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TheStreet Open House

Microsoft Stinks So Bad It Hurts

Stocks in this article: MSFT NOK AAPL BBRY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While there's been a lot said about Microsoft's (MSFT) $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) mobile phone business, I haven't seen the most obvious and human response.

Pardon me as I introduce that "most obvious and human response" with a personal story.

I spent roughly 18 months of my life -- by day and sometimes night -- hanging out in Downtown Los Angeles's Skid Row neighborhood. It's the largest concentration of homelessness in the western world.

When my attempts at finding an agent to sell a book about the experience failed, I published a couple chapters as an e-book, available for a mere 99 cents at Amazon.com.

Many things about the experience in Skid Row moved me. One that, for some reason, sticks in my mind occurred on a hot summer afternoon when a popular television show (I forget which one) was shooting a scene at the corner of 5th and San Julian. That's pretty much the heart of Skid Row.

On the set, the main prop was a Cadillac -- probably a $65,000 model -- that was smashed. Front end a mess. Couple windows shattered. Maybe it was salvaged from a wreck or junkyard or something. Or, quite possibly, the production bought it new and crashed it on purpose. I don't know. And it doesn't really matter because all of the passersby assumed it was the latter.

And, to a person, the folks who witnessed this scene -- ranging from the homeless who reside in Skid Row to social workers and the many young Black men who populate the neighborhood -- reacted to the totaled Caddy with almost speechless disbelief.

The most common comments articulated the shock that somebody could take such an expensive item and destroy it for a TV show. People were dumbfounded.

Man, I would've taken that car!

I can't believe they could do that to a $50,000 Caddy!.

It was simply beyond comprehension that Hollywood could willingly, though purposefully, sacrifice something out of the reach of, yet so attractive and aspirational to, a majority of Skid Row dwellers right there in front of them! You could read that sentiment on the faces of people too stunned to speak.

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