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News Schmooze: Microsoft wins case, goes back to being evil

The Beast of Redmond won on appeal, wireless companies banded together, Linux leaders raised their voices...

Microsoft did everything it could to prove it was a nice company after all -- Bill Gates adopted a family image, Smart Tags were dropped from Windows XP, and Microsoft even decided to port some of its .Net stuff to FreeBSD (though not to Linux). But now that Microsoft has got what it wanted -- a near-complete victory in the appeal of its antitrust case -- maybe we'll start seeing more of the old Microsoft, making it impossible for competitors to stay in business and squeezing more money out of consumers by causing their operating system to unexpectedly deactivate itself.

At least in the wireless world there is an alternative, with Sun and ARM getting together this week. There's only one problem with the notion of these two forming a "Wintel" of wireless, namely that Microsoft and Intel already have their heart set on that job.

As much as the Linux crowd might loathe and fear Bill Gates, there is one enemy that they despise more: a heretic within their own ranks. A couple of weeks ago Richard Stallman opined that Ransom Love of Caldera is "just a parasite", to which Love this week responded, "I am not a greedy capitalist. I am only a businessman." Which begs the question: what precisely is the difference?

Microsoft may be a monopoly, but at least it has a vested interest in people buying the latest technology. On this side of the pond, we have our own monopoly, BT, which seems intent on blocking technological progress for as long as possible, with particular attention to broadband and unbundling the local loop. The e-envoy started talking about lower broadband prices this week, and Oftel now seems about ready to pull out its big stick and gently prod BT into lowering ADSL wholesale fees and charges for access to local exchanges.

Douglas Alexander, the new e-commerce minister, put in his two pence by saying that BT and Oftel were doing a pretty good job and that things seemed to be OK.

In the mean time, BT was showing journos just how high-tech and cutting-edge it is with a tour around MIT's Media Lab. But, like the Soviet tour guides of old, they seem to have hidden the unsavoury elements out of sight -- in this case, all the machine-obsessed geeks, like these folks, or well-known ubergeek and MIT alumnus Steve Mann.

Oh, and BT also said they'd cut 2,000 jobs -- the Schmoozer presumes to help make up for all the money they'll lose by bringing the UK into 21st century.

The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.