Rich Dogs, Dirty Tricks (6/28/00)

If you haven't been just waiting for something like this to happen, you simply haven't been paying attention. While we viewers suffer a drama drought as Microsoft and the government prepare their respective arguments for the Supreme Court, recurring "Redmond Justice" special guest star Larry Ellison has wormed his way back on the show to take up the slack. Faithful viewer Unanimous Howard was the first to point out a simply enthralling New York Times article about how Larry's company Oracle hired a detective agency to dig up dirt on Microsoft to be used as evidence during the trial.

Now, in and of itself, that might not be so compelling. But here's where things get interesting: the detective firm, Investigative Group International, is now accused of attempting various dirty tricks to get its info. Allegedly agents of the firm tried to bribe a couple of cleaning workers at the Association for Competitive Technology in order to get access to the organization's garbage. Sneaky? Sure. But ACT is supposedly an "independent advocacy group" who took out full-page ads in major newspapers supporting Microsoft during the trial; Oracle's investigation, however sketchy, revealed the group to be little more than a Microsoft-funded puppet organization established for the "express purpose of influencing public opinion" while Microsoft fought its case. So which side is sleazier?

Don't answer yet-- there's more. Oracle claims that when it enlisted the help of IGI to investigate "numerous Microsoft front organizations," it insisted that "whatever methods IGI employed must be legal." But now a member of one of those "front organizations" says that "documents that later showed up in the press were on two laptops stolen from the group last June." So on the one hand we've got the alleged establishment of fake "independent" organizations paid to dupe the public into thinking the industry supports Microsoft more than it does. On the other, we've got alleged bribery and theft. Anyone care to pick the lesser of two evils? In any case, isn't it interesting that the two men at the top of both scandals-- Bill Gates and Larry Ellison-- also just happen to be the two richest people in the world? But we're sure that's merely a coincidence...

SceneLink (2388)
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The above scene was taken from the 6/28/00 episode:

June 28, 2000: Getting lousy service from Apple technical support? Maybe you just haven't bought enough gear lately. Meanwhile, Intel announces that its new chip will be called, astonishingly enough, the Pentium 4, and word gets out that Larry Ellison hired a detective agency to dig up dirt on Microsoft during the "Redmond Justice" trial...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2386: Get What You Pay For (6/28/00)   Have you ever wondered why there seem to be such wildly differing opinions of the quality of Apple's technical support these days? Some people rave about it like it's free cable or something, while others consider a call to Apple's support center tantamount to self-performed oral surgery without benefit of painkillers or a cyanide capsule...

  • 2387: Is Anyone Surprised? (6/28/00)   Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves: Intel, the company who brought you such memorable and evocative (hey, at least they evoke a gag reflex) product names as "Celeron" and "Itanium," has officially bestowed a moniker on its upcoming processor code-named "Willamette."...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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