June 2, 2004

Judge deals MS a mortal blow in Linspire case

Author: Joe Barr

In a startling turn of events in a court far, far away (as far away as Microsoft found it necessary to go while shopping for a friendly judge), Microsoft's latest demands on Linspire, né LindowsOS, have not just been rejected by the judge, but the behemoth monopoly has been ordered to reimburse Linspire for its trouble. The sum of the penalty Microsoft must pay? A staggering 944 euros.

For those of you who don't speak euro, 944 euros translates to $1,152.43 at the moment.

It's unknown at press time if Microsoft will have to go to BayStar Capital, or the Royal Bank of Canada, or perhaps to SCO itself for the cash. Microsoft's profits, although tied to the sale of PCs around the world and never at risk to competitive platforms, have not been growing as fast as those Excel spreadsheets in Redmond would have liked the past few years.

Angry and redfaced, CEO Steve Ballmer has been heard whining about the fact that Microsoft hasn't gotten any secret multi-billion-dollar, no-bid deals from the White House, like certain oil-industry firms notorious for overcharging American taxpayers have. He must really be fuming over this newest financial hardship.

To further redden Ballmer's complexion, Linspire CEO Michael Robertson announced today in his weekly newsletter that he doesn't want Microsoft's money: instead, he simply wants the opportunity to compete fairly. He wants shelter from legal murder and mayhem for himself, his business associates, and those in the distribution channel who dare to work with him -- in short, from the business practices that have made Microsoft the most despised firm on the planet (except possibly for SCO).

Sources say that Bill Gates has been suffering from the strain of having lost every major test to date in his U.S. lawsuit against Linspire for using words he likes to pretend he owns, and having to chase the rising sun across the big pond looking for friendlier courts has been brutal on him.

In appreciation of the depleted state of Redmond's fortunes, we here at NewsForge.com would like to initiate a Bill Gates Salvation Fund which can be used to offset the enormity of the judgment against him in The Netherlands. Cash only, please, in care of me.


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