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MS trial: no hanging yet, but Reno says Gates is robber baron

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Just when influential analysts start saying everything's going quiet in the Microsoft trial, US attorney general Janet Reno describes Bill Gates as a "robber baron." Frankly, there's no alternative explanation to what she said, and the chances of the focus shifting off Microsoft as the trial moves into the appeals phase have decreased some more.

And it's worse than that. Today Judge Jackson told the government to come up with a response to the response Microsoft filed yesterday, and Microsoft to come up with a response to the response to the response. The government files Monday, Microsoft Wednesday, so their ain't gonna be a hanging this week. One begins to suspect Judge Jackson has identified the soap cliffhanger possibilities of the case. Or that he has a fishing trip this weekend.

The Reno matter on the other hand is more decisively silly season. At her weekly press conference she was asked why the DoJ buys shedloads of Windows computers when it could be encouraging competition by buying alternative gear. Obviously a quiet week as far as justice is concerned, so some reporter decided to bowl a googly and see if she'd come up with a screamer of a sound-bite.

Result. Obviously she was able to reinforce the DoJ's case against Microsoft by describing it as the only game in town, so the DoJ is forced to buy Windows - that's what the DoJ says is the case for everybody, right? But then she waxed lyrical: "America was not made the industrial giant of the world by the robber barons alone. It was made the industrial giant of the world by competition, by encouraging new developments, by encouraging young entrepreneurs to break into the market. It's the best system I've seen so far."

Don't you just want to burst into patriotic song, wiping that manly tear from the corner of your eye? ®

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