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Grover's Bad, Awful Day is a Sesame Street story about a character named Grover. In the story, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. On the way home from school, Grover's ice cream falls off the cone and it starts to rain. He steps on a piece of bubblegum and his boot gets stuck, so he runs home through the rain in his socks. Soaking wet, he arrives home where his mommy kisses and hugs him, and takes him to retrieve the lost boot. Then together they visit the ice cream parlor and Grover's world is set aright.
Grover is not the only one who has bad days. Bill Gates, for example, admits that he too had a bad day recently. Bill didn't lose his ice cream; rather, his company lost $120 million in a suit filed by Stac Electronics against Microsoft for patent infringement. Asked to comment on the situation, Gates said, "I had a pretty bad day yesterday."
In case you haven't followed the saga, here's a quick recap; Fig. 1 summarizes the timeline of events. Stac Electronics develops and sells data-compression hardware and software. Stac introduced its flagship software product, Stacker, in November 1990. Stacker integrates itself tightly with DOS, and just about doubles available disk space (typical results are more like 1.8x).
Growing acceptance of Stacker, as well the emergence of a horde of clones, convinced Microsoft that disk compression should be built-in as part of the MS-DOS operating system. Microsoft negotiated with Stac and several other companies for the rights to their technologies. At one point, it seemed as if Stac would cut deals with both Microsoft and IBM (for inclusion with both OS/2 and PC-DOS).