11.06.09

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What Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg, Bill Gates, and Al Capone Have in Common

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gangster Rice Dodge Neon

Summary: Groklaw analyses the personal contributions of Brad Silverberg and Bill Gates to crimes against Novell

BACK in January we published the text of a Comes vs Microsoft exhibit [PDF] whose page can be found here. Groklaw now has an analysis of it, which is nicely weaved together with news from the WordPerfect case.

Novell and Microsoft have each filed summary judgment motions in the antitrust litigation about WordPerfect that Novell brought against Microsoft. In addition, we find out what happened regarding the Bill Gates deposition. And neither party can find certain documents that might be in the Comes collection. I wonder if you can?

[...]

It has to do with whether or not Microsoft made certain APIs available, like IShellBrowser, iShellView, iPersistFolder, and iCommDlgBrowser. Novell says Microsoft decided to make those APIs private and iShellFolder a “read only public interface”, making it impossible for Novell to use the namespace extension mechanism or implement it in a customized fashion, so Novell software couldn’t rely on or invoke those APIs. The context is Windows 95 and NT, in the years between 1994 and 1996.

[...]

Update: The BoycottNovell folks have found one. We have it here also, on our Comes Exhibits page, Plaintiffs Exhibit 2158, which is an email from Microsoft’s Satoshi Nakajima, dated October 10, 1994.

[...]

An anonymous comment also mentions 4293 [PDF] (“the way to shut out novell in the base is to either ship a full client or make it so there is no network connectivity” and 5673 [PDF] (Gates, October 3, 1994: “It is time for a decision on IShellBrowser….I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage….Our goal is to have Office ’96 sell better because of the shell integration work…” To which Brad Silverberg wrote: “I will jump in — yes we have to take them out of marvel and capone too.”).

Brad Silverberg is not a particularly nice guy [1, 2] and he can probably be held accountable for many of Microsoft’s crimes that typically come from management, not ordinary programmers who merely follow instructions. Regarding the above article, one blogger argues that “many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack.” Therein we are given credit for work that our reader/contributor has done studying many exhibits; there are many new “smoking guns” yet to be unraveled and only lack of time is an obstruction right now. We could use help from readers.

Further discussion follows a similar line of explanation, as already pointed out in Groklaw comments, e.g. [1, 2]. It seems safe to say that Groklaw has glued together enough PDFs and any additional commentary can be spared. The antitrust exhibits speak for themselves.

In light of all this, the most astounding thing is that Novell pardoned Microsoft and became an ally just weeks after Ray Noorda had passed away.

Jim Allchin on Novell

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3 Comments

  1. Jose_X said,

    November 6, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Gravatar

    This is one case that came out of api that was public and then private or something like that. The thing is that there are any number of internal OS API that we’ll never hear about that give Microsoft apps superior performance and integration advantages.

    This is one major reason why I don’t understand why anyone would develop for the Windows platform if they had a reasonable alternative. It’s pathetic competing in a lopsided playing field. Why would I help their platform (with FOSS) when clearly the give-take is not symmetrical [we are open they are closed and dirty].

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are more examples just like that in here.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    A quote from the May 25, 1981 issue of InfoWorld:
    “Kildall, like many microcomputer entrepreneurs, has been tempted to wear too many hats. “You want all the business for yourself. I see all those application programs that I could write and sell for a couple of hundred dollars each.” He prefers to stay out of the madness, however, not competing with hardware or software vendors. “We don’t need to get greedy, we have plenty of business providing the software tools.””
    Now consider the fact that the only reason MS ended up providing the OS for the IBM PC instead of DR is that DR kind of dropped the ball. (Part of it may be IBM’s fault, I heard that IBM asked DR to sign an NDA that had many problems.)

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