IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

My friends in the newspaper business have been coming back from trips to Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, in terror. There is no hope for us, my pals say. Already Bill Gates has sent out advance teams to hover like those spaceships in Independence Day over 10 major U.S. cities. In each, Microsoft Network (MSN) employees are setting up regional Websites that will publish local listings of movies, concerts, restaurant reviews and so forth, draining readers and ads from the local newspapers and eventually turning them into dust. Two dozen other glitzy programs, some suspiciously magazine-like, will finish off the rest of...

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