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The Best Coverage of the Microsoft Trial

By Matt Richey (TMF Verve)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 8, 1999) -- Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) shares traded five times normal volume today amid the aftermath of U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's sternly worded "findings of fact," released Friday evening after market close. Shares opened down more than 7%, but moved higher during the day and ended up closing down only 1.8% at $89 15/16.

The landmark antitrust trial raises a plethora of complex issues -- legal questions, technology considerations, and economic ramifications. With all these dynamics at play, how's a Fool to make sense of it all? Tonight, instead of adding my Microsoft trial opinion to the heap that are already out there, allow me to direct you to the most intelligent trial analysis on the Internet: the Fool's Microsoft Message Folder.

In the past four days, there have been more than 1000 posts to the Microsoft board. I know what you're thinking -- "I don't have time to sort through hundreds of posts to find the few gems that are out there." Exactly. But now that the Fool message boards allow users to "recommend" posts, it's possible to sort a board by most recommended posts, and thereby get a succinct list of the best content on the board.

It's an easy two-step process:

  1. Click the "messages" tab up top, or alternatively dial into boards.fool.com.

  2. Near the top of the page, directly below the Jester logo, you'll see text that reads, "Show me the top ___ posts in All Folders or _____ ticker." All you do is fill in "MSFT" in the ticker field, and then click "GO."

Voila! Now you're looking at the best coverage of the Microsoft trial, as democratically chosen by your fellow Fools. Below are a few of the more outstanding excepts from the most recommended Microsoft posts:

"The various high-tech industries now amount to 25% of GDP, so the government must intervene to protect our economy. Well, with any luck that 25% can be reduced to 1% after just a few years of "Micro" management by Jackson and other anointed persons. Antitrust is much more subjective than other areas of law, and decisions are colored by one's political biases and attitudes toward capitalism in general. To a redistributionist, any business that leaves its competitors in the dust has ipso facto gained an unfair advantage." - wranderson1

"We are fortunate that our country has such a commanding lead in technology. I would go as far as to say we are the envy of the world. In the technology world Microsoft is King. This success was accomplished in a very short period of time (25 years). It should be noted that Microsoft was created during a time the DOJ declared competition with IBM was impossible. (That same IBM monopoly is now a poor victim of Microsoft per the judge). Microsoft did not inherit this position nor did the government give it to them. They will give up the monarchy when a better and faster competitor displaces them, quietly and peacefully losing the right to the throne. (That's how it's supposed to work!)" - SmokingGun

"Before the DOJ escorts me into the new government approved software Valhalla, I'd like to personally thank Microsoft for a few things. First, as someone who worked in the software industry throughout the 1980s and 1990s, I want to thank MSFT for making my job easier and more rewarding. Before Microsoft, most software companies acted like adolescent rock bands. Everyone was into 'their own thing.' Each application had a special artistic license to innovate (like making me have to remember that I must press HOME HOME UP to move the cursor to the top of the page)." - fdavismobile

"The Microsoft battle is for the heart and soul of free enterprise. Many are not comfortable with the ambiguity of the word, 'monopoly' as it is being used in this context. What then? Is the only Dunkin' Donut shop in a small town then guilty of being a monopoly based on market share? Or are we entering into a new era of political correctness aimed at the marketplace where companies must not only allow but support the efforts of those who compete against them?" - ClarkSavageJr

"So Brad Chase Stated that he wanted to make the use of any browser other than Internet Explorer on Windows 'a jolting experience.' BIG DEAL! To me this means that Microsoft is a fierce competitor. Anybody in business wants to win and winning comes at the expense of somebody losing. I don't see where this one statement supports anything other than what I already knew. Microsoft plays to win. I hope that the company I work for plays to win so that I have a job in five years." - dntprice

"So, a couple of whiny competitors claim that Microsoft is 'not playing fair' (what a laugh) and throw 'monopoly' around. The feds see an opportunity to grab $10 or $20 billion in fines (my guess) from Microsoft and decide to roll the dice -- what the hell, it's just taxpayer money anyway. They hire a consultant lawyer who ultimately won the day for them (call him a federally sponsored mercenary). Now, what does a win mean? Well, a big pay day for the feds in the form of extortion payments, err fines. And higher prices of course -- Microsoft, as the cigarette producers, will pass the cost of this along to the consumers (great job DOJ!) It will not have much choice." - GlassArtisan

"The fact that this DOJ group keeps being beaten in the appeals court tells you that they are not upholding the law but abusing it. Lesser companies are being destroyed by this government while we speak. Tobacco, which incidentally was given to us by the Indians (without appropriate health warnings, but who's suing them?), has demonstrated that if you capitulate to the government they keep coming back for more and more. The case of Dow Corning defies belief. Not one scrap of scientific evidence linked silicon to health related issues, yet they capitulated and look at them today." - ClarkSavageJr

"I, for one, can hardly imagine more ado about nothing. Microsoft found to be a monopoly?!? Yes, and the Pope's Catholic. What are you gonna do? Make them stop making Windows? Office? Make people buy Lotus? Or, like the Bells, maybe we can split Microsoft into four-odd separate monopolies? What can they do to hurt Microsoft, to make it worth less as a holding? Nothing I can think of, within constitutional bounds. I will be interested, however, to see what they try. Klein is a very intelligent man (Microsoft should hire him). Let's see how creative he is." - Glaukon

