.

The converse with IBM worked out, not because it was a double-down per se, but because Gerstner, with all his time at McKinsey, took the time to analyze what he really had, had the support of the board and was effective in leading IBM out of the morass it had created for itself. I can't imagine that being possible, however, if Thomas Watson were still hanging around on the board. That should give one pause for thought at Microsoft.

I expect in the end, MSFT will continue to muddle along innovating by acquisition until it all blows up or the board moves beyond its founders.

JeffL_2
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
JeffL_2   10/15/2013 2:21:42 PM
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Gotta respect the opinion of anyone savvy enough to choose "Reddy Kilowatt" as his blog picture. It was the promo symbol of a power company that I patronized many decades ago, long before we were politically bludgeoned into believing that our electrically spendthrift behavior would doom the entire planet, just so Al Gore could build up his media resources and sell them to a petroleum-funded Islamic news service. Reddy for President!

jackOfManyTrades
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
jackOfManyTrades   10/16/2013 5:21:59 AM
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It is very frightening that climate-change denial is such a powerful idea that even someone who reads ET can be suckered into believing it. Be under no illusion: climate-change denial belongs very firmly in the same camp as creationism, alternative-medicine etc. Take a look at the website of any reputable scientific institution (The AAAS, NASA etc) and see which camp they're in.

JeffL_2
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
JeffL_2   10/16/2013 8:41:32 AM
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Lighten up Jack. We all understand that "global warming" IS the pseudo-science cult designed to get the "one world government" crowd even FURTHER into our pockets by mandating a carbon tax, along with UN-mandated Project 21 and all the other grand schemes of Big Socialism. There are no "Chicken Littles" in the real scientific community, please take your pseudo-science ideas somewhere where they're a little more gullible - like maybe "Coast to Coast AM"?

JeffL_2
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
JeffL_2   10/16/2013 9:15:39 AM
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This is just a list of research organizations, they're all academics and therefore they're all left-wing ideologues. They all need grant money to pay for their research just so they can survive in the world of academe, and to get those grants it's much easier to pitch that they're doing research to avoid some kind of "world crisis", and they found common ground with these lefty politicos who were pitching a scheme to rob taxpayers by getting some ordinary substance that we all exhale like carbon dioxide to be declared a "pollutant" so we'd all have to pay to "get rid of" it. Of course these politicos are always looking for larger sources of revenue so this played right into their interests. I guess they got the idea through some venue they all read like Mother Jones. The only thng that's even remotely surprising is that the participants in this fraud had so little professional integrity to begin with so they have had no obvious shame in trying to pull it off. Please quit using ET to peddle your left-wing agenda, we're all sick of listening to it.

j_b_
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
j_b_   10/16/2013 12:00:27 PM
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Off topic, but these posts need an answer ;-) ...

Climate change denial ? Who would deny that the climate changes ? I would even go as far as - yes, 8 Billion people with our current industry surely have _some_ influence on the climate. But that's where it stops. We simply don't know enough about the way the climate works in order to control it. And that's what's obviously intended - humans want to control the climate by regulating the human emisions. But nobody can be sure what the climate would have done if human had never emited any CO2. Nor can anybody really say how much CO2 would lead to what change in which location. That's for a series of reasons :

1. All the time new processes of nature influencing the climate are being discovered ... so until now we don't even know all the parts of the machine

2. We have no good data for important things like temperature, humidity, pressure for any years before, let's say 1850 ... garbage in --> garbage out

3. The entire scientific world working in the climate front has become hopelessly political ... people with the "wrong" opinion can't lead a normal discussion based on scientific facts ... actually important "scientist" were found to manipulate important data, hide unwanted data, not to provide their data for scrutiny by other, etc. It's proven that money was given only to scientists with the "correct" opinion ... So unfortunately I don't believe such people any farther than I can throw them.

