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Microsoft is everywhere, even in my evening news
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Randy's Corner

About North Georgia's publisher Randy Golden contributes a look into life in north Georgia, the Web, or anything that's on his mind.

One of the first investments I made was a few shares of Microsoft back in the early 1980’s. This was back before you could buy stocks on-line and had to go to a broker. My broker was somewhat skeptical of the company that at the time only supplied an operating system for personal computers – the 80286 for the geeks out there. Windows hadn’t even come along. Over the years Microsoft has proven one of the best chances I ever took.

It was this past election that made me think a little bit about Microsoft. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a massive conspiracy but more with a relationship. I hate to admit it, but I went to bed on Election Day about 9:00pm because election coverage had pre-empted one of the few TV shows I stay up late to watch. When I got up the next morning the election was still “too close to call,” so I headed out for a couple of meetings. About 9:30 I decided to check what was going on from my PC.

NBC was my news network of choice for the election, so I went to nbc.com for the results. I clicked on the "News" link provided and went to MSNBC, a news-partnership between NBC and Microsoft. Sorry, but I don’t want Microsoft having anything to do with my news. I have a problem with that.

So I went to Google and searched for NBC News. Oops! Only the MSNBC site came up. The assumption I make is that if I want NBC News, its got to be through the Microsoft/NBC site. No way. I refuse. Instead, I went to CNN and found the results I am looking for.

But I began to question my actions. CNN is now part of Time Warner.. CBS is part of Viacom while ABC is part of Disney. Even Fox News, which now regularly beats CNN in the ratings, is part of the massive Fox conglomerate. So why do I have a problem with Microsoft being involved with the news? Well, first, they don’t have a Disney/ABC news or a ViacomCBS news or even the TimeWarner CNN. Branding your news may become the vogue thing to do, but frankly, I don’t like it.

Second, Microsoft has come under a good deal of criticism lately. Can NBC accurately report on news concerning their news partner? I like to think so, but the fact is that it simply looks bad. Even worse, now I question anything I hear on NBC.

Finally, one major problem I have is with the CNBC aspect. You can enter your stocks and other financial information plus request stock quotes. Combine this with the financial information that Microsoft can garner from its on-line MS Money applications, and we have given somebody one of the most powerful tools around - information. I know for a fact that stock inquiries are tracked. Someone, with enough information, could predict upcoming changes in stock prices by using the number of price inquiries and your buy-sell information to profit from market. This, of course, eliminates any element of risk. One of the things I demand as an investor is a "level playing field," and to me this practice makes for a pretty rocky road.

Microsoft's problems really aren't behind them, they are in front of them. Still, I'm not going to sell my stock. Government break-ups have been very lucrative for shareholders in the past, and I beleive, at least where Microsoft is concerned, that the sum of the parts is greater than the sum of the whole.

Randy Golden, Publisher

Randy's Corner
Notes from our publisher, Randy Golden

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