7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It ain't over till it's over-MSFT vs US in exquisite detail
Just when we were waiting for Microsoft to meekly split itself based on the outcome of the first landmark court decision, it looks like the software giant is racking up the points in what may be the most exciting appeals case in US history.
World War 3.0 couldn't have come at a better time. This book goes into background about Internet browsers, the internet itself and...
Published on March 10, 2001 by Joanna Daneman
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Balanced but ultimately misses the point
Ken Auletta is an excellent reporter, and here was able to obtain amazing access to the district court judge in the Microsoft case. Indeed, Judge Jackson gave long interviews with Mr. Auletta based on the judge's personal notes, and later was blasted by all of the Appeals Court judges for allowing this kind of access.
Mr. Auletta is generally very fair in recounting...
Published on June 2, 2001
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It ain't over till it's over-MSFT vs US in exquisite detail,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)Just when we were waiting for Microsoft to meekly split itself based on the outcome of the first landmark court decision, it looks like the software giant is racking up the points in what may be the most exciting appeals case in US history.
World War 3.0 couldn't have come at a better time. This book goes into background about Internet browsers, the internet itself and computer operating systems, a key point in the anti-trust lawsuit. And it does an equally thorough job of informing the reader about US anti-trust law. These details are essential to understanding the case against Microsoft, and they are presented here in a way that is detailed yet completely comprehensible.
This would be dry reading indeed if there were not also vivid descriptions of the players; Bill Gates, brilliant, visionary,self-absorbed and completely ill-equipped to play the high-stakes game of personality; the prosecutor, who has gotten himself the case of a lifetime and Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, traditional and sober judge. What is surprising is how much Judge Jackson reveals in this book, as judges are notoriously close-mouthed.
The appeals process is now underway and it ain't over till it's over. If you want to be informed on a case that will literally affect the future of technology, it's well worth reading World War 3.0.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than the trial,
By A Customer
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)Dazzling -- the whole "new economy" landscape is made clear, and all the big players and their competing visions for the future are explained, but the great thng is that the author has worked in all his big-picture analysis so that it hangs off of the book's storyline, the courtroom drama. It's unbelievable how indiscreet some of the people talking to him were -- especially Judge Jackson.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and insightful.,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)I purchased this title on a whim. Although I followed "the trial" as it was being reported in the media I did not find the proceedings, as they were described in the press, to be that interesting. I also knew that whatever happened, this case would be appealed and last for several more years. Consequently, I did not have high expectations for this book. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book was much more interesting and insightful that I had imagined. Auletta does an excellent job of describing the background, tactics, technical issues, personalities, and legal issues that surrounded this trial. Unlike other reports on the trial, he did not just encapsulate the events that took place in the courtroom. Instead, he spent considerable effort to research, then explain, events that went on behind the scenes - before, during, and after the trial.
The spin that was often portrayed in the media was that Microsoft was being victimized or punished just for being successful. The Microsoft media machine did an excellent job of promoting this view either through tactics such as full-page ads in newspapers or Gate's (and others) frequent appearances on television. While I have never been a big fan of Microsoft, part of me started to believe them. After reading this book however, any sympathy that I had for Microsoft, as it relates to the trial, has been erased. Auletta's recounting of the trial makes it clear that they used their monopolistic power to attempt to control or quash any company that threatened the market dominance of any of their core products. In short, they were unwilling to "play fair" and let the best products win in the marketplace.
Some members of the media portrayed Judge Jackson as someone that may have had a grudge against Microsoft. The facts imply that he started out with the fairly impartial attitude. It was Microsoft's frequent and blatant deception, and their inability to any admit guilt even when such guilt was proven, that frustrated the judge. This frustration was evident in some of the language that he used when he wrote his final opinions and findings.
If you have an interest in technology, business, or just like a good courtroom drama, then I think that you will enjoy this selection. It is insightful and written in style that holds your attention.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Balanced but ultimately misses the point,
By A Customer
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)Ken Auletta is an excellent reporter, and here was able to obtain amazing access to the district court judge in the Microsoft case. Indeed, Judge Jackson gave long interviews with Mr. Auletta based on the judge's personal notes, and later was blasted by all of the Appeals Court judges for allowing this kind of access.
