Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Robert X. Cringely says Microsoft are going down

Robert X. Cringely is predicting that Microsoft are finally going down after surviving many years of antitrust suits and long since getting convicted, without noticeable effect, of being a monopolist. Why does he believe this? Because a lawyer for the state of Iowa is going to go public with the story of how Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were alledgedly overheard discussing how to get Paul Allen's shares in the company, if he were to die. Allen at the time was suffering from Hodgkins disease, a form of cancer.

"But during one of those last long nights of working to finish-up DOS 2.0, something happened. I have heard this story from two people, each of whom was a friend of Allen's and in a position to know. Each told me the same story the same way. I am not staking my reputation on the accuracy of the story, but I am saying I have it from two good sources. Paul Allen certainly won&'t confirm or deny it, so I'll just throw it out for you to consider.

During one of those last long nights working to deliver DOS 2.0 in early 1983, I am told that Paul Allen heard Gates and Ballmer discussing his health and talking about how to get his Microsoft shares back if Allen were to die.

Maybe that's just the sort of fiduciary discussion board members have to have, but it didn't go over well with Paul Allen, who never returned to Microsoft, and over the next eight years, made huge efforts to secure his wealth from the fate of Microsoft...

My reason for bringing up this topic at this time is because it will all shortly be back in the news as Microsoft goes to court later this year in what might well be its last-ever anti-trust trial. Remember those 19 states and the District of Columbia that settled over time for software vouchers and promises from Microsoft to no longer do evil? Well only Iowa remains, represented by a lawyer from Des Moines named Roxanne Conlin whom I have met. Roxanne is not in any way impressed with Microsoft vouchers, no matter how many there are. Looking for real money for the people of Iowa, Ms. Conlin is about to dredge-up all this old news and put a new spin on it.

Based purely on character (or lack of it), I confidently predict that Microsoft is going down. It should be interesting."

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