Net.Humor Archive - MS Predictions

By Jeff Bertolucci, all rights reserved

The Year the Monopoly Crumbled  

First Published January 12, 1999 Bay Area Edition       

        Bold and fearless predictions for 1999 

I don't usually think of myself as clairvoyant, but after making
several phone calls to psychic hotlines, I feel I've gleaned a basic
understanding of this extrasensory perception stuff. To further hone
my skills, I've been meditating in front of my PC with a Windows 98
CD-ROM balanced on my nose.  And what better time to put my newfound
talents to use than in our annual pundit prophecy issue?

True, my predictions may shock you. They may anger you. They may even
bore you. But one thing is certain: My forecasts are at least as
accurate as a VCR clock on January 1, 2000.

        1) Microsoft buys America Online. Microsoft's first
post-antritrust step is a bonfire rally at which the Netscape
Navigator "N" is burned in effigy. Step two: The formerly free
Internet Explorer now costs $19.95.

        2) Bill splurges on sartorial splendor. Jealous of Oracle CEO
Larry Ellison's clotheshorse reputation, Bill Gates goes on a shopping
spree.  The sweater racks at Seattle's Ross Dress for Less are totally

        3) Microsoft goes Hollywood. Inspired by AOL's role in the
movie You've Got Mail, Microsoft starts its own movie studio. Its
first releases include There's Something About PowerPoint and The
Devil and Miss Reno.

        4) Windows 2000 offers buggy voice recognition. The dastardly
Tourette's Syndrome bug forces thousands of unsuspecting users to spew
obscenity-laden diatribes at their Windows PCs. Since most users do
this already, the bug goes undetected for years.

        5) Microsoft will take over the Linux operating system. Tired
of fretting over Linux's growing acceptance as a server operating
system, Redmond mounts a hostile takeover of the Little OS That
Could. True, Linux is freeware, but Microsoft cleverly infects each
copy with the Office 2000 Registration Virus. Fifty bucks buys you
free code. Freeloaders get a trashed hard drive.

        6) Windows 2000 is renamed--again. Bombarded with horror
stories about the Year 2000 bug, millions of computer users come to
believe that Windows 2000 is responsible for Y2K. A desperate
Microsoft quickly changes the product's name to Windows 2001 and hires
HAL 9000 as product pitchman.

        7) HAL 9000 replaces Bill Gates as Microsoft CEO. Sneaky HAL
shuts off the oxygen supply to Bill's office and then assumes
command. No one suspects foul play until the Gates' second child is
named Daisy.

        8) The Justice Department breaks up Microsoft. Under Justice
Department orders, two new companies are created. One sells operating
systems and applications, the other makes sure competing programs
don't run on Microsoft operating systems.

        9) The Y2K bug causes Windows 98 to crash frequently. Of
course, nobody notices the difference.

        10) Registration Wizard gets personal. Office 2000's
Registration Wizard, which terminates unregistered Office 2000 copies
after 50 launches, also maintains a secret list of the Web sites
you've visited.  Unregistered users are horrified to find their
browser histories posted on Jerry Springer's site.

        11) Windows CE keeps on ticking. Redmond corners the pacemaker
market. Disgruntled customers gripe about frequent and painful Windows
CE software upgrades.

        12) Windows 98 bugs continue to plague end users. As a result,
Microsoft changes its Windows 98 slogan from "Works better and plays
better" to "Try running Excel on Linux, pal." Sales skyrocket.

        13) Microsoft launches a splashy Office 2000 ad campaign. A
barrage of TV and print ads praise the office suite's clever and
innovative new features, such as, um, customized toolbars and more
clip art.

        14) Bill Gates agrees to quickly settle with the Justice
Department.  But Microsoft's army of $400-an-hour attorneys protests
vehemently and claims victory. The case drags on for months. Lawyers
everywhere rejoice.

        15) Computer magazine reviews trash the Linux user interface.
Disgruntled Linux zealots storm the offices of PC World and PC
Magazine but find only empty cubicles. Hand-written invitations to
Bill Gates' summer slumber party confirm the nerds' worst fears.

        16) Comdex changes locations. Fed up with Las Vegas crowds and
bumper-to-bumper traffic, Fall Comdex relocates to the top-secret Area
51 military base. Alien-hosted parties feature free DNA experiments
and body cavity probes.

        17) A kinder, gentler Microsoft emerges. Humbled by its legal
woes, Microsoft learns humility. It stops strong-arming competitors
and ceases to squash start-ups that get in its way. Its stock price
drops precipitously.

        18) Windows 2000 ships on time. Just kidding!

Back to the Net.Humor Archives