Mr. Auletta is generally very fair in recounting the events of the Microsoft trial, but he also is not a programmer and not a lawyer and not a business strategist and it shows. His grasp of some of the fundamental legal issues at stake is rather poor, and his failure to predict the reasoning of the eminently predictable appeals court (which had already ruled in favor of Microsoft) is a big problem with this book.
Part of the problem is that Mr. Auletta reported only on what he saw, and Microsoft to a large extent wasn't bothering to convince the district court judge of their case (they already felt they'd lose despite Judge Jackson's protests that he was impartial). Microsoft instead focused on setting up the right arguments to later win at the appellate level, which it now looks like they will do.
Mr. Auletta, for all his excellent reporting, ultimately misses Microsoft's deeper game plan, despite noting that the reason Microsoft hired the lawyers that it did was that they previously had one a large reversal at the appellate level for Kodak. He should have looked a bit further into the story, and paid less attention to the (albeit amusing) theatrics of the district court.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)Although a paranoid, childish and somewhat sniveling Bill Gates is the undoubted antagonist in author Ken Auletta's gripping account of the U.S. government's escalating war against Microsoft, it's tough to find the good guys. By detailing the legal maneuverings of Microsoft's competitors, which in large part spurred the government to action, Auletta pierces some of the innocent-victim personas adopted by the likes of Sun CEO Scott McNealy and others. But the author's treatment of Gates and his Microsoft colleagues is merciless, and in this honest portrait Auletta illustrates how the company's own arrogance brought on its legal woes. News junkies may find the broad outlines of the case familiar, but Auletta uses his readable style to delve into the major personalities and their motivations. We [...] like the way he makes even legal, technological details interesting to the general reader and fascinating to fans of corporate war stories. Read this book before catching the gripping sequel - playing now in U.S. Federal Court - in which Microsoft lands a critical counter-punch.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced report of the Microsoft Trial,
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This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)[Disclosure: I am a Microsoft employee]
I found this book to be very balanced (though far from always flattering to Microsoft). Both sides take their licks at the hands of Mr. Auletta. Though I was paying moderately close attention during the course of the trial, this book pulls the events into perspective and shows how each side was approaching the case. As to the timing of this book release, the war is not yet over...but we do have a decent amount of perspective from the case since the trial and settlement negotiations were substatially complete in April 2000.
The best part of the book is Chapter 21. Here, is much new material on what it was that Microsoft and the US goverment were able to agree to in a negotiated settlement. We get a picture of Microsoft, not agreeing that we broke the law, but willing to compromise and agree to behavioral remedies that would have given competitors assurances of access to Windows technology and freedom from retaliation. But Joel Klein failed in bringing the States into the negotiation process and was unable to form a concensus opinion about what it was the government(s) wanted from the case. And so an opportunity to close this conflict was missed....at an expense of millions of tax dollars, perhaps 100 million expense to MS, and helping to precipitate the stock market downslide of technology stocks in the spring of 2000 (thanks, Joel Klein and Janet Reno!).
4.0 out of 5 stars Lively court room drama - and with hindsight instructive on how industries can change,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)This book from Ken Auletta was written on the famous anti-monopoly case of the US government vs Microsoft. It gives a detailled and broad overview of this intriguing conflict.
I liked the compelling story-line and the sometimes amusing overview of the theatrics of this major court case. The picture one has of Microsoft and Bill Gates after reading this book is not so positive - and somehow I miss a touch of relativation and objectivity here.
It was probably as much fun to read the book today then it was in 2001. Hindsight adds a special layer of meaning to the happenings in the court case and the industry. It plays in 2001, and talks all about AOL and Netscape. It is striking with today's knowledge most that Google is not mentioned in it once.
Interesting though is the reference to Microsoft's fear that Netscape will make the browser the dominating user environment and make the operating system irrelevant. Hey - didn't I read this in another book "What would Google do?" So it seems Microsoft's vision and fear has come true to some part after all - but in a different gestalt.
