Microsoft Antitrust in the People’s Court

By Peter Kelman, Esq.

This article appeared in substantially the same form in Mass HighTech, July 10, 2000.

This memo was recently leaked to the press from undisclosed sources.


To:                   Judge Penfield

From:               Law Clerks

Re:                   Consumer Remedies against Microsoft



Judge, you have asked us to explore whether the orders of this court sufficiently redress the harm Microsoft’s practices have inflicted on the public at large.  This memo contains our conclusions.



The briefs submitted by the parties have not adequately addressed the relief due individual purchasers of Microsoft products (IPOMP’s).  However, a canvassing of the other law clerks, all of whom are IPOMP’s (isn’t everybody, that was the point of this case, after all) has brought forth these end-user consumer based remedies (EUCBR’s).  Our suggestion is that a ballot be sent to all IPOMP’s whereby they can elect one (or more) of the following EUCBR’s.  We have created this example IPOMP ballot.


IPOMP Remedy Ballot:

I, the below signed end-user (BSEU), hereby declare that the remedy I desire to obtain some measure of satisfaction in my case against Microsoft is as follows (please mark one option with an “X”):


  1. I want an apology: Mr. Gates is guilty, that was what this case was all about and I knew that, everybody knew that.  Now I want Mr. Gates to come to my house and say he’s sorry.  Just say he’s sorry, that’s enough.


  1. At least make Mr. Gates confess: If Mr. Gates refuses to apologize, I want him to come to my house and at least confess he did it.  Microsoft Windows has been one big Ponzi scheme to get people like me to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.  Just make Mr. Gates confess that was the plan all along.  (Note to Judge: Review the case law involving the other famous Bill for the court’s penetrating analysis of the differences among, inter alia, lies, confessions and apologies.)


  1. I want my money back: Microsoft did more than rip-off big corporations, they ripped off me too. I want my money back. (Note to Judge: Should we require receipts?)


  1. I want my computer to work: I really don’t have a beef with either Mr. Gates or Microsoft, but as long as this Court is offering something, I would like Mr.  Gates to come to my house and fix the problem I have been having with [Word, Excel, Internet Explorer] [check only one], where my computer always [crashes, displays an error message, displays Mr. Gates’ picture] [check only one].  Or, Mr. Gates can elect to call me to give his advice, in which case I have the right to place him on hold for one hour while I do whatever else I feel like doing, but he will never know what it is.


  1. I want new music: I’m sick of those insipid sound effects that come with Windows.  I want some cool music.  Please have Mr. Gates come to my home and show me how to replace those awful chimes with something I can get off Napster. (Note to Judge: we should first check with court deciding Napster cases to determine if this remedy is permitted.)


  1. I want emotional satisfaction, that’s all: I understand that Microsoft and Mr. Gates will be appearing at a carnival near me this summer.  The Microsoft pavilion will consist of a challenging, but not too difficult (assuming no bugs), event, in which contestants will be given the chance to throw a baseball-sized “mouse” through a mock “window” at a distance of 300 megahertz.  If the “mouse” breaks the “window”, causing it to “crash”, a bucket of water will pour over Mr. Gates head.  Sign me up.  (Note to judge: As long as road show is conducted during the summer, and an argument can be made that the water relieves stifling heat, this should not run afoul of cruel and unusual punishment laws.)


  1. Just give me my Mac back: Just return my Mac, no questions asked.  If you have to ask a question, you won’t understand the answer.  (Note to Judge: According to testimony in the suppressed underground findings of fact (SUFOF), Microsoft engineers were unsuccessful in distilling the essence of the MacIntosh operating system when redesigning Windows.  Mac users predicted this all along.)


  1. I want to be like Bill: I understand that this Court has determined that Mr. Gate’s mansion was built with funds illegally procured from honest working individuals like me.  I elect to forego the above options and choose, instead, to spend an all-expenses paid weekend at Chez Gates, where Mr. Gates and his family will cater to our whims and where we, like thousands before us, can ask him if he “does windows.”







(Note to Judge:  This ballot is available “on-line.”  We have set up the web site’EmJudge/MyTwoCentsCount.html. where certified IPOMP’s can enter their preference.  To insure widespread access to site, this court could require future versions of Windows, when booting, to link to this site.)


Copyright 2000, Peter Kelman.  All rights reserved.