What Bill Gates is Thinking
April 2000

While the world reacts to the recent Antitrust ruling against Microsoft, just what is Mr. Gates thinking right now? Is he afraid? Is he worried? Not at all. What dark and crafty scheme is he dreaming up now to defeat the forces of Law and Justice? Let us listen in on his very own thoughts....

"Well, first of all, I've got to *maintain* that monopoly power, which means I have to make sure that nobody else gets my hardware departments (er, that is to say, the PC vendors) and starts using them to promote foreign code, like Linux or OS/2 or some Mac derivative. I've got to make sure that Java and Netscape can't be imposed upon my operating system -- how dare they! But I can't just call for a code freeze; that would make people think that I'm against innovation.... (Which of course I am -- if it's controlled by somebody else!!). So I've got to keep putting stuff in Windows, so people will think I'm creative and new, even though I'm over age 40 and nobody my age gets hired in this industry any more. (Memo to Dick Clark: luv ya baby! Don't ever change!)

Seems tough, huh? But I've got it all under control. I've already won, but nobody knows it yet. This game is easy, because with software I can change the rules anytime I want. Go ahead Judge, break my company up into two or three pieces -- I dare ya! Of course you'll slice and dice and come up with an Operating System company, an Applications company, and an Internet company. Cool, no problem, Judge. I'll just let the Operating System company keep its preload monopoly, but without the GUI. Yeah, that's it! We'll let them preload DOS, and we'll only charge the PC companies five bucks a copy. Of course we won't call it DOS, we'll call it Windows, but that's all we've been selling in the consumer space for 10 years is DOS with a GUI attached. We'll just name the DOS "Windows" and call it an upgrade. The DOS won't run DOS applications, but who cares? All it will run is... Office!!!

Yeah, I already won this case before it started, when my goons (er, I mean lawyers!) got the Judge to throw out the Office part of the case. I can bundle anything I want with Office -- I can tie, I can bundle, I can innovate, I can blend, I can slice and dice just as well as you can, Judge! I'll just bundle the GUI part of Windows into Office, and sell it as a separate product! Yeah, nobody will want a PC with just my bastardized version of DOS that won't run DOS apps.... they'll HAVE to go out and buy the GUI, in order to run Office! And when they buy the GUI, they get Office for free, since I've "innovated" the GUI right into Office! Heh-heh, this game is easy!

Right, so then I'll also bundle MSIE right into Office, too. I've already been doing that, since IE5 comes bundled with Office 2000. All I have to do is stop calling MSIE a "browser" -- I'll just call it a "GUI enhancement." Remember, Judge, this was not part of the case! Nobody said anything about my Office Suite monopoly! Nobody put any restrictions on what I can blend or tie with Office, because this case was only about Operating Systems and Browsers -- and Office is neither!! So that third little company, the Internet company, what will it sell? Why, anything having to with Internet content, of course. I'll just make a product called a "Browser" that delivers content, and that's what they'll sell. Nobody will want MSIE if it can't access Web content, so naturally everyone will go out and buy the "Browser" part of MSIE.

Okay, so that's it then: Every PC will come with a crippled version of DOS (which will be renamed Windows), which will only run Office, which will include the GUI and MSIE (which we will insist is not really a browser), and everyone will go out and buy the Content Browser from that third little company of mine, so they can get more than just text from the Web. Any time I want to leverage (umm, "innovate", heh-heh), I'll just put all the new stuff bundled and tied in with Office, which was not covered by this antitrust case. All the software APIs will be bundled with Office, so dependent ISVs will have to code to Office instead of the old Windows APIs (which will be only available as part of Office). And of course these Office APIs will look just like the old Windows APIs, so my captive ISVs will stay loyal to me.

Ahh, isn't life wonderful? Now I can rest for a few years, until everybody figures out how I fooled 'em, and then the new DOJ has to start all over, and prove that Office is a monopoly, and that I've abused that monopoly, and then they'll have to break the Office company up, but by then it'll be too late because I'll be retired. What a bunch of suckers, those poor ignorant sheep out there, thinking they could keep me from cheating them! I'm always two steps ahead, you know. All I have to do now is keep playing the poor, persecuted victim, pretending I'm scared of a breakup, and they will play right into my hands."

Most recent revision: April 15, 2000
Copyright © 2000, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.

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