Microsoft cast a shadow over the software world for almost 20 years starting in the late 80s. I can remember when it was IBM before them. I mostly ignored this shadow. I never used Microsoft software, so it only affected me indirectly—for example, in the spam I got from botnets. And because I wasn't paying attention, I didn't notice when the shadow disappeared.
But it's gone now. I can sense that. No one is even afraid of Microsoft anymore. They still make a lot of money—so does IBM, for that matter. But they're not dangerous.
When did Microsoft die, and of what? [...]
Read the rest of the essay here. As an aside, I just want to highlight this footnote where Graham takes a dig at literary theorists.
It doesn't take a conscious effort to make software incompatible. All you have to do is not work too hard at fixing bugs—which, if you're a big company, you produce in copious quantities. The situation is exactly analogous to the writing of bogus literary theorists. Most don't try to be obscure; they just don't make an effort to be clear. It wouldn't pay.