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09.03.07

Bill Gates and His ‘Attack Groups’

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Corel, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites at 6:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates: “With Netscape and Corel working together its nice that we organized ourselves so the group attacking Netscape and the group attacking Corel are under common leadership!”This post is a sequel to a previous and very recent one. It continues the exploration of early days when Novell owned WordPerfect and Microsoft engaged in aggressive (and probably illegal) tactics. The following exhibit brings to light Microsoft’s attack groups [PDF]. It refers to Corel and the roots in Novell.

As the E-mails clearly demonstrate, Robbie Bach is involved here as well and there is a coordinated attack on rivals, as opposed to focus on one’s own products. It’s the pattern that involves outmuscling competitors — something that Cringely spoke about a month ago. Don’t we now see it when Xen gets hijacked, Novell’s Linux plans are subverted and adoption of one unified standard is fought against by Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, who personally pressure some ‘top guns’ in the United States government.

A quick look at the E-mail shows the type of thinking involved (thanks, ‘Doug Mentohl’).

Original Message—-

From: Robert (Robbie) Bach
Sent: Friday, January 17, 1997 8:50 AM
To: Bill Gates
Subject: FW: Netscape: and Corel to Provide Integrated Software
Optimized for Network-Centric Environment

Per our discussion in the hotel room.., this press release actually says they are “jointly developing WordPerfect 8″ and integrating Communicator into that. Combine that with the Corel Java work and I think this does make Netscape a key competitor ….

Robbie

–Original Message—
From: Library News Service

—Original Message—
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Friday, January 17, 1997 12:56 PM
To: Robert (Robbie) Bach
Cc: Richard Fade; Jon E)eVaan; Brad Silverberg
Subject: RE: Netscape: and Corel to Provide Integrated Software
Optimized for Network-Centric Environment

I guess the Groupwise relationship with Novell was structured so that Corel could just ignore it since this attacks that directly. I thought Corel had committed a bunch of royalties for Groupwise and loyalty to Novell. We should have Novell analysts probe this issue.

I do wonder how the pricing between the 2 companies work since they both want to make revenue on these products. We should get Netscape and Corel analysts to probe this issue.

We do need to get our people to evaluate these JAVA products again. I look forward to seeing what the analysis comes up with.

With Netscape and Corel working together its nice that we organized ourselves so the group attacking Netscape and the group attacking Corel are under common leadership! I agree their relationship could get stronger over time with Netscape buying Corel. It would be complex but if they pulled it off it would strengthen them.

–Original Message—-

From: Robert (Robbie) Bach
Sent: Monday, January 20, 1997 4:50 PM
To: Bill Gates
Cc: Richard Fade: Jon DeVaan; Brad Silverberg; Steven Sinofsky; Michael
Hebert; Michael Graft; Brad Chase
Subject: RE: Netscape: and Corel to Provide Integrated Software
Optimized for Network-Centric Environment

You mentioned this in the MYR today…we are following up and calling analysts to get their info on the Netscape/Corel relationship. ..
MikeHeb will forward as soon as we have it. SteveSi is also looking at the latest Corel Java apps they posted.

Thanks
Robbie

From: Steven Sinofsky
Sent: Monday, January 20, 1997 5:24 PM
To: Bill Gates
Subject: FW: Netscape: and Corel to Provide Integrated Software
Optimized for Network-Centric Environment

I sent this to aaron:

it is also http://officeweb/publicl/javaaoffice

This discussion about Java is particularly interesting at these times. Under de Icaza’s technical leadership (among others’), Novell seems to have become a bit of the black sheep to Linux, just like Linspire. Mono is a smoke and mirrors decoy that is intended to give the impression that C# is cross-platform, just like Java. Mono is a weapon against Java, which the text above, as well as many other exhibits show, was one of Microsoft’s greatest fears.

Microsoft’s fear of Corel, Novell and Netscape is explored further in this long correspondence which reveals Microsoft worries [PDF]about Corel entering the Internet video phone business.

The predatory fight over the OEM channel (see this post from a couple of days ago) does not only affect Linux. Corel was affected as well [PDF].

- Original Message -
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, February 28, 1999 4:56 PM
To: Joachim Kempin
Cc: Bob Muglia (Exchange); Bill Neukom (LCA); Steven Sinofsky; Steve Ballmer
Subject: Gateway

Attorney client privileged

I an reading about the Gateway adoption of the Corel software. I am interested to understand what this means better and how it relates to any contracts we have with them.

- Original Message -
From: Joachim Kempin
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 1999 3:59 PM
To: Richard Fade
Subject: FW: Gateway

could you update us on all the details please.

- Original Message -
From: Richard Fade
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 1999 4:56 11:35 AM
To: Joachim Kempin; Bill Gates; Allen Wilcox (LCA); Steve Ballmer;
Steven Sinofsky; Bob Muglia (Exchange); Robert (Robbie); Bach; Ruthann
Lorentzen
Subject: Gateway

Attorney client privileged

We renegotiated Gateway’s application agreement in November. This included Office 2000 on the G-Pro and high end of the G-Series models. It also included renewing their Work Suite license for those G-Series products not shipped with Office SBE. At the time they were planning a new platform which would allow them to offer configurations > $1,000. Gateway prices are for full systems including a monitor. At the time they were unsure of their costs and held back committing to Works Suite on this low end product line.

So these low end systems are not covered by our existing contract. They have now divided G – Series into “Performance” and “Essential” lines, the Corel bundle is on the Essential line. They did this deal with Corel and informed us after the fact.

Gateway represented that their low end buyers ere indifferent about the WP / tools they provided. Price was their decision criteria – we have not been complacent. We believe the Corel offer for WP Suite is $2 – #$3. We had a similar situation in the past 60 days at Dell, where we were able to retain all of our current business.

We are working on recovering this business, I met with Peter Ashkin (now Gateway Sr. VP for Products) last Friday on this and other issues. We have a shot at regaining for this summer.

Prebundling and marketing to OEMs (not customers) has always been a strength. How about concentrating on good products however?

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