The Internet Revolution, like all great industrial changes, has made
the world’s elephantine media companies tremble that their competitors—whether
small and nimble mice or fellow elephants—will get to new terrain first and
seize its commanding heights. In a climate in which fear and insecurity are
considered healthy emotions, corporate violence becomes commonplace. In the
blink of an eye-or the time it has taken slogans such as “The Internet changes
everything” to go from hyperbole to banality—“creative destruction” has wracked
the global economy on an epic scale.
No one has been more powerful or felt more fear or reacted more
violently than Bill Gates and Microsoft. Afraid that any number of competitors
might outflank them—whether Netscape or Sony or AOL Time Warner or Sun or
AT&T or Linux-based companies that champion the open-source movement or
some college student hacking in his dorm room—Microsoft has waged holy war on
all foes, leveraging its imposing strengths.
In World War 3.0, Ken Auletta chronicles this fierce conflict
from the vantage of its most important theater of operations: the devastating
second front opened up against Bill Gates’s empire by the United States
government. The book’s narrative spine is United States v. Microsoft, the
government's massive civil suit against Microsoft for allegedly stifling
competition and innovation on a broad scale. With his superb writerly gifts and
extraordinary access to all the principal parties, Ken Auletta crafts this
landmark confrontation into a tight, character- and incident-filled courtroom
drama featuring the best legal minds of our time, including David Boies and
Judge Richard Posner. And with the wisdom gleaned from covering the converging
media, software, and communications industries for the New Yorker for
the better part of a decade, Auletta uses this pivotal battle to shape a
magisterial reckoning with the larger war and the agendas, personalities, and
prospects of its many combatants.
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