In his new book, Pride Before the Fall, John Heilemann concludes that by the end of the Microsoft antitrust trial,
We were already witnessing the end of Microsoft as we’d known it. For three years, Gates and his company had been caught in a pincers. Pressing in from one side was a technological shift more sweeping than any since the rise of the PC: the Internet. And pressing in from the other was a menace more threatening than anything Microsoft had ever encountered in the world of business: the United States government.
What Heilemann couldn’t have known when he wrote this was that Microsoft was already developing a pincers movement of its own. Pressing in from one side is a just-announced co-venture with Unisys and Dell to develop computer technology to replace the old punch-card system that caused so much trouble in Florida this past November. And pressing in from the other is a just-announced co-venture with La-Z-Boy and Sony to create an “e-cliner” that allows you to surf the Web in maximum comfort. Henceforth, voters will be able to cast their ballots without even sitting up straight. We’ll (heh, heh) take care of the rest.