Just The Beginning (6/7/00)

Wouldja believe we were so busy on Wednesday, we actually missed the season finale of "Redmond Justice"? It's true! We knew, in the back of our collective consciousness, that Judge Jackson was expected to deliver his final ruling on Wednesday at 4:30 PM EDT, yet that crucial piece of scheduling info was pushed right out of our heads by a gazillion other, far less entertaining factoids-- like how it's well-nigh impossible to get a 6.3A/250V ceramic fuse from Radio Shack without committing acts of grievous bodily harm on the sales help. Anyway, it was about 8:30 before we realized what we'd missed. Luckily, there's no shortage of post-trial coverage, so we at least got to see the highlights. And so, after two years of some of the most thrilling courtroom drama ever to grace the airwaves, we arrive at Jackson's final ruling: breakup reorganization divestiture. Yep, Microsoft called down the thunder and Jackson delivered. Smackdown! Many thanks to faithful viewer Scott Pennington for being the first to pull our heads out of a Shack-inspired rampage and pointing us in the direction of Jackson's official ruling.

Now, in surfing around trying to get more details on just what was decided, AppleLinks led us to a very interesting Reuters article which describes all of the behavioral restrictions to which Microsoft is subject in 90 days. The company is not allowed to: punish PC manufacturers or software vendors for dealing with Microsoft's competitors; force higher pricing on Windows to licensees who won't "play ball"; hide APIs and Windows source code from applications developers to put them at a competitive disadvantage to Microsoft's own developers; break its software to make competitors' software stop working with it; require PC manufacturers to require the installation of other Microsoft products with Windows; make deals with "would-be competitors" to divide markets; and so forth. Sheesh! You may as well tell fish not to swim, birds not to fly, and Kevin Williamson not to write dialogue for fifteen-year-olds that makes them sound like thirty-something film school dropouts. Microsoft: the tiger that's required to change its stripes. All of them.

And this is all before the "divestiture." Maybe it's just us (and given that Microsoft's stock had risen in after-hours trading following the ruling, we're guessing it's not), but the reality of the situation hasn't quite sunk in yet. Microsoft also seems relatively calm in its vows to appeal; according to CNET, Bill Gates is so calm he's spouting off lame platitudes. "Today is the first day of the rest of this case"? Oh, please. At least we can agree with him on one point: "Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity to go [to court] and talk about this in person." Oh, man... we'd have gladly given up a major limb of Bill's choice to have been able to see him on the stand. Talk about entertainment potential. Perhaps during the appeal?

And what about that appeal? Well, Microsoft's chief mouthpiece Bill Neukom is already on it-- he's filing with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and requesting that Jackson's whole order be stayed. According to Neukom, he's going to the Circuit Court instead of directly to the Supreme Court because he feels "the higher court would find the case too complex to handle on a so-called fast-track basis." It has, of course, nothing to do with trying to draw this case out as long as possible, or the fact that the Circuit Court has proven to be particularly Microsoft-friendly in past antitrust tussles. Buckle up, folks, because Round Two's just about to begin, and it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out dust-up of epic proportions...

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The above scene was taken from the 6/7/00 episode:

June 7, 2000: Redmond Justice: the judge hath spoken, and his wrath is terrible. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs drops in on JavaOne to reiterate Apple's support for Sun's struggling run-anywhere programming language, and the AtAT staff finds shopping for a power supply at retail to be a baffling ordeal...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2342: Pour Us Another Cup (6/7/00)   Is anyone else just a wee bit tired of waiting for Java to fulfill its promise? It's been what, five years now since we were first told of a glittering utopia in which developers could write their software once, and anyone could run it on any computer he or she chose...

  • 2343: Hypertension Is Fun (6/7/00)   Would we, the producers of this show, ever commit such a flagrant breach of professional responsibility as to commandeer this broadcast medium as a vehicle for a personal rant? To those of you who didn't answer "hell yes" without a moment's hesitation, we'd like to extend our warmest welcome-- you're obviously new here...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

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