A Van Down By The River (11/19/02)

Hmmmm, decisions, decisions... We felt this would be a great time to pop in a short Microsoft scene, just as a change of pace, so we went sifting through our mailbag in search of potential plot material, and now we need to decide which angle to cover.

Faithful viewer Andrew Norris forwarded us a Financial Times article which reveals that Microsoft rakes in an astounding 85% profit margin on Windows, even as the company loses money in four other core businesses. This invites all manner of trenchant commentary on the very nature of monopoly, e.g. Microsoft using its chokehold on the desktop OS market to bleed cash from the public in order to finance its attempts to squeeze AOL and the Sony Playstation out of the market with the otherwise money-losing MSN and Xbox. It also calls for a sober dollop of irony in light of the virtual collapse of any sort of effective remedy arising from the "Redmond Justice" antitrust case.

Faithful viewer Axo1ot1, on the other hand, sent us an article from The Inquirer in which the author describes finding a number of nominally sensitive internal Microsoft documents just sitting unprotected on one of the company's own Internet servers. More importantly, though, among those files is yet another video clip of Steve Ballmer at yet another Microsoft rally-- which opens the door for a lot of cheap shots about shaved apes and genetic cloning research gone terribly, terribly awry.

Gee, we wonder which we'll pick?

But we said this'll be a quickie, so we're going to try to keep this short. We've seen this latest video (it's a Microsoft .WMV file; we pasted the URL into Windows Media Player 7 for Mac OS X to view it), and Mr. Ballmer is actually far less simian here than he was when he was bouncing around a stage shrieking like a howler monkey with a painful rash. He's also not perspiring quite as freely as he was when he was chanting the word "developers" over and over again. But here's the thing: the resemblance on some level to the late Chris Farley's "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker" character is uncanny.

No fooling, folks, and we're not even mostly talking about the obvious visual similarities-- the build, the sweat, the posture. Nope, we're talking about the voice. Go listen to a few Matt Foley sound clips and then watch the Ballmer video and you'll see what we mean. Holy shnikeys, that's eerie! On top of that, you've got Ballmer miming repeatedly running head-first into a wall; not much different than Chris Farley falling on and breaking a coffee table or two, is it? Not to impugn the reputation of the late great Farley, mind you, but what do you think: separated at birth, or channeling spirits from beyond? You be the judge.

SceneLink (3850)
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The above scene was taken from the 11/19/02 episode:

November 19, 2002: Rumors fly that a dramatic Apple-AMD announcement is imminent at COMDEX. Meanwhile, there's going to be a Seattle-area Apple store after all, and yet more video footage of Steve Ballmer provides a fascinating new insight into his apparent inspiration...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3848: COMDEX: The Plot Thickens (11/19/02)   Well, presumably we've got a few hours left in which to wring some drama from the Apple-at-COMDEX rumors flitting hither and thither, so we figure, what the heck-- we'll go for it. Waste not, want not...

  • 3849: Mucho Thankful In Seattle (11/19/02)   Thanksgiving is just nine days away, and we're about halfway through our intensive pre-feast stomach-stretching regimen. (You have to prepare for these things properly, or there's no way you're going to be able to eat three full helpings and then wolf down a complete pie.)...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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