Joe Nocera’s Microsoft Trial Coverage

I have a column in the January-February Atlantic on the tendency toward monopoly of Internet businesses. The initial inspiration came from an executive education class that a bunch of us Harvard Business Publishing managers took at HBS in the fall. Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Bharat Anand taught us about modern media business models, and I was struck by how many of the terms and concepts they were using reminded me of the Microsoft trial 15 years ago.

Once I started working on the piece, I needed a refresher on the trial, and while I briefly thought about checking Ken Auletta’s book out of the library, I remembered liking Joe Nocera’s trial coverage in Fortune much more than Auletta’s in The New Yorker (Joe’s my friend, and I worked at Fortune at the time, so I’m biased, but his articles were better). So I went to and dug up the full collection. And now that I’ve gone to all that effort, I figured I should share. For any future students of the Microsoft trial, this is your one-stop Nocera shop (that is, until CNNMoney or Time Inc. goes and changes all the URLs) (Update: with Fortune and CNN no longer part of the same company, the URLs did in fact all change. The old URLs are, impressively enough, all redirecting to the new ones for now, but just in case I updated everything):

Microsoft Goes to Court Big Question: What If They Lose? Oct. 26, 1998

High Noon: Both sides came out with lawyers blazing as federal antitrust chief Joel Klein’s prosecutors went gunning for the Bill Gates gang. Behind the scenes at the Microsoft trial, Nov. 23, 1998

His Own Worst Enemy: Bill Gates flops on video. The judge rebukes a Microsoft lawyer. An Intel exec testifies for the feds. In round two of our coverage of U.S. v. Microsoft, software’s heavyweight takes it on the chin, Dec. 7, 1998

Spin City: As the Microsoft trial proceeds, the appearance of truth is becoming as important as the truth itself. At least, that’s what the spinmeisters for both sides seem to believe, Dec. 21, 1998

The Empire Strikes Back: As the antitrust trial slogged into the holidays, Microsoft and its CEO tried to make nice and plead their case to the press. But something didn’t quite ring true, Jan. 11, 1999

Muddied, But Unbowed: After three months of testimony, the government closed its antitrust case with two witnesses, one powerful, one pathetic. As Microsoft emerges to present its defense, one thing is clear: Gates & Co. have been embarrassed, but the government has not landed a knockout blow, Feb. 1, 1999

Hang-’em-High’ Boies: The government’s lawyer says he’s not a showman, but he’s putting on some performance, February 15, 1999

Witnesses in Wonderland: On trial in Washington, Microsoft saw its witnesses get skewered, its video crash, and its prospects for victory take a serious turn for the worse, March 1, 1999

Let’s Go To The Videotape: Armed with dueling tapes, the government and Microsoft quibbled over download times and modem speeds. Thanks to one strong witness, the software giant actually turned this sideshow into a moral victory — but was it too little, too late? March 15, 1999

Is Boies’ Paper Trail Microsoft’s Burial Ground? As the trial headed into a recess, Microsoft had one foot in the grave — thanks mostly to its own witnesses and its own documents, March 29, 1999

Microsoft And Me: With the trial on hold, talk of a settlement emerges. Our diarist heads to Redmond to see if the defendant really has compromise in mind, April 26, 1999

Microsoft Tries To Crack AOL’s Case: With the trial set to resume, our diarist returns to check in on a key deposition, and finds that Microsoft is still…well, Microsoft, June 21, 1999

The Big Blue Diaries As the trial resumed, the government produced a Microsoft competitor with a telltale journal. But did the evidence show a crime? July 5, 1999

Curtain Call: In the last act of the antitrust trial, Microsoft made another dogged attempt to plead its case. But the judge was obviously unmoved, July 19, 1999

Microsoft’s Trials: Thou Shalt Not Lie, Dec. 6, 1999


Inside the Minds of Joel Klein and Bill Gates, May 1, 2000

I Remember Microsoft: Once computing’s red-hot center, Microsoft now has a tough time retaining its best and brightest employees. Here, some who left reflect on what they learned–and why they find life on the outside so much more alluring, July 10, 2000 (special bonus: current People magazine movie critic Alynda Wheat was the reporter/fact-checker on this one)