THE WEEK BEGAN with a bang and ended with a bear. The explosion was the sound of the Justice Departmentís first salvo against Microsoftís mighty monopoly. As Janet Reno and her trusty second-in-command Joel Klein stormed the ramparts of Redmond in search of the secrets of Internet Explorer 4, their mightiest weapon was the threat of a million-dollar-a-day fine if Bill Gates didnít play nice.
Was the Generalissimo worried? Gates said nothing, but perhaps his reply should have been along the lines of the famous newspaper scene in Citizen Kane: ďThatís right, Ms. Reno. I lost a million dollars today. I expect to lose a million dollars tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that. You know, at a million dollars a day, Iíll have to close Microsoft in ... three hundred thousand years.Ē
Tigers sneeze, Eagle catches cold
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world: There were rumblings in Asia, and it had nothing to do with the dim sum. While Wall Street paraded record profits, in Hong Kong the sky was falling. Efforts to prop up the currency rocked the Hang Seng index, and the effect was more catastrophic than any galactic collision. By Friday, the Dow was as bitten as a Marv Albert chew-toy. Looks like George Soros has a lot more to answer for.