The Demise of Microsoft

Boom to Bust

In my last article, I referred to the different planetary cycles associated with the dramatic growth of the Internet and particularly the Dot Com boom which culminated in March 2000 with the final square of Jupiter in Taurus to Neptune in Aquarius. It was at this time that grossly inflated Internet shares hit the market, with companies who had never made a profit floating for millions of dollars, only to crash just days later. The shares of the British Internet company , for example, were at half their launch value only one week after launch. Jupiter in Taurus square Neptune in Aquarius simply highlighted the get-rich-quick dreams of the vast numbers of new shareholders that have appeared over the last few years, as the Internet has made investment in the Stock Market accessible to ordinary people. Statistics show that over 70% of people who plan to vote in the next American election own stock, making market forces an incredibly important political factor. Such is the power of the current build up of planets in Taurus… particularly the coming Saturn/Jupiter conjunction.

The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction

As Jupiter in Taurus, which for a great many people simply manifested as greed, approaches Saturn – conjoining it on May 28 2000 – there will naturally be major adjustments in money markets. One of the consequences of the volatility of high tech stocks in this period will be the movement of investment money to safer stocks in long-established companies. This would be the dominant tendency as a result of the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Taurus, which emphasises security and reliability. The question then arises: how will the market develop in the long term as a result of this movement? Personally I am not in any way an expert on investment, yet it would seem to be possible to draw a number of conclusions from the planetary cycles which are on their way. As a rule, planetary patterns in the heavens may reflect certain economic trends on Earth, but specific countries and specific companies will not be affected unless theses patterns make strong contact with the country or company charts. Using astrology to work the stock markets on a professional basis is in reality a very complex affair, and would require years of study, and excellent knowledge of the “first trade” charts of companies.

Communication Transformation

See graph of this planetary cycle

The most eye-catching planetary cycle in the near future is Saturn’s approaching opposition to Pluto as it comes into Gemini. Unusually in the year 2000, Saturn conjoins with Jupiter only once (often a triple conjunction takes place), and they then both proceed into Gemini, with Saturn – but not Jupiter – retrograding back into Taurus until its final entry into Gemini on April 20, 2001. One of the areas this new emphasis in Gemini is going to affect is communication, and obviously this will have a profound effect on Internet activity, where we can expect a number of restrictions. Before this happens Jupiter in Gemini will oppose Pluto, at which time it is quite possible that there will be an extraordinary expansion of unbridled Internet activity, with government institutions desperately trying to find ways of applying limits. In Europe the Jupiter transit through Gemini will probably be connected to much easier, and much cheaper access, with major competition between telecom companies to provide fast, and perhaps almost free access.

Irresistable Force meets Immovable Object

It is the limiting and controlling of this enormous expansion which will be Saturn’s major concern in the 2½ years it is in Gemini from April 20 2001 until June 4 2003. The great significance of the Saturn/Pluto opposition is that it happens so close to the Ascendant/Descendant axis of the USA… first on August 1, 2001 (12.37°) , then on November 2, 2001, (13.48°) and finally on May 26, 2002. (16.35°). (Previously I pointed out that this opposition will have great significance for Denmark, whose constitution was created with Sun at 14.37° Gemini opposition Moon in Sagittarius. 2002 is therefore a year of great political and constitutional change for Denmark). Quite obviously this will correspond to a significant crisis in American affairs, and consequently something of a crisis for the rest of the world. This can be connected to a great variety of things, but this article will concern itself mostly with economic developments and the Internet.

Pluto, Saturn and Eclipses

The crisis will be fairly long-term, as the opposition stretches over many months. The whole process is significantly exacerbated by the nodal cycle. With the North Node conjoining Pluto/Saturn opposition during the summer of 2002, powerful eclipses will focus attention on the very difficult transformation process Saturn/Pluto represents. One area which will be affected is Trade. As the opposition falls on the USA’s Ascendant/Descendant access, then it is quite likely that some kind of trade war will start, and that America will erect barriers to trade with the rest of the world… or retaliate against countries who they perceive as erecting barriers. The Saturn/Pluto cycle is approximately 35 years in length, and has to do with battles of power and will, as the forces of upheaval and transformation are met by the force of inertia. It is at these times that threats of ultimate force are used. Faceless and remote powers which are normally hidden in society – for example the military, the police, and the tax authorities – tend to exert a stronger than usual influence at this time.

The Conjunction Phase

The last conjunction was in 1983 in Libra, when Europe and America set up Pershing missiles to counter the threat of SS20’s from the Soviet dominated countries of the time in an indelicate balance of power. This happened in the last degrees of Libra, and as both planets moved on into Scorpio, the new economic eras of Reaganomics and Thatcherism started, resulting, in the UK at least, in the crushing of Trade Union power, and a whole new set of political realities, which at the time seemed rather cruel. This process was accompanied by violent demonstrations amongst ordinary people.

Limits on Communication

The opposition will bring issues that arose at the conjunction into the fore again. One of the areas where this might happen is in a painful economic readjustment due to the new economic realities which take place this summer in the aftermath of the 7-planet conjunction in Taurus. There is a strong likelihood of repressive laws, because of Pluto’s Sagittarian influence, and these laws will limit the ability of ordinary people to communicate. One of the areas in which this new draconian influence will manifest is in the field of encryption. There has already been conflict between Internet users and various governments, because new encryption programs have made it possible to transmit information which secret government bodies have not been able to decipher. They have responded by attempting, without much success, to make these encryption programs illegal. In the months around the summer of 2002, there will high-profile legal cases which will almost surely result in the Internet Service providers exerting far greater control over what passes through their servers, much to the fury of ordinary users. It is during this time that the Internet will also probably suffer from its first major viral attack. Today the Internet is absolutely crucial for most of the world’s business dealings, and even a few minutes of shutdown means the loss of billions of dollars. Hackers find this a major challenge, and recently a young Canadian managed to shut down the internet portal Yahoo! for several hours, costing the company millions.

