On being Microsoft-free in retirement

Since leaving corporate America in May of this year I found it interesting to look up one day and realize that I don't need Microsoft products for anything in my life. It turns out that there's not much intersection between (a) the life of a semi-retired person and (b) needs for spreadsheets, formatted text documents, and presentation software. And on the two occasions I did need to write letters to an insurance company Open Office on the Mac worked just fine, thank you.

The two main software "products" I use a lot these days are email and internet search. For email I have accounts with Yahoo and Gmail that I'm very happy with. And right now all of my internet searches go through Google. Oops, and I almost forgot, the browser that powers all of this is Firefox.

(If you want to dig deeper and expand this to a second-tier of applications, I also use other services like del.icio.us and Google Reader. And I dig further for news content from Google News, Digg, Slashdot, and sports from ESPN and Sports Illustrated. And since there isn't any Microsoft-specific content that interests me there's no MSFT in my life here either.)

I don't write this as a rant against MSFT; just an observation that for the first time in 20 years I don't need their products in my post-corporate-America life.

Now, add to this simple thought how many baby-boomers are about to retire and be in a similar situation. If I was an MSFT shareholder -- which I used to be -- that would scare me a lot.