"The next time you shop for a computer imagine trying to choose between different flavors of Windows, trying to decide who makes the most software to run on that computer, and will it be compatible with your hardware, and computer at work. You'll probably choose the standard. And if you notice, consumers have already done this, and it's Windows. In the age of the Internet it may not always be so, but I certainly don't need the government forcing choices on me that I've already made." - AsUWish

"It has always seemed to me that The Motley Fool promotes rational investigation and discussion. The major enemies of stock market profits are: Fear & Greed. You can read that as EMOTIONS. If you can take these emotions out of the DOJ/Microsoft conflict, what is left? A powerful company with an enormously popular product. Will any of the things the judge could order cause this to change? Perhaps, but we don't know what those changes will be, or the future results. They could be better for the shareholders of Microsoft, and the public!!! That is you and me. Relax. Aren't you all Buy and Hold stock owners as recommended and promoted by The Motley Fool???" - JohnWKelley

For one-stop Microsoft coverage, click here. You'll get the complete case filings, the reaction from CEO Bill Gates, and the place to sound off in this week's poll.

Finally, before clicking out of Fooldom tonight, be sure to play with the Fool's most recommended posts feature. You can sort by a variety of means, including individual boards, your favorite boards, or for varying periods of time. To access this feature, click the "Messages" tab at the top of this page, followed by the "Best of" sub-tab, and then the "Recommended Posts" link on the left side of the page. Alternatively, follow this link: Most Recommended Posts. The best of Fooldom awaits.

Have a great night!

What do you think?
Come post your thoughts about tonight's report on our Rule Maker Strategy board. Alternatively, if you have ideas, analysis, or questions about a particular Rule Maker company, take a seat at the roundtable discussion on our Rule Maker Companies board. Finally, if you're new to all this stuff, the Rule Maker Beginners board is the place to get your questions answered.


 




Rule Maker Portfolio

11/8/99 Closing Numbers
Ticker Company Dly Pr Chg Price
AXPAMER EXPRESS-2 13/16$146.94
CHVCHEVRON CORP7/8$89.38
CSCOCISCO SYSTEMS7/8$75.31
DPHDELPHI AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMSUnch.$15.81
EKEASTMAN KODAK-1/4$68.44
GMGENL MOTORS11/16$69.06
GPSGAP INC-11/16$32.06
INTCINTEL CORP-1/4$82.13
KOCOCA-COLA CO11/16$58.81
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP-1 5/8$89.94
PFEPFIZER, INC5/8$35.38
SGPSCHERING-PLOUGH-7/8$55.81
TROWT.ROWE PRICE ASSOC3/8$37.75
XONEXXON CORP11/16$74.31
YHOOYAHOO INC13 3/4$197.19

  Day Week Month Year
To Date
Since
2/2/98
Annualized
Rule Maker .83% .83% -.00% 16.38% 44.91% 23.37%
S&P 500 .49% .49% 1.03% 12.02% 40.47% 21.22%
S&P 500(DA) .49% .49% 1.03% 12.60% 42.24% 22.08%
S&P 500(DCA) n/a n/a n/a n/a 26.03% 14.00%
NASDAQ 1.34% 1.34% 5.98% 43.38% 94.15% 45.60%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost/Share Price LT % Val Chg
6/23/9875CSCO32.865$75.31129.16%
2/3/9859MSFT49.352$89.9482.24%
2/13/9859INTC50.624$82.1362.23%
2/17/9916YHOO126.309$197.1956.11%
5/26/9818AXP104.067$146.9441.20%
5/1/9882GPS22.708$32.0641.19%
2/3/9866PFE27.433$35.3828.95%
8/21/9844SGP47.993$55.8116.29%
3/12/9820XON64.335$74.3115.51%
3/12/9817GM60.399$69.0614.34%
2/3/9856TROW33.673$37.7512.11%
3/12/9820EK63.148$68.448.38%
3/12/9815CHV83.343$89.387.24%
3/12/9811DPH17.202$15.81-8.08%
2/27/9827KO69.107$58.81-14.90%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost Value LT $ Val Ch
6/23/9875CSCO$2,464.86$5,648.44$3,183.58
2/3/9859MSFT$2,911.79$5,306.31$2,394.52
2/13/9859INTC$2,986.79$4,845.38$1,858.59
2/17/9916YHOO$2,020.95$3,155.00$1,134.05
5/26/9818AXP$1,873.20$2,644.88$771.68
5/1/9882GPS$1,862.06$2,629.13$767.06
2/3/9866PFE$1,810.58$2,334.75$524.18
8/21/9844SGP$2,111.70$2,455.75$344.05
2/3/9856TROW$1,885.70$2,114.00$228.30
3/12/9820XON$1,286.70$1,486.25$199.55
3/12/9817GM$1,026.78$1,174.06$147.29
3/12/9820EK$1,262.95$1,368.75$105.80
3/12/9815CHV$1,250.14$1,340.63$90.49
3/12/9811DPH$189.22$173.94($15.28)
2/27/9827KO$1,865.89$1,587.94($277.95)
  Cash: $135.63  
  Total: $38,400.82  


Notes
The Rule Maker Portfolio began with $20,000 on February 2, 1998, and it added $2,000 in August 1998 and February 1999. Beginning in July 1999, $500 in cash (which is soon invested in stocks) is added every month.