You'd think it was an election year. US Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) called a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday so reporters might learn just how outraged he is by Win XP's inclusion of Microsoft photography, instant messaging and multimedia apps, which, he believes, will devastate the hardworking little-guy competitors on whose behalf he apparently battles tirelessly.
"It appears that Microsoft intends to maximize its monopolistic power, using XP as a platform to enter new lines of business while encumbering competitors," Schumer said, rooting deep into the 'I just sussed out Redmond's business strategy; let's arrange a press conference' archive.
"I hope [the launch] will be delayed by Microsoft's own doing - and if not, by law," he declared.
"I am sending a letter to the head of the [US Department of Justice] Antitrust Division, asking that he not settle with Microsoft unless they agree to a global settlement providing open access for competitors to offer their... products on an equal basis," he said defiantly.
Schumer says he's already asked state attorneys general to oppose the launch, as if they otherwise wouldn't.
"Last night I spoke with New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer; and I am calling on him, along with the other state attorneys general, to bring a suit enjoining the release of Windows-XP unless Microsoft agrees to make significant changes, either as part of a global settlement or on their own initiative," he warned.
Schumer got up Steve Ballmer's ass too. "It seems the very design of Windows XP is hardwired to preference Microsoft's applications," he wrote the Redmond Bear in a letter which he distributed at the conference.
"If PC manufacturers and consumers can choose their browser in Windows XP, surely they should be able to choose their media player, messenger service and other applications," he maintained.
Ballmer apparently wrote back, offering to address each of Schumer's concerns. But the Senator had better things to do than listen to the opposition's lies. Citing an enormously convenient schedule conflict, he managed to dodge an XP demonstration MS was hoping to deliver exclusively for his benefit.
"We had prepared a full factual briefing and software demonstration that could have easily addressed the rhetoric from AOL Time Warner that is the basis for their lobbying campaign to stop Windows XP," MS legal beagle Jack Krumholtz wrote Schumer.
But then he went entirely round the bend: "The timely launch of Windows XP is critical to re-ignite the PC industry in the United States," he added.
Right: MS is going to redeem that sad joke otherwise known as the New Economy single-handedly, as mindless consumers trample each other to buy high-powered boxes just to run their latest bloatware. Right.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Schumer serves, will conduct hearings in September to determine whether or not MS needs a real Washington-style wrist-slapping. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) announced the news Tuesday, while Schumer bristled before the cameras.
And we missed the afternoon showing of Final Fantasy for this.... ®