Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
April 7 2000 9:30 PM

Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

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Economist, April 14

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The cover editorial argues that Microsoft should restructure itself. If Bill Gates were to break his own baby up, he would stimulate competition and preserve Microsoft's ability to innovate while avoiding "the terrifying legal lottery he seems to have chosen." The cover story deplores the overpatenting of intellectual property such as business methods. New economy companies strategically patent to boost their share prices and to intimidate competitors. Legislative changes are needed to stem abuses of the system. A survey claims China is committed to market reforms. In the past two decades, China welcomed foreign capital and disbanded communes. To sustain its economic growth, China must make its agricultural and industrial sectors more productive.

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New Republic, April 17 and 24

Former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz clobbers the International Monetary Fund in an explosive cover story. The fund is too secretive and too insulated from accountability. Its cookie-cutter approach to international lending exacerbated the East Asian financial crisis. The U.S. Treasury Department is partially to blame for Russia's calamitous transition to a market economy; it "laid the groundwork for the oligarchs' plundering." An article argues that the Clinton administration has emptied the Democratic Leadership Council's ideological arsenal. Clintonites reformed welfare, downsized government, clamped down on crime, and made fiscal conservatism Democratic orthodoxy. The public now wants fairer trade and a government fix for the health-insurance crisis.

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Fortune, June 12

The Fortune 500 issue. General Motors tops the ranks for the 37th time. No. 337, AOL, is the first consumer e-company to make the list. Runner-up Wal-Mart, whose profits jumped 20 percent in 1999, threatens to overtake GM next year.

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Brill's Content, May 2000

The cover story attributes the failure of CBS's Early Show to viewers' dislike of host Bryant Gumbel. The program lost audience share when Gumbel joined, and critics believe he is too abrasive to host a morning show. An article reports that George W. Bush sucks up to the media in the "no-quote zone" of his campaign plane. Reporters are so disarmed by Bush that they write friendly pieces about his scripted stump remarks. A piece slams New York Times Magazine entertainment reporter Lynn Hirschberg for going soft on her famous friends and shamelessly lying about herself. Hirschberg claims she attended Harvard, although she didn't; she boasts that she is a Berkeley alumna, but she isn't. The 42-year-old just celebrated her 40th birthday.

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Vanity Fair, May 2000

The cover profile depicts Kim Basinger as a latter-day Marilyn Monroe. Her husband, Alec Baldwin, confesses that she is disturbingly mercurial. She wakes up in the middle of the night weeping about the fate of Albanian refugees and her failure to find her inner self. Duchess Sarah Ferguson poses in a blazer and fishnet stockings. In a Q and A she portrays herself a "natural mother" and calls Prince Philip—the queen's husband—a "poor man." An article investigates the marriage of Pakistan's "Camelot Couple," cricketer Imran Khan and former English socialite Jemima Khan. Imran wants to be Pakistan's next prime minister, but Jemima can't stand curry or Lahore.