Who says paranoia doesn't pay off?
China thinks Microsoft software contains secretly embedded code that the United States government can manipulate at will. So, in case of war between the two countries, a Pentagon official can hit a switch and--presto!--cripple China's computing infrastructure.
A senior Microsoft executive, who often confers with the Chinese (sorry, no names), told me this tale. I thought he was joking.
He wasn't. Some people in the Chinese government actually believe it's true.
I'm sure this type of functionality is cheaper than ordering in a bevy of B2 bombers. While Microsoft may be a predatory monopolist and the U.S. government sometimes does goofy stuff--getting Fidel Castro's beard to fall out with secret powder is my particular favorite--the image of Bill Gates getting his marching orders from President George Bush just doesn't compute.
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