Heard on the radio today that one reason the recent suit claiming the Microsoft antitrust settlement was too lenient didn't "win" was b/c of the recent success of iTunes. My first reaction was that it was obviously ironic (and somewhat disappointing, if accidental) that Apple would have done something that helped Microsoft get out of a tougher penalty. Quickly thereafter, though, I got hit by the reason we [programmers] like programming so much. We really can create something out of nothing. There's very nearly nothing about Windows that stops us from releasing whatever kind of software we want to release, given enough time and ability. Is IE in a relatively unfair place in the system given Windows' desktop OS dominance? Sure. Anything stopping you from writing a better browser anyhow? Absolutely not -- just see the Firefox project at Mozilla.org. And is there any reason you can't write a better, well, app nobody's written yet (like iTunes, essentially, bringing a real music store to your home)? Aboslutely not. MS can't place an idea on the desktop that nobody's even thought of yet. And with these suits, it'll be tough for them to mop up after the fact any more if you hit big enough.

If you write something good enough, the people will come. The net and, more importantly, the way people interface with it are changing (see the OS X Tiger previews with the new "Widget" concept -- which are just web pages, it turns out!). As long as Linux and Macintosh keep the price for Windows reasonable, things aren't quite as bad as they might seem.

(Not that I think MS isn't in a horribly sweet spot on the desktop and that they shouldn't get pounded where appropriate, but it's no reason not to keep coding.)