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Billwatch Snippets Database – Part I

Snippet: At several place the news popped up
that the DOJ is not only in court to hear it said that they are right,
but that the idea behind the whole thing is to eradicate domination
from the structure of the computer and software industry and that
something will have to follow up the court sessions.
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-07 22:24:00

Snippet: Several consumer groups have bundled
their efforts and handed over to the Senate Judiciary Committee a
115-page report that harshly criticizes Microsoft’s impact on
innovation and user choice in the computer industry.

The article
referred to mentions it in several paragraphs, although it doesn’t
feature it. When more information becomes available, I’ll post it as
attachments.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2146359,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-07 22:36:46

Snippet: Microsoft would gladly be liked in
academia, but their efforts to force loose information from two
academic writers seems to have an adverse effect.

In a statement of the American Association of University Professors we find:

Society
is the beneficiary of unrestricted research,’ AAUP Counsel Jonathan
Alger says. ‘We all stand to lose if scholars are forced to disclose
confidential information,’ he reports, ‘because, as stated in AAUP?s
1990 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the common
good is served by the ‘free search for truth and its free exposition.’
Courts have recognized that research is protected as an element of
academic freedom.

You can find the full statement here:
http://www.aaup.org/pr102ms.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-07 23:46:37

Snippet: The New York Times is running an
accessible article in which several allegiations in the antitrust case
against Microsoft treated with some care: the attempted collusion with
Netscape followed by the well-known leverage of a monopoly market to
increase share in another market, breaking Spyglass’ business (82
licensees) by giving away its own license of the browser for free,
threathening Compaq with denial of access to their essential facility,
the Windows OS, and keeping Intel out of the software market.

The
usual pro-Microsoft bias of the NYT is reflected in the “disclaimer” at
the end of the article that ascribes all the good of the software
industry to Microsoft.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/10/biztech/articles/08microsoft.html

(You’ll need to register to gain access.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-08 21:40:46

Snippet: Microsoft’s arguments for getting
access to the notes and tapes of interviews that two academicians held
with Netscape executives were considered insufficient for Judge Richard
Stearns.

Actually, Microsoft’s claims were rather ridiculous,
as they claimed that these notes were supposed to contradict the DOJ’s
case by showing that bad business decisions at Netscape are the root of
the falling market share. This is pretty much like calling in an expert
on cancer explaining that the smoking of the victim could have been
mortal, so we shouldn’t attribute his death to the bullet.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27313,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-08 22:19:29

Snippet: Allegedly CNET reporter used
confidential internal e-mail from Microsoft in his article “Microsoft’s
holy war against java”. Sufficient reason to receive a subpoena to hand
over the material. According to Microsoft Tom Pilla Microsoft
competitors are responsible for leaking confidential information in a
selective manner. Of course, Microsoft could have avoided the evils of
selection by not prohibiting the public from gaining knowledge of the
information.

See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/log/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-09 00:39:04

Snippet: Microsoft’s high principles against
government regulation stop where the government uses its exclusive
position to prevent people from chosing and offers them only Microsoft
products.

This is what we see in several states at this moment,
where Microsoft is dumping its Office Suite through education officials
to gain market share at universities.

NetAction’s Nathan Newman (read his papers!) wrote an article about the matter: http://www.netaction.org/monitor/mon35.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-09 03:13:07

Snippet: With the trial coming up, the intensity
of speculation increases. Right now, there seems to be a wave of
“something must be done, but there are better alternatives to breaking
up Microsoft” articles.

Jesse Berst refers to several alternatives in his “Why breaking up Microsoft is hard to do — and stupid too”:
http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_2634.html
Note that one of his arguments is that breaking up takes too long.

