Another Big Day for Big Evil

It seemed like last week was all about Microsoft, perhaps to the point of Empire burnout. However, you apparently can't keep a bad thing down, because they're back again, though I don't know that VH1 would say it's been the Best Week Ever.

Topping off the list is perhaps the best Microsoft news yet: The European Commission just fined Big Evil more than a billion dollars for being, well, the evil monopolistic whackjobs they are. The ruling — which levels €899 million ($1.4 billion) in fines — is an extension of an earlier ruling which cost Microsoft $1.43 billion and forced them to release their sever protocols. Of course, everyone's favorite cloven-hooved-and-forked-tongued CEO is trying to spin the news as a positive, but we're thinking that when you've just been nailed to the tune of three billion dollars, it's not a happy day, no matter what you say.

Of course, this is just the beginning, as the Commission recently opened two new investigations into Microsoft's dirty dealing and if the Empire plays its cards wrong — as it usually does — they could be in for several billion more in fines. The European Commission — quite rightly — just doesn't trust Microsoft and isn't about to give them an inch on anything. And that's just how we like it, considering that as it stands, the EU is the biggest roadblock to Big Evil's assimilation of Yahoo.

Meanwhile, Microsoft spent the better portion of Tuesday and Wednesday trying to figure out their own email network, which died catastrophically and left the Evil Engineers scratching their heads. According to reports, the outage affected some 80 million users of Hotmail — or Windows Live Mail, or whatever we're supposed to call it this week — and though MS reported everything was fixed within a few hours, some users were still unable to access the service late on Wednesday. A user named Brian was quoted in the London Times asking "Is it me or has Microsoft got in to bad habits of telling ther customers that the problems are fixed when they have not?" Yes, Brian, yes they have.

On the subject of lackluster offerings, yesterday was also the official release of Microsoft's latest server offering, Windows Server 2008. The Empire's chief-demon-cum-corporate-cheerleader was on hand to patronize the user-base, describing the assembled IT staff as "heart and soul" of the industry. As much of what he was launching — hopefully to a fate not-unlike the Titanic — is already available, the crowd was reportedly non-plussed. Our favorite part? When he described the audience of Microsoft customers as "enabler[s] of the heroes" — we agree they're enablers alright, but we're not sure its heroes they're enabling.

And on a final note, Microsoft picked up a search startup yesterday — no, it wasn't Yahoo, you can start breathing again — that promises to make it possible to pinpoint advertising more accurately than ever before. Big Evil wanted to get their hands on YaData — no, we're not making this stuff up — just as they want their grubby little paws on a different Y in search. It's a shame, though, that they'll now be able to target customers even more easily — at what point do we just do a Dr. Strangelove and give them the bomb so they can blow us all to kingdom come?

Now, if you'll pardon us, we need to find a robotic arm and start populating mine shafts before Ballmer decides to release Vista's Doomsday Edition.

UPDATE: Microsoft has finally admitted that Hotmail is still down. Does anybody else find it ironic that they spend most of their time criticizing other software, but can't even keep their own running?

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