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In a FOIB posting several years ago I pointed out that perhaps Microsoft’s biggest crime of the last decade was in not playing ball with the big kids along the shores of the Delaware. Up until 1998 they had no lobbyists, made no campaign donations, and (except for an ex-employee turned Senator) no profile in Washington DC whatsoever.

Well, apparently all those cheques the Microsofties sent down to Texas for the Bush/Cheney campaign have paid off. Within months of taking office, the winds of political change have blown in favour of Microsoft and the court order to break them into itsy bitsy little pieces is off. Effectively, the Microsoft Antitrust Case — once the most significant tribunal of our times, has been smote by the Bush government.

Where Clinton/Gore punished MSFT for their ignorance of the political process, Bush/Cheney exploited their need to play catch-up and save their company.

It’s really amazing how clear the ties have been, since they’ve taken office, between Bush campaign funding and how public policy has tipped in favour of their supporters.

Perhaps it’s good public policy, though.. Microsoft may yet lead a charge in the rebuilding of the tech economy. In the interim, though, they’re gonna squash a lot of bugs without fear of reprisal from a favourable government.

-Ian.

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