One of his references is a reprint of the SPA proposal (now where did I have the original):
http://www.zdnet.com/sr/breaking/980406/980408c.html

What
is most notable is that more voices are heard in the press that at
least something must be done. Microsoft’s claims that its competitors
were the driving force behind the whole antitrust case is beginning to
lose its credibility.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-09 06:44:42

Snippet: A few days ago several consumer
organisations handed a 115-page report to the Senate Judiciary
Committee that was highly critical of the combination of Microsoft’s
market position with their behavior. Although the link is very much
never made, Microsoft seems to have felt to urge to respond. I
annotated the result

You can find Microsoft’s article here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/10-7pricing.htm

My annotation is here: http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-09 09:46:03

Snippet: The DOJ had to go to court again to ask
it to compel Microsoft to hand over the requested databases with
information on OEM’s. Jackson had seen what the DOJ had actually
received from Microsoft and called it “gibberish”.

The reason
why this side allows one to attach quotes is the following: they are
relatively simply to retrieve when requested. When the government went
to court with its request, Microsoft’s spokesperson Mark Murray’s
comment was:

“We have cooperated 100 percent in the government
investigation and we will continue to do whatever we can to assist
because we think the facts are on our side.”

Given judge
Jackson’s evaluation of what Microsoft’s “cooperation” consisted of, we
can say that Mr. Murray misinformed us about the degree of cooperation
that Microsoft gave to the government. The reflects negatively on the
credibility of Mr. Murray.

You can find the article at:
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2147440,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-09 23:54:54

Snippet: As it reason for not complying with the
order to make their OEM databases accessible to the DOJ Microsoft gave
that “four GigaBytes is a lot of documents”.

First of all, four
gigabytes is the amount of harddisk storage that is available on my
personal computer. One can get it for some $150. I guess the
$200,000,000,000+ company is not complaining about that.

What
remains is inability. Perhaps the documents are scattered and Microsoft
is unable to write search scripts to retrieve them. Or they are unable
to port the databases and/or the access programs to a new harddisk.
Anyway, Microsoft’s present claim implies a claim that they are not up
to the task of handling enterprise data. If they can’t deal with 4Gig
data despite their “100% cooperation” one had better not believe that
they are ready to deal with enterprise level databases.

See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/msftdoj/TWB19981009S0014

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-11 17:23:59

Snippet: Microsoft graciously allowed the New York Times to publish a rephrasing of a memo by Mr. William H. Gates III himself.

We
are told that Mr. Gates is returning to his “programmer-geek roots”. It
doesn’t strike the New York Times as odd that Mr. Gates has had the
financial opportunity to do this for many years now and that this move
coincides with the present antitrust lawsuit during which Microsoft
seeks to create the image that they are so obsessed with product
quality that they don’t notice the market.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gates’
“geek-thoughts” seem to center on the destruction of the last
independent software companies in the world: IBM, Oracle, Sun and
Netscape, actually companies that aim primarily at hardware and
services. Mobile phone companies that don’t subject themselves to
Microsoft in a market in which it enters as a new player are considered
a “threat” by Mr. Gates.

And do we find the slightest indication
that Mr. Gates will actually focus on technology? Nope. Apparently, the
New York Times is a very gullible publication.

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/076526.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 00:20:36

Snippet: Microsoft’s presspass contains an interesting piece concerning their filing of three motions to the Federal District Court.

What
is interesting is not so much the filing or the gist of the matter, but
rather Microsoft’s opting out of the English language:

“This
is just the latest confirmation that the government is walking away
from the case it filed and seeking to expand that case by introducing
extraneous issues.”

To me “walking away” seems like
“abandoning”. What is so strange is the Microsoft is at the same time
claiming that the government is “walking away” from its original case
and “expanding” it. The latter implies that they maintain their earlier
position which contradicts the “walking away”.

From the fact
that two new witnesses were added to the governments’ case, Microsoft
concludes that the case is expanded and that they should therefore be
granted another delay until 2 November. This is a strange argument: if
the witnesses have nothing to say that is pertinent to the case, their
testimonies will be without value to the DOJ. On the other hand, if
their testimony is pertinent to the case, Microsoft could have prepared
for them without knowing who they were, as they were able to prepare
for everything that is pertinent to the case. What could Microsoft
gain, except the delay that allows them to continue their monopolistic
abuses?

