EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.03.07

Microsoft’s ODF Sabotage is a Case of History Repeating Itself

Posted in Antitrust, Formats, FUD, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 11:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oops! Did we break your software? Sorry, we win.

Buried in our stories archive, which now contains nearly 1000 posts, are some antitrust exhibits. Consider this one about Novell. It is a classic example. There are many more and the best way to find them is probably by following cross references.

As I said just hours ago, it would be rather easy fishing for further evidence that Microsoft breaks rival products and/or components. With at least 3000 exhibits at hand, it is only matter of patience. The latest victim of this illegal tactic appears to be the ODF plugin for Microsoft Office. How convenient! Especially now that OOXML fails to gain traction (last updated a couple of days ago).

Let’s look closely at some documents and find out how Microsoft operates behind the scenes. I chose the classic “Ain’t Done Until DR-DOS Won’t Run” scenario as an example (a case study if you like). Many thanks to ‘Doug Mentohl’ for the text (plenty of manual work, no OCR).

Watch what Steve Ballmer gets told about [PDF] and what we deal with here: a fake DR-DOS error message.

To: davidcol
Subject: RE: message
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 92 08:51:10 PST

what the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is dr-dos and then go out and buy ms-dos, or decide not to take the risk for the other machines he has to buy for in the office.

..

From bradsi; Mon Feb 10 10:50:05 1992
To: steveb
Subject: Re: the message
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 92 10:50:05 PST

i am saying that we should either:

b) put a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows.

..

the most sensible thing from a development standpoint is to continue to build dependencies on msdos into windows.

Okay, okay… another one.

Here is where Microsoft starts using FUD tactics against its rival [PDF]. A Microsoft employee suggests “plant[ing] the bug of FUD in their [customers] ears”. Sounds like ol’ skool “Get the Facts” campaign, doesn’t it?

From w-carrin Mon Oct 15 12:18:05 1990
To: bradsi
Subject: Getting the word out about DR DOS
Cc: kathrynh; russw
Date: Mon Oct 15 12:09:08 1990

Concerns have been raised that DR-DOS incompatibilities and flaws are being overlooked by reviewers.

..

We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. “Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?”

“That security feature is a neat idea and, gosh, such a feature would be great, but it’s just too easily circumvented”

“Gee, it’s unfortunate that DR DOS can’t be loaded high all the time. MS-DOS 5.0 can” We’ll do this very tactfully.

..

The security features may lead someone to a false sense of security and someone may break into their payroll.

..

* If Digital Research can to Microsoft for help in making DR DOS work with Windows, would Microsoft help them? Maybe not?

Such tactics were apparently effective. Watch an E-mail that explains why Amstrad dropped DR-DOS [PDF.

Friday, Septembeer 22, 1989
Mr. Leonard Liu
President
Acer Incorporated

I’m sure Alan Sugar would not mind me tellling you about his decision for Amstrad. He decided to stay with MS-DOS (they use the disk version). In 1985 when he first came out with his low end 512k machines, he shipped both DRI’s then current product and MS-DOS: his market research showed that virtually all users chose to use the Microsoft product, rathe then risk the compatibility questions thet DRI’s operating system products raise. His more recent machines dropped the
DRI products entirely .. It only takes a couple of reports about non-compatibility to give the kiss of death to a PC: we’ve seen that on the hardware side as well as in the operating system area.

The mixture of technical sabotage and FUD had impact elsewhere [PDF].

From: tonyka Thu Sep 19 18:44:04 1991
To: tomle
Cc: brentk; dosdev; jefflo; vangard
Subject: DR-DOS 6.0 Testing (9/19)

DR DOS beats us on a 386 system by 12,560 bytes conventional; their EMM386 is a combined XMS provider and expanded memory manager. I don’t understand why MS DOS only gives 95kb UMB; maybe I need to include some region on emm386 line.

..

1) Please include All bugs in DR-DOS that are not in MS-DOS from Intel TESTMEM test suite Boundary test:
Allocating more (expanded memory) pages than available in system
EMM did not return the expected results (returned 12 instead of 9A).

DTK 386 cold boot/hang problem:
After installing DR 6 on this machine, cold boot always results in a “Cannot load file”. Press a key to retry.” When press a key, the machine will boot fine. Warm boot always work without this problem.

Also there’s intermittent hang after exiting EDITOR. It hung on me twice today. Haven’t seen these problems happen on another machine.

Warm boot with HIDOS.SYS installed
gives “Warning: Address line A20 already enabled.”

..

2) Anything you did not like about DR-DOS

DR DOS reports version as 3.31; no lie table and programs won’t run.

Their EDITOR looks antique (compared to ours); haven’t used WORDSTAR for ages.

..

3) Anything you like about DR-DOS that we should add to future MS-DOS versions

DR MEM program output looks sharp: layout is clearer and offers more info than ours.

DOSBOOK online help looks pretty fancy and helpful.

DR SETUP lets user tune system after installation. This concept is good but their implementation is not useful enough.

..

Privileged Material Redacted

Then came this [PDF].

From brade Fri Sep 20 17:31:57 1991
To: bradsi
Cc: bradc; braddir; dosmktg; lizsi; w-carrin; w-maria
Subject: PC Week and DR DOS
Date: Fri Sep 20 17:32:48 PDT 1991

Carrine’s great work got us the oppurtunity to feed pc week some info on where to look for bugs with dr dos. I have had a couple of conversations with lenny bailes who is helping with the ms-dos 5 versus dr-dos 5 evaluation process.

