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I think that the answer to this is going to be dependent on your own personal position on Microsoft as a company and Windows as an operating system. On one hand, I think that a case can be made for Microsoft being one of the preeminent corporations to help widen computer and internet access. Microsoft recognized an emptiness in the marketplace and was able to fill a need that was embraced by many. The presence of Microsoft reflects how the free market can work and how consumer voice can validate product development. That is to say that Microsoft was embraced by many and its wide proliferation in the marketplace reflects consumer voice and support. On the flip side of this coin would be the argument that Microsoft and its primary operating system of Windows actually hurts free market competition. Part of this comes from the belief that Microsoft's philosophy is rotted in the idea of "embrace, extend, and extinguish." The United States Department of Justice found that Microsoft's business philosophy was driven by an ingrained desire to coopt competitive proprietary ideas in order to drive out opposition. Those who believe that Microsoft Windows is seeking to kill competition will argue that such a philosophy does a disservice to the marketplace in that it actually dis-empowers the consumer. In the end, I think that one's decision about Microsoft Windows is going to be driven by their own personal belief of the company.
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