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It’s like a hanging set to music, except you just know that there’s no real chance that the condemned man, in this case, Microsoft, will ever take the drop.
On Wednesday following 30,000, yes, you read it right first time, 30,000 largely critical comments made about their controversial antitrust settlement by competitors and individuals during the Tunney review process, Microsoft and the US Justice Department have filed a second revised proposed settlement with the court charged with deciding whether it is in the public interest.

The amendments, according to Client Server News the edits “consist of stuff like adding the adjective "unbiased" to the provision requiring Windows to launch other people's middleware. It's supposed to clarify beyond a shadow of a doubt that the trigger points in Windows will be impartial as to whether it's Microsoft or non-Microsoft middleware”.

Meanwhile, in a presumably fruitless attempt to head off the out- for-blood remedy hearing that the nine dissident states are insisting on, Microsoft has also filed a motion asking the court to dismiss their case.

I ask you, do we really care anymore? Does justice make a difference if you have $36 billion in the bank? Of course it doesn’t and why did anyone believe it did. At least though it will be difficult in the future for any technology giant to behave again as Microsoft did in the nineties, without being called to account a great deal faster than it was. And anyway, there’s Enron to worry about now.

The last ten years should have taught all of us a lesson. We had Windows and the Internet and the great Dot Com gold rush, which left most of the people I know out of pocket and wondering where their common sense had gone. Like Dr Frankenstein, we created the Microsofts' of this world and then hid behind the veil of plausible deniability, when Microsoft used its considerable muscle to build the monopoly that gave us the software we were asking of it.

Now there’s no going back. There’s every sign that tomorrow will be an even more of a Microsoft world than today and like some latter-day Faustus that’ s the bargain we made when we threw out OS/2 in favour of Windows. It’s called progress of course and if governments aren’t strong enough to stand in front of this moving train we might as well get used to the idea of the software industry being divvied-up between a handful of well-known companies.

After all, it’s no different to Kellogs in the cornflake business. Winner takes all I’m afraid.


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