The Third Corporate War was a large-scale corporate conflict that took place in the year 2016, between February and November. Unlike the First and Second Corporate Wars, the third corporate war was fought almost entirely on the Net.
The hostilities begin when examiners from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce uncovered a confidence scheme being perpetrated by certain investment counselors at Merrill, Asukaga, & Finch against private investors, using the Rothstein Fund (a subsidiary of the Bank of New York) as leverage. They notified the District Attorney's office, who began an investigation the next day.
The Rothstein Fund, angered by MA&F's duplicity and not wishing to get dragged down in the investigation, turned everything they had over to the DA's office. They also hired local street netrunners to begin probing MA&F's data fortresses in search of the truth.
MA&F's administration took this move by their former ally as a direct attack. They immediately countered by stepping up net security and unleashed their netrunners to launch an assault on the Rothstein Fund, first hitting Rothstein's financial targets. Then the MA&F strike teams turned their attention to actually destroying Rothstein computer systems, which escalated the fighting.
For several days, situation was a confused melee. Data fortresses became armed camps as everyone nervously watched to see what would happen next. Netwatch responded by limiting net access and cracking down on computer crime, making several sweeps resulting in numerous arrests and flatlines.
Both the Rothstein Fund and MA&F decided to take it to the meat world; they begin hiring mercenaries. During a 12-hour period, short pitched battles were fought in LEO and on Earth, all to destroy the physical locations of the enemy's net communications gear. These battles ended with considerable loss of life and millions of dollars in material destruction.
The next six months consisted of endless net raids, most of them inconsequential and indecisive. Indeed, more damage was done during the 12 hours of actual fire fights than during the entire remainder of the conflict. When it was over, the Rothstein Fund ceased to exist as a single entity. MA&F turned the corpses of two of their executives who had started the whole mess over to the LA DA. They also got stuck with the bill for damage done in LEO and on Earth.
By this time, corporate conflict shocked no one, although a number of analysts were surprised the war lasted as long as it did. The way the war was fought, being based mostly in the net, was rather unusual, and it sparked a couple-dozen theories by various pundits that perhaps this was the new way corporate wars would be fought. Others maintained that, much like the infantry in military doctrine, solos will never go out of style.