This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.

M E D I A   U N S P U N
A week in the life of a colossus
By Keith Dawson
11 Jan 2002

Microsoft stands astride the software industry and its ambitions extend from the Internet to gaming, telephony, interactive TV, and beyond. A typical week brings hundreds of Microsoft stories. Here is a sampling from a week in which competitors and critics large and small targeted the colossus with everything from sticks and stones to cruise missiles.

A CNET story by Jim Hu outlined AOL's response to Microsoft's .Net Alerts, one of the first real user-visible features to emerge from Redmond's .Net initiative. Hu also nodded to AOL's involvement in the Liberty ALliance, a group formed to counter Microsoft's desire to push its Passport identity service to ubiquity.

The federal-state antitrust case against Microsoft lumbers on toward resolution. eWeek covered the judge's ruling denying Microsoft more time to counter the nine states that want to impose harsher sanctions than the feds settled for. Reporter Caron Carlson did yeoman work in demystifying the case's legal minutae.

Nando ran an AP story on Microsoft's plea to exclude journalists and the public from upcoming depositions in the penalty phase of its antitrust trial. The AP reporter, D. Ian Hopper, has been busy. Hopper also filed a piece, carried by the Washington Post, based on interviews with academic lawyers who believe Microsoft erred in not disclosing lobbying contacts with members of Congress.

On the other trial front, reported yesterday that a judge may rule as soon as today whether to accept Microsoft's settlement proposal in the class action suit against the company. The Reuters story concentrated on a west-coast angle, as California class-action lawyers are in the forefront of a vocal outcry against Microsoft's proposal.

ZDNet featured a Reuters story on Ralph Nader's latest sally against Microsoft. Nader wants the giant to begin paying stock dividends, claiming that the company's unprecedented $36 billion cash hoarde acts as a tax shelter for Microsoft executives, who hold 17% of the company's stock.

Finally, let's look at a Microsoft story in which the company's name was not mentioned. eWeek's Dennis Fisher noted a new report from the National Academy of Sciences that suggested the government hold software vendors liable for security snafus in their products. Fisher forbare to mention that in the realm of leaky software, Microsoft's name leads all the rest. - Keith Dawson

AOL's "Alerts" resembles .Net's beginnings

Judge Denies Microsoft Request to Delay Case

Microsoft seeks to keep journalists, public out of pretrial witness interviews

Ruling near on Microsoft class action settlement

Ralph Nader: MS is a huge tax dodge

Experts Question Microsoft Action

Study: Hold Vendors Liable for Security Breaches