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Bill Gates dismisses Judge Jackson's ruling

On trial and in denial

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MS on Trial When Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates enacted his entry procession into the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday, flanked by both US Senators from his home state, both glowing with pride, the tedious liturgical airs of this exercise only accentuated our impression of a man severely out of touch.

The Prince Bishop of Redmond toddled to his seat before the Joint Economic Committee with an air of abstraction and settled himself gently, only to discover that his two Evangelists had no place at the table. He gazed vacantly at the Committee while arrangements were hastily made to seat them.

Microsoft was to be understood as nothing less than the soul of Washington State, bequeathing blessings uncounted to its grateful residents, and, by extension, to all of Mankind, the two Senators enthused.

The topic of Tuesday's hearing was removing barriers to the development of the New Economy, but Gates, when his turn came, read from a script enlarging upon his solemn devotion to the health and education of the world's children, thereby enervating the Committee with his Pollyanna Gospel, insipid fake smile, and whining nasal monotone.

Clearly he had graver matters on that reputedly brilliant mind of his. (Though we are at a loss to explain how a mind said to be brilliant struggles so fruitlessly to express itself in language more compelling than the inarticulate hoots and grunts of contemporary commercialese.)

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's impending decision hung about Gates like a vapour Tuesday, and cut short his scheduled annual pilgrimage to Capitol Hill, where all the Big Swinging Dicks from the tech and media sectors -- Andy Grove and Eric Schmidt and Michael Eisner to mention but a few -- had gathered to grease palms for a few days.

Back in the Magic Kingdom, safely insulated from an ungrateful world which has the audacity to misunderstand him, and even knowingly contradict him, Gates prepared his response on Wednesday.

It was a masterpiece of denial. "Today's ruling represents an unwarranted and unjustified intrusion into the software marketplace," Gates declared with confidence, far away from Congressional cynics and comfortably insulated by a gaggle of sympathetic upper-management MicroSerfs.

Jackson's remedy would mean that "the Internet support in Windows could never be enhanced; it could never be updated to new standards, whether they relate to privacy, or XML, or any other consumer need." (Most notably the acute consumer need for NGWS, we understood him to be not saying.)

"It says to creators of intellectual property that the government can take away what you've created, if it turns out to be too popular," he whinged.

And then he repeated the Microsoft Core Message in spite of all signs to the contrary: "We're confident the judicial system will overturn today's ruling." His disciples nodded in approval.

The man simply does not get it. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal put it best during the US Department of Justice (DoJ) press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Microsoft simply lost credibility before Judge Jackson, and before the public, and that was a critical point. Not necessarily on one day, or with one witness or one piece of evidence; but the....overwhelming momentum of the evidence, which creates such a record of misconduct, eventually persuaded Judge Jackson that conduct remedies alone -- if they relied on the good faith of this defendant -- simply would not be sufficient."

Gates, of course, is innocent of this fact. While the majority of the thinking world has grown weary to the point of catatonia of his tired euphemisms and slick promises, he steadfastly persists in believing his own spin.

And so does the sycophantic personality cult with which he has surrounded himself, we noted. Its numbing influence should not be underestimated. Try it for yourself; make thirty or so middle-class college graduates rich beyond their wildest dreams, and see how they behave towards you. ®

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