When I see what politicians do in small scale (since they can't be held accountable and often have no knowledge of correct scientific work process) I'm very affraid of the day when our technology will _really_ be able to influence things like wheater and climate. We'll all be in space suits before the next elections.

That doesn't mean that I want to polute the planet and don't care about nature. I just want to know what I do before I start doing it.

 

Wilco1
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
Wilco1   10/16/2013 2:31:38 PM
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While you are not a crazy climate change conspiracist like the other guy, you do show the hallmarks of a skeptic with some denialist aspects. We do indeed change our climate/environment but we can also undo those changes when we want to at minimal cost.

Obvious examples are acid rain and the ozone hole. Smog has pretty much disappeared as well. Did catalysators, filters and other pollution controls increase costs? Sure, but most people would agree that the cost ended up being relatively small (particularly when you consider the positive health benefits of reducing pollution) and was worth given the huge benefit it provided.

So why should reducing our CO2 output be any different? The only reason we have so many denialists is because reducing CO2 may also reduce the enormous profits of some of the largest companies in the world (all oil companies of course) - which wasn't the case with acid rain or the ozone hole.

Note that the only people exposed to be doing pseudo science, data manipulation, cherry picking and spreading lies are the denialists. I know of only one group of actual skeptics which actually did do some real science - BEST. And they did prove the hockey stick graph yet again... That really says it all.

j_b_
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
j_b_   10/16/2013 3:22:19 PM
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"While you are not a crazy climate change conspiracist like the other guy, you do show the hallmarks of a skeptic with some denialist aspects."

You don't know me and I don't care for somebody to stick labels on me just for a few sentences. Especially since you obviously imply that I have certain opionions which I actually don't have ... see below.

"We do indeed change our climate/environment but we can also undo those changes when we want to at minimal cost."

That's just a statement of _your_ opinion and no proof for anything. Especially statements like "minimal cost" are strange. You can always do something at "minimal" cost. But in some cases "minimal" would still be unpayable.

Obvious examples are acid rain and the ozone hole. Smog has pretty much disappeared as well. Did catalysators, filters and other pollution controls increase costs? Sure, but most people would agree that the cost ended up being relatively small (particularly when you consider the positive health benefits of reducing pollution) and was worth given the huge benefit it provided.

Here you seem to imply that I believe that nothing can/should be done against any kind of environmental polution. Of course that's not the case. In the 80s the reasons for aicid rain etc. were evaluated and reasonable measures against them were implemented. That was usefull.

So why should reducing our CO2 output be any different?

Mainly because in the above cases we were working in a simple setting with predictable outcome and used simple measures to achive a limited goal. In the case of CO2 things are way more complicated. For instance when I open Wikipedia and look for Ice Age I find, that at they list "normal" climate as something where the pole caps are ice free. One definition of Ice Age seems to be that the pole caps are under ice. So if the ice-free climate is called "normal" we are obviously trying to keep the climate colder than it was most of the time in earth history. Of course such a look at things is very simplistic and non-scientific, but that's my major problem : The whole discussion is done in a very un-scientific way. I don't want read proclamations that just state what is and what has to be done. I want an open, understandable scientific debate - out in the open for everybody to follow - don't worry I do have a brain and can think myself. And one important aspect are computer simulations. I know how to do them myself, I know how they fail. And to adapt a model until it fits the limited historical data is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to get something that correctly predicts the future. Not unless you make a prediction now and in 20 years you find that it was correct. But as it is the current stop in warming is a hard blow to all the simulations because it was NOT predicted. You can't just ignore that by "oh, the Pacific obviously takes that energy". The problem is that the fact shows that your SIM IS BROKEN. You start from scratch and HAVE to wait another 15 years. Everything else is not scientific.

"The only reason we have so many denialists is because reducing CO2 may also reduce the enormous profits of some of the largest companies in the world (all oil companies of course) - which wasn't the case with acid rain or the ozone hole.