A Tax on Internet Transactions

With the Saturn/Pluto opposition there will almost certainly be far greater emphasis on security, and this will result in new limitations for ordinary Internet users. The most important development with the Saturn/Pluto opposition will however be taxation. Governments around the world, and particularly in Europe, will agree on universal taxation policies which will affect everyone trading on the Net. This will be experienced as extremely invasive by the Net community.

High Tech Crisis

During Saturn’s transit of Gemini, it will oppose its natal position in many of the horoscopes of major electronics companies which were formed in the computer boom of the 1980s. Companies like Compaq (Saturn 2°47 Sag), Oracle (Saturn 9°40, Mars 21°50, Uranus 22°18) and Microsoft – as well as a good many others – will go through a period of downsizing, restructuring and struggle. The most important of these is of course Microsoft, against which judgement was given in April 2000, as a long anti-trust case (brought by the US government) came to its conclusion. Though there is a process of appeal which will now take place, the end result is clear: Microsoft will be split up into at least 4 different entities. I base this prediction on the fact that Saturn in Gemini splits into two, and Pluto in Sagittarius doubles it! At the time of the judgement, Bill Gates (born 28 Oct 1955, 22.00 PST +8, Seattle, WA, 47N36 122W20) has vowed to fight the judgement, and he and other Microsoft executives are convinced they can prevent the break-up of the company. They will not be able to do this, and the future will see the world’s richest man getting marginalised in the coming years, and the behemoth Microsoft splitting up into an OS division (Windows), and Office division (with their popular Microsoft Office suite) a browser division (Internet Explorer) and perhaps a Communications division (with extension of broadband and cable as well as wireless communications for the next generation of personal organisers.)

The First Trade Horoscope for Microsoft

See chart for the first trade

Microsoft’s chart is typical of many horoscopes of high-tech firms, with a conglomeration of planets in late mutable degrees. In this case the powerful emphasis on 22° makes this degree a very sensitive spot for market fluctuations. So, when Jupiter zooms over this degree on June 7, 2001, it might be a very good time for sudden expansion (or perhaps even earlier when Mars crosses 22° Gemini on April 4, 2001). Personally I wouldn’t bet on it, but it is probably the last time an expansion can occur for Microsoft before the break-up. It is noticeable that Pluto’s transit over Microsoft’s Descendant and Saturn coincided with the American’s governments proceedings against the company, so the Jupiter transit over the Descendant in March 2001 probably refers to developments during the course of Microsoft’s appeal. The Descendant would seem to represent the enemies of Microsoft here, and Saturn’s position in the seventh is therefore formidable, especially considering that it is on the USA’s Ascendant. In reality Bill Gates has upset the American people, and it is foolish of him to think he can win. The eclipse at 19.54 Gemini on June 10, 2002, will be close to Microsoft’s Sun square Mars/Uranus and Bill Gates’ nodal axis and this is the key period for the collapse.

The First Trade chart for Microsoft is quite enlightening. Obviously the fact that the ruling planet Mercury was both retrograde AND in its fall in Pisces had no serious effect on its market performance. (Though some would claim that the system itself is weak and unreliable!) As Mercury progressed retrograded to conjoin the Sun and square Mars/Uranus it rose to completely dominate the world… though it certainly came to alienate many people in the process. It is in 2002 that progressed Mercury finally goes direct, signalling the major turning point for the company. Probably the fact that the Sun squares Mars/Uranus in the birth chart shows the explosive potential of a split-up. There are going to be fireworks. The tough times will come as Saturn contacts 22° in June 2002, and finally stationing at 22°08 Gemini on February 22, 2003, at which point it is my guess that Microsoft shares will be at their lowest ebb… probably a great time to buy! At this time – with transit Neptune making a two-year conjunction with Microsoft’s MC – the company will be confused and rudderless, and the leadership weak.

Bill Gates

See chart of Bill Gates

This will not worry our friend Bill too much. He has already been through the bad times and taken the consequences. When his progressed Ascendant crossed Pluto in 1999, whilst MC progressed opposed Venus and Saturn, he was put under enormous pressure to change and did so. Though still chairman of Microsoft, he pulled out of the day-to-day running of the company in 1999 to concentrate on development. There are those that argue – and Gates himself is among them – that he has truly been of service to the world in making computers intelligible and useable. Many people might claim that accusations of misuse of power, monopoly practices, and the crushing of opponents are unfair. Was Gates not merely embodying the spirit of success and competition enshrined in the American spirit? Actually no.

When you look at Gates’ chart, it is not difficult to see that here is a man who wields economic power mercilessly – the Jupiter and Pluto in 2nd house Leo, square Venus and Saturn in the 5th in Scorpio. There can be no doubt that it was the character of the man himself which provoked the American government into action against Microsoft. When the first judgement went against Microsoft on April 4, 2000, not only did shares in the company slump, but it also added to the general malaise amongst technology and internet shares. Because Mutable signs are so sensitive for these companies, the transit of Saturn through Gemini will bring repercussions for many of them, and we can expect something of a recession in this area. The dot com euphoria is now officially over, and difficult waters are ahead for those who want to make their fortunes on the Internet. It is during the next three years that the weak players will be separated from the strong, and the survivors will come to dominate the future market of wireless communication, which will weave telephone and internet into a seamless world in which all will have cheap access to everyone and everything.

Adrian Ross Duncan


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