Enjoy It While It Lasts (3/24/04)
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Okay, we know it technically isn't Friday yet, but what with Microsoft having been smacked down something fierce over there in Europe, we really can't wait another couple of days to gloat. Besides, what with our recent late broadcasts and the mind-bending effects of time zone differences, it must be Friday somewhere, right? Heck, we're pretty sure that in New Zealand it's currently September or something. Oh, and don't forget that this is a leap year-- that wacky 29th of February pushed us a day closer to Friday, didn't it?

Aw, heck, let's just play the trump card and be done with it: one of the AtAT staff went out drinkin' tonight, so if nothing else, it's a virtual Friday. There. Problem solved.

So now that we've established that it's kindasorta Friday somewhere in the universe and therefore it's Wildly Off-Topic Microsoft-Bashing Day, how 'bout those feisty Europeans? Imagine slapping Redmond with a $600 million fine for antitrust violations-- why, it almost reminds us of our own Department of Justice, back before the bribes or the neuterings or whatever it was that caused the shift from "we have an airtight case, so let's break up the company" to "we have an airtight case, so let's give them a big bag of Tootsie Rolls and then offer to wash all their cars with our tongues."

Not that a $600 million fine will hurt Microsoft in the slightest, really; given that the company has a heart-stopping $52.78 billion just sitting around in nice big piles (not counting the $26.5 billion in gross profit it rakes in over the course of a year), we figure the company probably spends more than that on Slim Jims in a month. (They used to spend it on Tootsie Rolls, but the DoJ has them covered on that front these days.) But, see, even though it's the largest antitrust fine the European Commission has ever doled out, it's not really about the money anyway; BBC NEWS reports that in addition to having to shell out a little pocket change, Microsoft has also been ordered to "reveal details of its Windows software codes within 120 days" (by which we assume the EC means that the company has to share portions of its source code and APIs) and also "must offer a stripped-down version of its Windows operating system minus the firm's Media Player audiovisual software within 90 days." See? Now that's hitting 'em where it hurts.

Mind you, these restrictions only apply in Europe, and we suppose it's a little early to be celebrating much, since Microsoft plans to appeal-- and if you recall, over here in the U.S. Microsoft was actually ordered to split up before the appeals process began and the DoJ turned into a pack of slobbering lap dogs. Here's hoping that the EC is immune to the effects of whatever mind control ray that Redmond used over here. But just in case the decision does collapse into dust, we may as well enjoy it while it's here; after all, when else are you going to get choice quotes like this one? "Microsoft claims that it should not be fined at all because it did not know its behaviour would breach EU law." Ah yes, the classic Steve Martin "I Forgot Armed Robbery Was Illegal" defense. Yeah, that'll work.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 3/24/04 episode:

March 24, 2004: Now new Power Macs are sliding into April, June, or even July, while rumors of new eMacs, iMacs, and PowerBooks fall all over the calendar. Meanwhile, AAC as the DVD-Audio format is in, out, and in again, and Microsoft gets walloped by Europe for antitrust violations-- enjoy it while it lasts...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4589: We Need CLOSURE, Already (3/24/04)   It's official, people: predictions of when new Mac hardware will arrive are now all over the freakin' map. On the Power Mac front, right now the consensus in the rumor mill appears to be abandoning the March 26th-ish theory in favor of Mac OS Rumors's long-posited prediction that an unveiling at or just prior to NAB is far more likely...

  • 4590: It Is! It Isn't! It Will Be! (3/24/04)   Aha, we knew it was a good idea to sit on that whole AAC-for-DVD-Audio thing for a day or so! See, faithful viewer dave sent us over to The Register, who reported yesterday that the DVD Forum (the group of bigwigs who determine the standards for those shiny circular things on which you folks are apparently buying copies of cinematic masterpieces such as Femalien and Sadomania) had chosen AAC as the official low-res audio format for DVD-Audio discs...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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