Their Loss, Our Gain (11/8/99)
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We admit it: Wall Street's reaction to the infamous "Redmond Justice" findings of fact surprised us a bit. Lots of people were expecting an overall market slump when Microsoft's stock spiralled out of control, but it wasn't meant to be. Microsoft's stock dropped about ten points early on, but then regained most of what it lost and closed at $89.94, only down $1.63. Evidently investors aren't quite ready to give up on Bill Gates and his moneymaking machine. Perhaps part of that confidence lies in the knowledge that Microsoft won't be losing any money from a hefty antitrust fine, since the government isn't looking for financial penalties... and if the company gets broken up into Babysofts, well, that's just more companies to make lots of money in illegal ways. (It's kinda like the magic broom in Fantasia.) So, yeah, Microsoft's still a sound investment, at least in the eyes of the Street.

What's interesting, though, is that while Microsoft's stock didn't lose much, according to a CNET article, the stock of companies that compete with Microsoft pretty much went through the roof. Take Red Hat, for instance-- the most famous company that's packaging, distributing, and supporting Linux saw its stock rise almost 20 points to close at $104. Not bad for a product that Judge Jackson referred to as a "fringe operating system." And then there's Be, those scrappy geeks cranking out the BeOS, once thought to be the basis for Apple's next-generation Mac OS. Be's stock rose a whopping 70%-- but before you get too excited, that puts it at $6.50 a share. The article also lists a handful of companies that make Linux applications, non-Office productivity suites, Linux servers, and other Microsoft-competing products-- all of whom saw stock gains ranging from 10-17%. Financially speaking, it was a good day to be a freedom fighter.

Which brings us to Apple. Holy yikes! We know we've been sort of sedate about AAPL's continuous all-time highs day after day after day, but Monday's activity really was exciting. Apple's stock rose over 9% to close at a whopping $96.38. That Bear-Stearns analyst who raised his AAPL twelve-month target price on Friday to $90-95? We guess he'll be raising that again real soon now. Now, of course any gains that result from a big, splashy news story are bound to level off pretty quickly, but still, seeing AAPL close in on $100 is a thrill-- and we don't even own any stock! Yes, Apple's stock is now higher than Microsoft's. Strange days indeed...


 
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The above scene was taken from the 11/8/99 episode:

November 8, 1999: Is Microsoft finally ready to negotiate a reasonable settlement, or will Justice have to bust out the Big Stick O' Punishment? Meanwhile, Microsoft's competitors had a great day on Wall Street, including Apple, who almost broke $100, and while we hate to stir up old trouble, rumors of a forthcoming six-slot Mac have surfaced...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1897: Not Ready To Deal (11/8/99)   So Judge Jackson has released his findings of fact in the "Redmond Justice" case, and to put it bluntly, things don't look so good for Microsoft. In fact, we'd have a harder time putting things more bluntly than the judge himself, who filled over 200 pages with such statements as "Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products."...

  • 1899: Six-Slot Slickness (11/8/99)   Have you noticed what happens to a lot of complaints about Apple? Irate customers yell and scream for a while, there's a big ol' ruckus, lots of columnists write nasty venomous articles, Apple does nothing, and eventually the whole issue sort of fades into oblivion...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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