Has the Microsoft case helped bring back the term "monopolist" as an insult of choice even in corporate America? When the Walt Disney Company and its ABC television stations tangled early in May with Time Warner Cable, some television viewers were briefly deprived of such vital ABC programming as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." But onlookers were treated to a round of invective worthy of Eugene Debs. "They're liars and monopolists," Preston Padden, an executive with Disney, told the press after the cable company broadcast the message "Disney has taken ABC away from you."
WABC-TV in New York took out full-page ads in The New York Times blasting Time Warner as "an arrogant monopolist." Even New York's mayor joined in the shaming of the commu-nications giant. "This is what happens when you let a monopoly get too big," said Rudolph Giuliani.
Time Warner missed an opportunity by not striking back at Disney as greedy oligopolists, or Goofy Pluto-crats, or invoking Scrooge McDuck. Instead, the cable company meekly--mousily?--restored ABC's programming the next day. Maybe the company had been stung by the insults. Who wants to be a monopolist?