In the blue corner: MS has been bad. Very, very bad. It must be punished.
In the red corner: We're just very good at what we do. Now go away little man.
The outcome: A change in government has lead to a change in heart at the DOJ but the case is still struggling to reach its final conclusion. A negotiated settlement seems to be falling apart.
The verdict: Microsoft will continue doing what it does best: marketing.
Microsoft and Sun
In the blue corner: Sun introduced Java, a "write once, run anywhere" solution that meant you didn't need to be running Windows unless you really wanted to.
In the red corner: Bill wrote his own version that twisted the "purity" of Sun's Java until Sun head Scott McNealy took his ball and went home.
The outcome: Java left out of Microsoft's new IE 6 browser and hasn't really taken off as a Windows killer.
The verdict: McNealy is less than enamoured with his new role as Bill basher.
Microsoft and Netscape
In the blue corner: Microsoft decides it wants the browser market so launches Internet Explorer to take on Netscape's all-dominant browser. MS offers IE for free.
In the red corner: Netscape also offers its browser for free. The behemoths stomp around for a bit, crushing most other browsers in their wake.
The outcome: IE ate Netscape's lunch, dominates the market and is now an integral part of the Windows OS.
The verdict: Round 1: Netscape; Round 2: Netscape; Round 3: Microsoft. Game over.
Microsoft and Palm
In the blue corner: Palm owns the handheld market so Microsoft launches Windows CE to kick its butt.
In the red corner: Palm laughs it off. We own the market, it says, and Windows CE abbreviates to WinCE, which is kind of silly.
The outcome: Microsoft relaunches as Pocket PC, develops support for colour screens and add-on modules, uses relationship with Compaq and HP to sell millions of units.
The verdict: Palm is hesitating, unsure of which way to turn. Microsoft is rapidly catching up despite shortcomings in system (bulkier units, worse power consumption figures). Expect a butt-kicking soon. (Last week Bill showed off a prototype of the handwriting-capable Tablet PC.)
Microsoft and Apple
In the blue corner: Apple owns the computer market. Microsoft really likes the whole desktop analogy and so produces one of its own, licenses Windows on everything.
In the red corner: Apple complains, whines, bitches, sinks into obscurity.
The outcome: Microsoft saves Apple from insolvency with hundreds of millions of dollars. Apple produces iMac, goes from strength to strength, but at a fraction of the market share it once had.
The verdict: Without Apple to show it what to do Microsoft wouldn't be half the company it is today.
Microsoft and the pirates
In the blue corner: Those evil no-gooders are stealing our intellectual property and selling it to one-eyed customers.
In the red corner: Microsoft's numbers are a tad overwhelming, a tad shaky, and Microsoft's occasional practice of offering to waive the charges if the pirates buy MS licences leaves a sour taste in many a mouth.
The outcome: Microsoft may be grossly exaggerating the number of pirated software copies in circulation to further its own causes.
The verdict: Everyone now has to register their operating system, office suite, games, DLLs etc with Microsoft HQ or face having their software switched off. Hey, it's a win-win situation.
Microsoft and IBM
In the blue corner: well it has to be the company that started out making typewriters and ended up owning the entire computing market.
In the red corner: a couple of snot-nosed kids with a borrowed operating system and a licensing plan that slipped in under Big Blue's radar.
The outcome: Big Blue blinked, and fell 10,000 points while Bill and Paul's excellent adventure began with IBM handing over its licence to print money.
The verdict: IBM has an elephantine memory, Microsoft has a self belief that defies description, but these days they have more in common than ever before.
Microsoft and Linux
In the blue corner: Open source code, worked on communally by peaceniks, is evil and an affront to the American dream of owning one's own chicken farm.
In the red corner: Microsoft's evil empire controls too much already and must be stopped at all costs.
The outcome: Linux is fragmenting into numerous models, which is a good thing. Big Bill claims he invented the damned thing in the first place.
The verdict: Linux look out! Bill wants to take yours off you and make it his own. Has he ever failed before?