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February 6th, 2002

XP at the Post Office

Last week I found myself at the Post Office. As I walked through the doors, two blue and green displays sitting on the counter greeted me. Stuffed full of discs, I thought they were either a new AOL marketing tactic or unsold copies of “Postman Bill’s Christmas Hits.” Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Both of the displays were for Microsoft Windows XP!

My gut reaction was similar to my response when I see a throng of AOL discs: I took them. (With the AOL discs, I ended up making some things out of them and recycling the remainder.) I now have a good dozen XP discs sitting in the car, waiting to be used somehow.

But the bigger question in my mind was, why was Microsoft (a company) selling its goods at the Post Office (subsidized by the government)? Has anyone forgotten that Microsoft was just sued by the government? I can’t recall ever seeing any private or public company selling goods inside the lobby of a Post Office.

The disc, which I haven’t used, includes a demo and tour of Windows XP, plus videos and music clips (David Byrne!) I think it’ll make a fine coaster.

Is anyone else bugged by a company, one which holds near-monopoly status, selling things in a government-sanctioned place? Or have the lines of commercial and government interests just blurred too much? -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

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