Joke: General Motors issued a caustic press release in response to Bill Gates' comparison of advances in computing to the automotive industry.
Examples: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release (by
If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason at all, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you would have to reinstall the engine.
4. When your car died on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought 'Car95' or 'CarNT', and then added more seats.
6. Apple would make a car powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads.
7. Oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single 'general car default' warning light.
8. New seats would force every-one to have the same size butt.
9. The airbag would say 'Are you sure?' before going off.
10. Occasionally, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna.
11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of road maps from Rand-McNally (a subsidiary of GM), even though they neither need them nor want them. Trying to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by
12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
13. You would press the 'start' button to shut off the engine.
Origins: Jokes sometimes take the long way around on their journeys from mere humor to "this really happened" tales.
The basic premise of this
Recently General Motors addressed this comment by releasing the statement: "Yes, but would you want your car to crash twice a day?"
What's scarier is that if Microsoft had gone into automobile manufacturing and dominated the industry as they normally do, then we'd have to deal with the following:
Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.
Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your
You could only have one person in the car at a time, unless you bought Car95 or CarNT. But, then you would have to buy more seats.
Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive - but would only run on
The Macintosh car owners would get expensive Microsoft upgrades to their cars, which would make their cars run much slower.
The oil, gas and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.
New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.
If you were involved in a crash, you would have no idea what happened.
Although this piece now circulates as a "true" story complete with specific details of person and place, it's still nothing more than an evolving joke that someone decided would be funnier if it were put in the mouth of a real, well-known person.
Last updated: 14 October 2010
Gullon, Al. "Engineers and Humour? Oil and Water?" The Toronto Sun. 16 September 2001 (p. D9). Heberlein, Greg. "Well, If Microsoft Built Cars ..." The Seattle Times. 14 June 1998 (p.F1). Hutchinson, John. "Stop the Technology Madness." The Daily Telegraph. 14 April 1998 (p.11). Kilborn, Robert, et al. "The News in Brief." The Christian Science Monitor. 11 February 1997 (p. 2). Reuteman, Rob. "If Microsoft Built Cars — Fables from E-Mail." Denver Rocky Mountain News. 28 February 1999 (p. G2). Steiner, Rupert. "Carmakers Throw Bricks Back at Gates's Windows." The [London] Times. 8 August 1999. Wapshott, Tim. "Computer Games and Pastimes." The [London] Times. 21 August 1999. The Guardian. "Micro Lites." 30 July 1998 (p. 3). The [London] Times. "Global Village." 15 July 2000.