4.0 out of 5 stars A very well documented book...,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)...and you don't really have to be a geek to read this one. As a matter of fact, this book is also a very entertaining one, even if you're not a programmer or a computer scientist.
Mr Auletta enjoyed an almost total access to court documents, and he even managed to get Judge Jackson to agree to be interviewed by him before he rendered his judgement, and later on his decision on what became the most important legal dispute of the last century. He raises some very important questions, a few of them being crucial, like: How do you distinguish between business hardball and illegal coercive methods? Is Microsoft a monopoly? If so, the law treats the company differently. But the most crucial of all questions is: Was there consumer harm? I guess these are the questions that leave much room for interpretation and controversy. It would appear that Microsoft did not milk customers by charging steep prices, although one might argue that this was because they sacrificed price to create an applications barrier to entry that would perpetuate their monopoly.
The concepts of Sherman and Clayton acts have not changed, but what has changed over the years is that the courts insist more on evidence of consumer harm and are inclined to allow the marketplace to correct imbalances rather than the government. And by now, at the end of 2005 it would appear that the marketplace has rendered its judgement. Among many other things, the Microsoft stock has moved sideways for the last four, five years.
All in all, "World War 3.0" is a very good account of this extraordinary trial, written in plain english, perfectly integrating the legal and the business drama at the core issues of this case. Besides, Mr Auletta offers memorable portraits of the main protagonists, ranging from Mr Gates and some of his lawyers to Judge Jackson, Mr Boies and Mr Klein.
I liked the part where Mr Gates is portrayed as being more a businessman (although a brilliant one) rather than a seer, since Microsoft has always been famous for popularizing the inventions of others rather than innovating. Many economists and businessmen think Microsoft is a great marketing company, but not a great technology one. After all, Mr Gates himself has many a time acknowledged that Microsoft's great successes - DOS, the graphical user interface, Windows - have all been clones. Among many business, technology and legal issues or concepts analyzed in this book, one of the parts I liked the most is when the author likens Mr Gates to Bing Crosby, who throughout his carreer borrowed a tune here and a tune there, got his marketing machine running, thus turning those tunes to instant hits. Few other critics could have put it better!
3.0 out of 5 stars I hope that there is a 3.1 version,
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)Having just read the book this summer (2004), much of the content that predicts the future points to current day reality. This only goes to show that both the visions of the future are never what is hoped for, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This book does seem somewhat rushed in the final 1/3, and it ends more on a whimper than a bang. This is so much a 'Round 1' reporting, with obvious need for either a follow-up account of what has transpired since then, or at least some explination as to what happened. Ah to be focused on mean old Bill rather than dictators and terrorists on the other side of the planet. It seems as if 9/11 tore this case from the front-pages of the world's newspapers, banishing it to irrevelance in light of daily body-counts. We need an upgrade to this story - Mr. Auletta, please update us!
I want to know more. I wish there was a version 3.1.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent look behind the scenes of the case, MS & the DOJ,
By A Customer
This review is from: World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies (Hardcover)There are no press releases in this book, no spin by the local media and no facades maintained for the public. Ken Auletta exposes this case for what it is, even if he gets some of the details wrong in the process. There are no heroes and no villains, though there is a distinct slant against Microsoft and its top brass (Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer). Even so, Auletta doesn't paint a rosy picture of the other parties involved either. Overall, I would have to say it's about as impartial as one could be.
As I read this book, I found myself flip-flopping back and forth between who I thought was right and who was wrong. In the end it was apparent to me that Microsoft was most likely guilty of some unfair business practices, namely denying computer manufacturers (OEMs) the right to put competitive software on computers with Windows software. But the case mutated away from that point to whether or not Microsoft has the right to add functionality to its operating system. Where this whole saga will end (if ever) is anyone's guess.
All in all, this is a good book to get an overview of the case and the people involved.
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World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies by Ken Auletta (Hardcover - January 9, 2001)
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