Microsoft Antitrust Episode IV: A New Hope
Not long ago, in an economic monopoly far, far too large…
It is a period of economic war. Rebel software companies, realizing the hidden economic power of the Internet, have won their first victory against the evil Microsoft Empire.
During the battle, Rebel executives have managed to gather evidence against Microsoft's ultimate weapon, the Anti-Compet-itive Business Practice, an economic strategy with enough power to destroy an entire industry.
Persecuted by Microsoft's sinister founder, Bill Gates, Netscape CEO James Barksdale makes a desperate plea for help in an attempt to restore freedom to the economy…
INTERIOR: NETSCAPE EXECUTIVE HEADQUARTERS
Surrounded by the signs of his losing battle against the marketing power of Microsoft, JAMES BARKSDALE stands before the laptop computer at his desk. He records an indistinct message, looks in both directions, then crouches and pushes a button.
INTERIOR: OFFICES OF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE THOMAS PENFIELD JACKSON
Sitting alone at his computer, JUDGE THOMAS JACKSON is enthralled by the holographic image of JAMES BARKSDALE projected in miniature on his desk. Mr. BARKSDALE delivers a brief message before looking in both directions, crouching, disappearing, and doing it again.
(HOLOGRAPHIC) JAMES BARKSDALE: Help me Attorney Bill Clinton. You are my only hope…
JUDGE JACKSON: Who is he? He's beautiful.
INTERIOR: OVAL OFFICE
JUDGE JACKSON sits opposite PRESIDENT CLINTON. Both wear earth-toned robes.
JUDGE JACKSON: I got this email, but Windows Media would only play a part of the message. He said that he was looking for someone named Attorney Clinton. Is that you?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: That is a name I have not heard in a long time. Not since I was disbarred in Arkansas. Let's see if I can't get a little more of that message.
PRESIDENT CLINTON accesses the email and suddenly the hologram of JAMES BARKSDALE appears on the desk.
(HOLOGRAPHIC) JAMES BARKSDALE: Attorney Bill Clinton, years ago you advised my father in the Clone Corp. merger. Now we beg you to help us in our struggle against Microsoft. My company has fallen under attack. This is our most desperate hour. Help me Attorney Bill Clinton. You are our only hope.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: You will need to learn about computer technology if you are going to be able to defeat Bill Gates. He was seduced by the dark side of free market competitive strategy. And he killed your father. That may seem incidental right now, but it will make for an interesting plot twist when this all goes to trial. The first thing we are going to need is someone to pilot our legal strategy, and someone to navigate the difficult economic territory ahead of us. I think I know just the pair.
INTERIOR: WASHINGTON D.C. CANTINA
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Washington D.C. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
Enter the swaggering, cocky Assistant Attorney General JOEL KLEIN.
JOEL KLEIN: So I hear you need a pilot. I am about the best lead council around. If an anti-trust conviction is what you're after, I'm fast enough for you, old man.
JUDGE JACKSON: We don't need this guy, Bill. Why I bet I could out-lawyer him any day.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Remain calm, my young friend. We may give Mr. Klein ample opportunity to prove his skill before this is all over. Besides, unless I am mistaken, he is not the only member of our legal team.
JOEL KLEIN: That's right. Let me introduce you to my legal navigator Janet Reno.
A seven-foot tall, very shaggy JANET RENO enters and gives a guttural cry.
JOEL KLEIN: I wouldn't recommend beating Janet in a legal battle.
JUDGE JACKSON: Why not? People beat me in legal battles all the time.
JOEL KLEIN: Yeah, but you don't rip people's arms off when you lose.
JANET RENO gives another roar.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Good. I think that we are ready.
INTERIOR: A HOLDING CELL IN THE MICROSOFT CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
BILL GATES: Tell me Mr. Barksdale, what are the plans of the Rebel software companies?
JAMES BARKSDALE: You'll never get away with this Lord Gates. The more you tighten your grip, the more linux users will slip through your fingers.
BILL GATES: I find your lack of faith disturbing. I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony that will make our Anti-Competitive Business Practice operational. Enact the plan to include our internet browser with the sale of all Windows 2000 operating systems.
JAMES BARKSDALE: No, you can't! Netscape is a peaceful company. We have never done you any harm! Please, Lord Gates.
BILL GATES: Continue with the operation. You may fire when ready.
EXTERIOR: THE WHITE HOUSE PARKING LOT
JOEL KLEIN, JANET RENO, JUDGE JACKSON, and BILL CLINTON approach JOEL KLEIN's automobile, a 1963 Ford Falcon, when BILL CLINTON suddenly stumbles and has to sit down.
JUDGE JACKSON: Are you all right? What's wrong?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I felt a great disturbance in the economy. As if thousands of internet software companies cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
INTERIOR: FEDERAL COURTHOUSE
A legal aide for Microsoft leans over to Microsoft Head Council JOHN WARDEN and whispers.
AIDE: We have analyzed the Rebel prosecution, sir, and have detected the slight possibility of a break-up. Should we prepare your office for a settlement?
JOHN WARDEN: Settle? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!
Close-up shot of JUDGE JACKSON as he is about to strike the death-blow against Microsoft's greatest weapon, the Anti-Competitive Business Practice. As he tries to steel his nerves, the ethereal voice of PRESIDENT CLINTON can be heard.
(V.O.) PRESIDENT CLINTON: Use the antitrust precedents, Thomas.
JUDGE JACKSON exhales slowly before turning off his targeting computer and looking up at the courtroom.
JUDGE JACKSON: These cases are before the Court for disposition of the sole matter presently remaining for decision by the trial court, namely, entry of appropriate relief for the violations of the Sherman Act… (fade out)
INTERIOR: FEDERAL COURTHOUSE
A jubilant scene in the courthouse as the verdict is announced and the fully armed and operational Anti-Competitive Business Practice is destroyed forever.
JAMES BARKSDALE: He did it!
An ecstatic JANET RENO throws both hairy arms triumphantly in the air and lets out a joyful bellow.