Note that the only people exposed to be doing pseudo science, data manipulation, cherry picking and spreading lies are the denialists. I know of only one group of actual skeptics which actually did do some real science - BEST. And they did prove the hockey stick graph yet again... That really says it all."

I do not agree with the last two chapters eighter, but have no time to answer, sorry. I'll stop this discussion here as it's not the right place for it.

 

Wilco1
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
Wilco1   10/16/2013 4:08:35 PM
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Well if you want an open scientific debate, then why not start with the basic science?

Do you accept CO2 absorbs IR? It doesn't get any simpler than that. If you do, then it trivially follows that by increasing CO2 concentration we create an energy imbalance where the earth receives more energy than it radiates back into space. The basic science is very simple, and models very accurately predict what happens when you create such an energy imbalance. No need for some weird unscientific monologue about the vagueness of the definition of an Ice age!!!

Note that climate models do only model the climate, not the weather. So the fact the oceans have received much of the energy imbalance in the last decade (and continue to expand faster than ever as a result) is not something you would expect models to predict, and neither does it prove the models are in any way incorrect. So far nobody has proven it is a long term event, recent papers claim it is a short term oscillation. Note the energy has not disappeared, what do you think will happen when all that stored heat gets dumped back into the atmosphere?

jackOfManyTrades
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Re: If a headline ends in '?' is the answer No?
jackOfManyTrades   10/16/2013 2:41:10 PM
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Yes the climate changes – always has, always will. It has changed because of variations in the power of the sun and variations in the earth's orbit. That doesn't mean that these changes have been benign and it doesn't mean that this time it isn't us doing the changing. You say some, but this time it is changing many orders of magnitude faster than it has ever changed before. No, nobody can be sure what the climate would have done if human had never emitted any CO2; anyone who thinks science can be sure about anything doesn't understand science. But we can be quite sure and we are. That's for a series of reasons:

1. We have a very good understanding of how the climate works. Of course, new things are being discovered, but that's the case in all branches of science. It doesn't mean that scientists don't understand anything.

2. We have tons of data going back millions of years.

3. The anti-climate-change lobby is nothing but politics – there is no science involved whatsoever. Whilst any human endeavour is bound to involve some politics, science is the best way mankind has for finding out truth: science is ultra-cautious, ultra-conservative and ultimately self-correcting.  The biggest prizes in science – Nobel prizes and long-lasting fame – are won by those who upset the apple-cart, not by those who merely maintain the status quo. Similarly, people do not hand out funding to people who tell them what they already know and journals do not publish papers that reveal nothing new (because people would not pay for them if they did).  Lobby groups that campaign against climate-change have millions of dollars of funding; do you not wonder why none of that is spent by real scientists instead of pundits and politicians? (Why would there only be scientific funding available to put the case for climate change?)

Actually important "scientists" were accused of to manipulating important data, hiding unwanted data, not providing their data for scrutiny by others, etc. by ideologically motivated climate-change deniers, cherry-picking and mis-representing a few emails out of thousands. Three separate enquiries have found these accusations to be baseless.

Unlike our conspiracy-theory inspired friend ("one world government", please!), you are making a good attempt to sound reasonable  but ultimately you are making similar kinds of arguments to proponents of intelligent design and homeopathy. If you are as reasonable as you think you are, why not follow the links I posted earlier and make a genuine attempt to refute or understand the science? 

betajet
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Re: ms divisions
betajet   10/15/2013 1:27:03 PM
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Here is the result of the 1998-2001 United States v. Microsoft Corp. case according to Wikipedia:

On April 3, 2000, [Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson] issued his conclusions of law, according to which Microsoft had committed monopolization, attempted monopolization, and tying in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  Microsoft immediately appealed the decision.

On June 7, 2000, the court ordered a breakup of Microsoft as its "remedy". According to that judgment, Microsoft would have to be broken into two separate units, one to produce the operating system, and one to produce other software components [application programs like Office].