Today tom and i talked to him. on the negative side i probably brought up one two many things for him to look at. it is difficult to appropriately and professionally try and trash your competitor. also on the negative side, lenny clearly seems to be a dr dos fan. to be fair i think he is sincere and is trying to be balanced.

also on the negative side he did tells us that under 1 meg dr dos 6 was better than ms-dos 5 on 7 out of 10 machines they tested. no real details but i think the differences will be small.

on the positive side they did themselves find some of the setup problems (such as poor updating to config.sys) and he has passed on tp the pc weeks labs some of these configurations we suggested they look at that we uncovered with dr dos 5. he was also intrigued by some of the data from yesterday’s dr-dos 6 test, in particular tom’s problems when he entered a ton of nested directory names.

In the following brow-raising E-mail, Jim Allchin jokes about making sure DR-DOS will have problems in the future [PDF]. Strange sense of humour.

From bradsi Fri Sep 91 10:01:22 PDT
To bradc; jimail; johnlu; mikemur; paulma; russs; steveb; tonya
Cc: mackm
Subject: dri/novell/ibm

.. drdos has problems running windows today.
And I assume will have more problems in the futire.

..

To: bradsi
Subject: RE: dri/novell/ibm
Date Fri Sep 27 18:26:52 PDT 1991

You should make sure it has problems in the future :)

jim

..

From bradc Fri Sep 27 18:35:22 1991
To: bradsi
Cc: bradc; richab; richf; loaya
Subject: FW: FYI – Windows message
Date Fri Sep 27 18:36:31 PDT 1991

..

I asked to have this forwarded to me.

Two cents from richf and I;

1) The check for dr dos better be perfect, otherwize you could be in a heep of trouble ..

..

4) The PC-DOS statement is problematic if ibm calls dr dos pc dos 6 so we think that we have to not state ms-dos or pc-dos directly

..

we can get the message out that they don’t work with windows without seeming so manipulative. We need to say the right thing so that people get the right message – we are helping users by giving them info that windows is only tsted on ms-dos.

I truly hope hope that you can see the resemblance to anti-ODF tactics here (namely FUD and technical sabotage). There is more to come and I’ll post this as Part II. I will then also concentrate on use of ‘politics’ because we continue to see plenty of that in the document formats debate. Microsoft cannot defend the technical merits of OOXML (none exists), so it strikes deals with Linux companies, sets the decks (committees), and threatens (or at least overwhelms) CIOs.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. akf said,

    August 4, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Gravatar

    DOS is still usefull for embedded systems, since it is very small. There is also a large amount of Software available for Dos, which some may still need. So for those who still need Dos there is a Free Software alternative named FreeDos: http://www.freedos.org/
    Of course it can also be used in Pc-emulators.

  2. Cap’n Kernel said,

    August 14, 2007 at 4:35 am

    Gravatar

    I’m speechless! But hey, in the end it’s not what you did, but what you got caught doing. Someone should have “shredded” those e-mails.

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/3/2019: Microsoft Does Not Change; Lots of FOSS Leftovers

    Links for the day



  2. Just Published: Irrational Ignorance at the Patent Office

    Iancu and his fellow Trump-appointed "swamp" at the USPTO are urged to consult academics rather than law firms in order to improve patent quality in the United States



  3. Microsoft Paid the Open Source Initiative. Now (a Year Later) Microsoft is in the Board of the Open Source Initiative.

    The progression of Microsoft entryism in FOSS-centric institutions (while buying key "assets" such as GitHub) isn't indicative of FOSS "winning" but of FOSS being infiltrated (to be undermined)



  4. Jim Zemlin's Linux Foundation Still Does Not Care About Linux Desktops

    We are saddened to see that the largest body associated with Linux (the kernel and more) is not really eager to see GNU/Linux success; it's mostly concerned about its bottom line (about $100,000,000 per annum)



  5. Links 23/3/2019: Falkon 3.1.0 and Tails 3.13.1

    Links for the day



  6. The Unified Patent Court is Dead, But Doubts Remain Over the EPO's Appeal Boards' Ability to Rule Independently Against Patents on Nature and Code

    Patents used to cover physical inventions (such as engines); nowadays this just isn't the case anymore and judges who can clarify these questions lack the freedom to think outside the box (and disobey patent maximalists' dogma)



  7. Patent Law Firms Still Desperate to Find New Ways to Resurrect Dead Software Patents in the United States

    There's no rebound and no profound changes that favour software patents; in fact, judging by caselaw, there's nothing even remotely like that



  8. Links 22/3/2019: Libinput 1.13 RC2 and Facebook's Latest Security Scandal

    Links for the day



  9. Why the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Cannot Ignore Judges, Whereas the EPO Can (and Does)

    The European Patent Convention (EPC) ceased to matter, judges' interpretation of it no longer matters either; the EPO exploits this to grant hundreds of thousands of dodgy software patents, then trumpet "growth"



  10. The European Patent Office Needs to Put Lives Before Profits

    Patents that pertain to health have always posed an ethical dilemma; the EPO apparently tackled this dilemma by altogether ignoring the rights and needs of patients (in favour of large corporations that benefit financially from poor people's mortality)



  11. “Criminal Organisation”

    Brazil's ex-President, Temer, is arrested (like other former presidents of Brazil); will the EPO's ex-President Battistelli ever be arrested (now that he lacks diplomatic immunity and hides at CEIPI)?



  12. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  13. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  14. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  15. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  16. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  17. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  18. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  19. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  20. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  21. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  24. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  25. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  26. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  27. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  28. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  29. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  30. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts