Those who know me know I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft. My personal opinion is that their products are often below the standard they should be, and Internet Explorer especially causes me daily grief. I dislike their unique way of interpreting standards, and their ongoing use of proprietary file formats. I dislike their arrogance.
All that said, Microsoft have done a lot of good. They are in a large way responsible for bringing computers to the masses, and for that they deserve a lot of credit. They are responsible, in many ways, for Open Source software. Were their products better and cheaper, there's a good chance that Linux, as well as programs like Apache and OpenOffice and languages like PHP, may never have seen the light of day, or if they had, not enjoyed quite as much success. They might not be too happy about that last bit though.
Microsoft turns 30 years old today. I'm sort of hoping that now it's out of its 20s, Microsoft will mature somewhat and start being more altruistic. Hope springs eternal. Happy Birthday Microsoft - may you have at least a couple more before that youngster, Open Source, finally puts you into a retirement home.