He couldn't have been a better gangster if he'd worn spats and carried a violin case. Steve "Monkey Boy" Ballmer was out talking to the East Side gangs, and they'd better listen. They'd better listen good.
"Nice operating system you got here," he said, running his kidskin-gloved finger around the whorls of the carved jade penguin. "Very nice. Be a shame if anything happened to it."
The East Side leaders looked on impassively. They'd seen worse.
"News reaches me and my friends that you lot have been gettin' together. What happened? The Beijing Boys, the Tokyo Jokers and the Seoul Brothers – youz like cats and dogs. Now you're makin' pally, workin' on this Linux crap. Co. Operating. Windows not good enough for you creeps?"
"Open source is more secure. It costs less. We can do more with it," said the smallest of the East Siders.
"Secure? Secure? I'll tell you what's secure. We are secure. We fix stuff. You don't know where that open-source dirt comes from..."
"It says the author name on each module, Steve," said the smallest leader, mildly.
Monkey Boy was getting overexcited again. "Don' give me that! Look, wi' us you know what you're getting. If you don'..."
"Patents. You hear me? Someone's gonna get angry wi' you."
"You're going to send the boys round, Steve? We're your best friends."
"I didn't say that. Did I say that? I didn't say that. Look, you keep takin' the Windows and we'll see you right."
The smallest leader leaned forward. "Perhaps we will, Steve. Now, if you've got something you'd like to show us? Longhorn, perhaps?"
There was a ripping sound, as if someone had tried to slam an oriental paper screen door, and the East Siders were suddenly alone.
"Software patents," sighed the tallest leader. "Tell me, do we even have them over here?"
"No," said the smallest one. "But we are funding the American deficit. Nice economy they've got there..."
"... be a shame if anything happened to it," finished the tallest one.
A stray beam of sunlight caught the placid face of the jade penguin. For an instant, it might almost have been smiling.