The remedies were overturned on appeal.  However, they were only delayed since Microsoft is slowly turning over its operating systems business to linux.org and gnu.org, and its application business to libreoffice.org :-)

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: ms divisions
Sheetal.Pandey   10/15/2013 2:35:14 PM
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Microsoft is a big giant on itself and after recent acquisitions they have variety of business that require different experience and vision. They may require few CEOs to take the company forward. The top boss may be the one who has grown with the company. Would be a challenging situation though.

rich.pell
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Re: ms divisions
rich.pell   10/16/2013 9:29:18 AM
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And those "monopoly" charges against Microsoft were always bogus to begin with.  In order to make them stick the DOJ not only had to narrow the relevant market to just "Intel-based PC desktop operating systems," which conveniently ignored millions of Apple Macintosh users at the time, but also dismiss available alternative OSs like Linux out of hand.

JeffL_2
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Wrong business model
JeffL_2   10/15/2013 12:42:33 PM
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Remember Microsoft was created on a PC-centric model where the hardware was "commoditized" and the money was supposed to be made on the software. In the market for "PEDs" (personal electronic devices, like smart phones and tablets) Apple and others have successfully turned the market on its head, making the money on hardware and leaving it up to a faithful developer community to write apps. In the game console market Microsoft has had moderate success in hardware with Xbox and especially Kinect but they're STILL on the wrong end because the big money here is in media (the games themselves, you need to be able to write one "blockbuster" after another to gain market share), and (outside of the "Halo" franchise) they haven't made much of a dent there either, they're certainly in no shape to go mano-a-mano against the likes of a TakeTwo Interactive. Add the acquisition of Nokia and this is a lot worse than just a case of "lost focus". It's going to take a LOT more than reshuffling the name signs on the doors on mahogany row to fix this, if it were a smaller company you'd probably take the company private and put it in the hands of a turnaround specialist THEN figure out how to reshape the remaining parts but this is WAY too big for that, I admit I don't really know how it could be done without causing major pain to the existing shareholders.

j_b_
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I'm not so sure ...
j_b_   10/15/2013 5:21:17 PM
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Over the years the mantra is always changing between "diversify" and "focus on your core business". Obviously neighter is "right" just because somebody says it, both have their merrits. I would consider "focus on core business" when my resources were becomming so limited that I might loose ground or momentum there. But as long as the bank says yes I would rather keep my fingers in other waters as well in order to see upcoming business opportunities.

Now, there used to be a time when Microsoft was THE company when it came to software (IBM lurking mightyfull in the background). They had the money, got the talent, defined the rules. OK, unbelievably they failed to catch the search-engine train and they (probably) failed to get the smartphone train too. They helped Apple to recover (and I'm sure they make money out of Apples success) and Apple went PC hardware and BSD ...

BUT: The industrial and generally commercial PCs will continue to run Windows as long as MS doesn't go the Apple way and closes Windows down to non-AppStore software. They ARE moving in that direction, but is a car manufacturer going to put his assembly line control software through the AppStore for approval ? I don't think so. And I also don't think that Linux can replace Windows because Linux became such an incredible mess of 1000s of versions and philosophies - That's why Apple wins by offering just ONE package on a small number of hardwares. So in my opinion the major part of the professional market for PC operating systems will remain with MS. So they have money. They also own a lot of content and they cover a lot of ground concerning knowledge. So all they need is to grab the "next big thing" by the horns and nail it this time. I don't see why Google or Apple should always win.

So why split ? Only makes the parts weaker than the whole.

 

Bert22306
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What about Apple?
Bert22306   10/15/2013 5:36:02 PM
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That was my knee-jerk reaction.

There was a time when we used Microsoft for the OS, Smartware, Lotus, or WordPerfect for productivity software, Netscape for e-mail and web browsing, Norton for disk utilities, and so on. It bothered me to see our own company, and others, caving in to "all Microsoft" solutions, and even bragging about it. At the time I said, why are we bragging about this?

