About the Book

On December 7, 1995, Pearl Harbor Day, Bill Gates declared war -- writing an internal memo ordering Microsoft to throw all its resources into launching a "hardcore" attack on the Internet browser market. At the time, Netscape's share of that market was close to 90%; by early 2000, Netscape's share had plunged to 20%, and Microsoft's browser appeared to have won this war. But that would prove to be only one of many wars Microsoft waged, wars that would lead Microsoft to confront its mightiest foe: the U.S. government. This battle commenced on October 19, 1998, when opening arguments were heard in one of the most important business trials in American history. On this day the United States Justice Department, joined by 20 states, set out to prove that Microsoft, the most valuable company on the planet according to its market capitalization, was a "predatory monopoly" that strong-armed both allies and competitors into using its products, especially its Internet browser. Federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has issued his verdict, and it was a rout, a complete, across-the-board defeat for Microsoft with grave implications for the company's future.

WORLD WAR 3.0 tells the exclusive behind-the-scenes story of the Microsoft trial from the beginning to end, in a narrative rich with drama and outsized characters. A story that features a group of gifted and flawed individuals, Auletta has enjoyed an astounding level of access to all of them. For example, in ten hours of recorded conversations over the course of the trial and after, Auletta captures the thinking of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, including the revelatory things he says about Bill Gates and Microsoft's witnesses. He is the first journalist to induce Judge Richard Posner, who served as a court-appointed mediator, to talk. He had complete access to the opposing counsel, David Boies, for the government, and William Neukom for Microsoft.

Auletta delves deep into the legal strategies of each side and deep into the human factors that underlie the daily legal events -- hubris, pride, vanity, rage, panic. And just as the book captures the intimate human story of people locked in mortal combat, it also uses the trial as a springboard to tell an even bigger story of a global information economy up for grabs. In a climate of historically unparalleled frenzy and hype, the driving fears -- that on the road ahead, you're either first or you're dead -- has infected everyone.

WORLD WAR 3.0 shows a company whose corporate culture contains the seeds of both its current misery and its astounding success. WORLD WAR 3.0 both defines and explains the Internet Age and where it is taking us, even as it becomes the definitive account of our ages' greatest trial -- and could also be the chronicle of the beginning of the end of one of America's most successful companies.

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