Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
World War 3.0 : Microsoft and Its Enemies Hardcover – January 9, 2001
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Library Journal
Auletta, communications columnist for The New Yorker, recounts the real trial of the century, which he covered from the beginning.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"It is hard to imagine a more absorbing account of Microsoft's marathon battle with the U.S. government and its legions of tenacious rivals. In prose that is at once deft, lucid, and knowing, Ken Auletta unravels the mysteries of antitrust law, as well as the arcana of computers and the Internet, with magisterial ease. Who else could have packed so much information between two covers and yet made the narrative so fluent and compelling? Best of all, the book is liberally sprinkled with memorable portraits of the protagonists, ranging from the amazingly shrewd David Boies to the doughty Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. And the portrait of Bill Gates-brilliant and visionary, but also mercurial, immature, and ultimately self-destructive-takes on a tragic aura that no reader will forget. This book is a gripping courtroom drama, an elegy for Microsoft's warrior culture, and mandatory reading for anyone interested in the future of the Information Age."
-Ron Chernow, author of Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
"With assurance and skill, Ken Auletta weaves complex economic, legal, and technological ideas into a most compelling story. As in all fine courtroom dramas, the book's hallmark is its vivid delineation of the character of the protagonists. To transform a complex antitrust case into such a gripping narrative is an impressive accomplishment."
-Richard C. Levin, Beinecke Professor of Economics and president, Yale University
"This is Ken Auletta's best book. It works on several levels. First, it's a dramatic page-turner. Second, it's the definitive but plain-English treatment of an issue that is as important as it is complicated: the historic Microsoft trial, the struggle among corporate giants to control the new economy, and the question of whether government should be a spectator or referee. Third, it's a model of fair-minded yet take-no-prisoners reporting that is packed with revelations. Beyond all that, it's a primer for every lawyer and would-be lawyer in America-a reminder that legal scholarship is no substitute for common sense."
-Steven Brill, founder, Court TV, The American Lawyer, Brill's Content, and Contentville
"The Microsoft case is the most important legal dispute of this century or the last. Ken Auletta has done something extraordinary in making its significance sing. His book is a perfect integration of the legal and the business drama at the heart of the case. His insights are relevant not just to the narrow field of antitrust but to democracy in a technology-governed world in general, and to the struggles that will define the coming decades."
-Lawrence Lessig, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
"A highly compelling account of the extraordinary trial that challenged the invincibility of the world's most powerful corporation. Auletta reveals the personalities behind the headlines and brings into sharp focus the very human qualities that have made Microsoft so powerful-and so vulnerable."
-Kim Polese, chairman and chief strategy officer, Marimba, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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!).
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.
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!