But see, here's the thing. When Microsoft managed to achieve this, everyone talks about breaking it up. (Not that I personally oppose that idea.) But when Apple creates a walled garden of hardware, apps, services like iTunes, this foerever-promised AppleTV, etc. everyone gushes about how great it is, and how everything "just works."

Hey, I thought that Apple was "the most valuable company." If that's the case, how come we aren't focusing on them? Or at least, *also* focusing on them?

MeasurementBlues
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Re: What about Apple?
MeasurementBlues   10/16/2013 9:26:36 AM
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@Bert22306 says that everything "just works" when it comes to Apple. If so, then why did it take me two hours to figure out how to change my iPhone ringtone to an mp3 music clip? I ahd to download four apps until I found one that had instructions on what to do after creating the m4r file from the mp3. Then, I had to move the m4r to my hard drive and then back to the iPhone through iTunes to get the ringtone to work. Changing ring tones was much easier on a non-smart Samsung phone.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: What about Apple?
Caleb Kraft   10/16/2013 10:54:17 AM
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This is fairly common. What you are seeing is the result of limited features. Tossing an mp3 in as a ringtone isn't a default feature so obviously you're going to have a more difficult time pulling it off. however, if you were less technically inclined, just going to change from the pre-selected set would be a very simple process.

Basically, everything just works as long as you're only doing the basic stuff.


My personal opinion is that Mac OSX is no better than windows in terms of simplicity, but IOS has proven time and time again to be much easier for the less tech savvy.

przem
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Re: What about Apple?
przem   10/17/2013 3:42:09 PM
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People aren't looking at Apple because it has been far more successful and innovative in the past 5 years than Microsoft. One could argue that Apple actually realized the economy of scale, and exploited the power and coherence of their integrated business model. On the other hand, I personally think that they won't be able to sustain that and that their recent performance shows signs of stagnation (yay, a plastic iPhone!). So you're right, Apple's next.


Now, how about Google? I am a big fan and wish them well, and I believe that they do benefit from the integration within their businesses. At the same time, they wield so much power  resulting from their aggregate knowledge of our personal lifes, that a breakup might be the only mitigation.

rick merritt
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Back to the future
rick merritt   10/16/2013 6:06:18 PM
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This story coulod have been and was written in the late 1990s when the DoJ had Msoft under investigation.

Today MS still has a kind of monopoly power in PCs but fewer care since it is a slowing market and they lack clout in the hot mobile sector.

Today it's a biz question of how best to manage the company. I'd say split Web 2.0 properties like Bing from systems and OS offerings.

Charles.Desassure
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Why do that?
Charles.Desassure   10/17/2013 9:11:40 AM
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Breaking up Microsoft?  Well, as you mentioned within your article, breaking up a company into different parts is nothing new.  But why would Microsoft want to do that?  Is there a major problem with the board members not agreeing on a strategy?  I don't see a need for that at this time.  As long as sales continue to make a major impact on the balance sheet and the different departments are enhancing the products that they are working on or developing, I would not recommend making such a major organizational change at this time.  You don't change things just to change it; not for a business.

Navelpluis
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Breaking up or down?
Navelpluis   10/19/2013 7:06:43 AM
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You might question: Breaking them up or breaking them down? It seems -in the news as lots of us already knew- they are the biggest source of IP theft and espionage. And don't forget their direct link to our friends, the NSA. They were the first to participate, so basically affecting our democratic society (!!!!)

Further, you might wonder if they brought us much. As soon as we are all soooo stupid to start working in the cloud, let us assume that, then you mght wonder: Do we still need them?

selinz
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Re: Breaking up or down?
selinz   10/20/2013 10:28:52 PM
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Breaking them up would be silly. they are making significant contributions to computing and have given the industry the foundation from which to branch out. The fact that Apple, Google, and others are doing well suggests that there is no need for uncle sam to get involved. They have bigger fish to fry.



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