Showdown in Crazytown, featuring Steve Ballmer, Congress, and Cooks Source

Find out what readers had to say in response to Cringely's comments on Windows Phone 7, politics, and plagiarism

Yes, it's time for another segment of Letters from Cringeville, in which readers spank me for my assorted sins while I smile politely and say, "Thank you, kind sirs and madames, may I have another?" Here we go.

In "Has Steve Ballmer gone bonkers?," I accused Microsoft's El Jefe of losing his marbles after declaring Windows Phone 7 "early" to the smartphone market. Reader S. S. took umbrage at the epithet, accusing me of pandering to readers in a desperate effort to garner traffic. (Pandering? Moi?)

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The headline of this article seems like something that would be on Gizmodo but they would at least write about something crazy that Mr. Ballmer has said or done. ... [Microsoft's] death has been predicted for the past 10 years and they seem to be making more money every year. Maybe one day you'll be right but right now it looks like they are doing well with making money and FINALLY starting to release good and competitive products in the consumer space.

On the other hand, highly caffeinated correspondent R. G. calls Microsoft the new IBM and Steve Ballmer the Tom Cruise of high tech:

I am super happy that Microsoft did a reasonably nice job with Windows 7 and I think they have made some real progress in parts of Bing. But so long as Microsoft continues to keep its head in the sand just like IBM did when it clung to the main frame business then [it is] destined to become a foot note in computing history..... Under Ballmer, Microsoft is quickly becoming what it was that they exploited on a few years ago... the new lumbering behemoth with more money than vision.

Meanwhile, a reader known only as Surfcook has just one word for the Microsoft CEO: "Craaazy." (Dig those vowels, dude.)

In "Online advertisers are selling you out," I asked, "Can Congress possibly pass a law on Internet privacy that doesn't simply make things worse?" Cringester D. S. has an answer for me:

I have been told that there are no stupid questions, but that is as close to one as I have ever seen. All that Congress has passed for years is gas. Haven't you smelled it? Look at our intellectual property laws. They are so broken that innovation is actually being noticeably stifled in this country. ...So can Congress restore our privacy? Not while lobbyists are allowed in Washington and not while campaign finances are merely legalized bribery.

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