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Tech Industry

2HRS2GO: No messing around with Microsoft

Enough talk about remedies for curbing the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) monopoly.

Forget about browser choices. Don't worry about API revelations. Stop wasting our time talking about a break up. Only one solution will do, and it's not a judicial one.

Ban the SOBs.

Have an opinion on this?

Legislate Microsoft out of existence and bar Bill Gates from occupying any executive capacity in any business ever again. We propose the following for the basis of a Bill to Ban Bill:

"Note: Violators of any portion of this legislation shall be jailed for a period no less than 9.8 years. After said 9.8 years of confinement have been completed, aforementioned violators shall be subjected to an oral exam, containing more than 4,999 questions and less than 5,001 questions, based on every Microsoft-related e-mail collected by the U.S. Department of Justice. Failure to correctly answer 100 percent of the aforementioned questions shall result in a denial of release. Violators who fail the exam may retake it once a month, every month thereafter, until release.

"Terms of Legislation:

"Operations of Microsoft Corp. shall cease and desist IMMEDIATELY. Microsoft employees (HEREAFTER referred to as "drones") must immediately discontinue their work and leave their offices, never to return again. Drones shall not be permitted to clear their offices of personal effects, as per EPA regulations regarding the disposal of irradiated items.

"Microsoft CEO William H. Gates III (HEREAFTER referred to as "Bill") is hereby ordered to DON a hairshirt and WALK to every U.S. home and business with a PC containing any variant of the MS-DOS or Windows operating systems (HEREAFTER referred to as "GarbageWare"). Bill must remove every copy of GarbageWare from any computer systems upon which said GarbageWare resides. During the course of said removal journey, Bill's diet shall be limited to stale milk and overripe bananas. Bill may sleep (HEREAFTER referred to as "shutdown") no more than 3.0 hours within a 24-hour period. At no time will Bill be permitted to use any means of travel other than his own walking.

"Personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall seize any and all removable storage media -- including, but not limited to, floppy disks, compact discs, magnetic tapes, cassettes, eight-track tapes, and Edison phonograph cylinders -- with copies of GarbageWare. Such removable storage media shall be vaporized in the core of a nuclear reactor.

"Physical assets of Microsoft shall be demolished, razed and/or atomized by FEMA employees. Cash assets of Microsoft shall be distributed to current and former employees of former Microsoft competitors which no longer exist as independent businesses. The sole exception shall be such persons (HEREAFTER referred to as "Steve Jobs") whose status has changed from competing with Microsoft to working for or cooperating with Microsoft. Such Steve Jobs shall be excluded from the cash asset distribution.

"All persons who have ever purchased shares of Microsoft stock (HEREAFTER referred to as MSFT) must total the aggregate value of their pre-tax capital gains on MSFT, as of market close, May 30, 1999, and pay the equivalent amount, via money order or certified check, to the U.S. Department of Justice, which shall uniformly distribute the total sum to companies identified by Department of Justice employees as "current competitors" of Microsoft.

"MSFT shall AT ONCE be removed from trading. All physical shares of MSFT must be burned with extreme prejudice. No one shall be reimbursed for any capital losses related to the elimination of MSFT."

How about it Congress? You've got an election year coming up -- give the people what they want. Give them blood, and business gains be damned.

Other issues:

  • CheckFree Holdings Corp.
  • (Nasdaq: CKFR) Yet another reason not to open after-hours and pre-market trading to retail investors. The Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column reports that some Merrill Lynch clients got caught short when CheckFree pulled its secondary offering at the last minute. Apparently, when lead underwriter Merrill allocated blocks of CheckFree's offering, some recipients sold immediately.

    Of course, when the deal was pulled, the sellers discovered they had to cover themselves. Can you imagine what might have happened if daytraders were able to get in "early"? It's too ugly to even contemplate.

  • US Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: SRCH) Another broken IPO for another stock whose niche -- public record searches for individuals -- is just too narrow to be worth investing in. US Search's financials are no worse or better than you'll see for your average Internet IPO, but in today's market, your average Internet IPO probably won't do too well. And what's up with $40 a search?

  • Juniper Networks Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: JNPR) By all accounts, Juniper's routers seems to be high-quality products. But are today's stock buyers driving up Juniper on anything more than hopes of a takeover?

  • Cisco Systems Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: CSCO) Speaking of the companies that take over, if federal regulators are going to investigate Intel and Microsoft, why not Cisco "We've got 80 percent of Internet traffic" Systems? When it comes to buying up competitors or potential competitors, Cisco is far more predatory than Intel or Microsoft ever have been.

    The overall technology market gave back this morning's gains. With two hours left in this week's regular trading, the Nasdaq: Composite Index was down 3.38 to 2,550.61, the S&P 500 was clinging to a gain of 2.30 to 1,318.08, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 35.78 to 10,570.61. 22GO>