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22 Jun 98

Microsoft Trampoline 2.0

Microsoft Trampoline 2.0

I read in The Road Ahead that Bill Gates' new house includes a reception hall, movie screening room, and a trampoline room.

Can you see this? He invites you over and you're talking about operating systems.

"You were right in your dealings with IBM," you say. "NT is far superior to OS/2." Honestly, you don't care for either, but if Bill buys your company....

"Hey," he says, all 50 billion dollars of him, more than some countries, "let's talk about it in here."

Suddenly he's bouncing, all that money flopping up and down, arms out. "Whee!" he says. "Whee! Hooray!" Every bounce, you think, earns him ten thousand dollars. Unnerved by his invitation, you climb on too, making nervous little jumps in your black socks.

"Whee," you say, full of trepidation. He smiles and nods. "Whoopee!" you venture.

"Whoopydeedoo!" says Bill Gates. "Hoopidee supidee doodle!"

"Yappy zoom! Sloopy! Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-boy!" you scream. This must be a good sign. The guys from Intuit didn't get to do anything like this in their book. "Zoom zoom whoo!"

"Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!" says Bill. "Look at me! I'm Apple computer's stock! Up...and down...up....and down...up...and...oh no!" He collapses in a heap.

You laugh suddenly. "Do all your investment partners get this treatment?" you ask.

"Nope. I just like to make an ass of the owners of the companies I plan to destroy." He laughs. "You'll be lucky to see your stock IPO at two bucks a share."

Your face turns wild; you feel yourself falling into the tarpaulin, face hanging open, the sweat and exhilaration leaving you vulnerable and weak.

"Kidding!" he says. "Jesus, just kidding. Now let's go into the sauna and talk numbers." The door opens automatically at his waved hand, and you gently step off the trampoline, remembering who's in charge.


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