Moment Of Doubt (6/18/00)

It's a time-honored dramatic device: the fearless leader who sits straight-backed in the saddle as he insists to his followers that victory is assured, but slumps in self-doubt when no one else is looking. And that's just what we've got in "Redmond Justice" right now, except that instead of followers we've got shareholders, instead of a straight-backed fearless leader we've got Steve Ballmer, and instead of a moment of weakness while alone we've got an admission of vulnerability in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But it's pretty much the same thing, dramatically speaking.

See, according to The Register, despite Ballmer's public bluster about how there's absolutely no way that Microsoft will ever be split up, the company's recent government filing shows the cracks in the facade. Last Friday Microsoft submitted a filing to the SEC which "warned that the company stock could be materially damaged if it failed to get sufficient legal relief through a stay of Jackson's order, or through a successful appeal." What's this? A semi-public acknowledgement that its antitrust lawsuit might not come out all sunshine and lollipops after all? Perish forbid.

But that's only to be expected. For one thing, corporate SEC filings are notoriously negative; worst-case scenarios are standard fare, so companies don't get smacked down for insider trading or whatever if things just happen to go really, really poorly. (In fact, we're surprised Microsoft's filing is as positive as it is, but maybe that's just an indication of how deep the dementia goes.) Still, it's nice to see Microsoft's relatively spin-free take on its antitrust woes. After all, if Microsoft were really betting the farm on its penalty being overturned and is not even considering the merest possibility of a breakup-- as Ballmer repeatedly states in public-- then it'd be acting terribly out of character. As in, "really stupid," which Microsoft generally is not.

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The above scene was taken from the 6/18/00 episode:

June 18, 2000: Bungie sells out to Microsoft-- and AtAT follows suit. Meanwhile, AirPort shows signs of increasing use in airports, and Microsoft admits the merest possibility of a breakup in a filing with the SEC...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2362: A Whole New Direction (6/18/00)   Who says rumors are always false? Faithful viewer Navarro Parker clued us in; according to CNET, it's really happened-- Bungie, the formerly Mac-only company who has always demonstrated undying support for the Mac gaming community, has sold itself to Microsoft...

  • 2363: What's In A Name (6/18/00)   How many of you assumed that Apple's name choice for its wireless networking technology was simply a clever play on words? You know, like "Air" as in transmissions sent wirelessly through the air, and "Port" as in the thing you plug a network cable into...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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