See: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/10-12objects.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 00:39:58

Snippet: In an excellent ZDNet article Microsoft’s offensive to conquer the database market is laid out.

(The
navigation is non-intuitive: there are no “next” buttons so you’ll have
to use the “menu” – if it is too long to you taste, make sure that you
don’t skip the last page.)

See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/issue/0,4537,358663,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 10:56:10

Snippet: A Microsoft spokesperson declared that
the US trial doesn’t negatively influence its European business. Hardly
news, as nobody expected that it would. If you are still interested,
see: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27464,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh

Another
article reports that the EU is still looking into Microsoft’s contracts
with ISP’s and is most certainly not going to look beyond that anytime
soon. See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27465,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh

Don’t waste your time on these articles, expect if you are European and starved for news.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 21:07:02

Snippet: San Jose Mercury News’ Dan Gilmor has
created a nice page with pictures of personalities that you can click
on to read what they have to say on the antitrust case.

Of
course, I started reading Linus Torvald’s comment first and found him a
wise analyst of the present. Second I read Mitch Kapor’s and found him
a profet I pretty much agree with.

Well, I haven’t read the rest of the comments so far.

See for yourself: http://www.sjmercury.com/columnists/gillmor/docs/dg101198.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 21:27:00

Snippet: Microsoft presently chastises the DOJ
for even thinking about the effects of breaking up Microsoft or other
alternatives such as having another company sell Windows too.

What
is strange is not that the DOJ seems to entertain such thoughts but
rather that so little of it is entertained. Why bother about the
lawsuit if no remedies are thought of? After all, if nobody can think
of a way to improve the present situation, then what is the lawsuit
good for? It’s about time that many minds consider how the structure of
the industry can be improved, if only to be able to appreciate its
present state.

Anyway, see:http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2148805,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 21:43:43

Snippet: We have been bothered much with
opinions, wild speculations and life histories of lawyers. I am quite
happy to see someone investing in some very sane advice for the public
on how to go through the trial: get your data firsthand and think for
yourself.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2148075,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-13 22:12:49

Snippet: After the New York Times played
messenger boy for Microsoft and after the grand “principle of
innovation” rhetorics, one would expect Microsoft’s new “chief
technologist” to be engaged fully in, well, technology, right?

Wrong.
Mr. Gates is presently touring the US to gain political support for
Microsoft as it is engaged in its antitrust case. Just like any other
politician he isn’t greeted with undivided acclaim.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctd639.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-14 21:22:20

Snippet: During his tour to raise political support for Microsoft, Gates spawned the usual “right to innovate” slogans.

A
member of the public asked him to name the three most important
Microsoft innovations. Gates’ answers were rather bleak: Microsoft
decided to develop software according to common industry standards
(that is, they were chosen by IBM to represent the “industry
standard”); Windows NT was the first commercial software system
designed from scratch (is that why it is an innovation, how is Be
faring today?); furthermore, Microsoft seeks to let NT handle
high-volume transactions.

When Gartner analyst Scott Winkler
answered that all Microsoft was apparently doing was to use existing
technology and apply their own business model to it, Gates answered
that Microsoft pours a lot of money in the recognition of speech and
handwriting.

Results? No, but they pour money into R&D like mad.

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/043659.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-14 22:52:34

Snippet: There is nothing specifically new about
the information John Dvorak gives when criticising Microsoft’s claim
that the plans for inclusion of “web browsing technology” into Windows
were made many years ago.

The reason why I mention this article
anyway is that it shows an important change of attitude in the press:
writers take the trouble to check on the facts to verify Microsoft’s
claims.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_rc_display/0,3443,2148858,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-15 20:44:15

Snippet: The Bristol case has opened. The verdict is to be expected on Friday. See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27577,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh

Microsoft’s request for yet another delay of the trial has been denied. See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/008672.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-15 21:16:11

Snippet: The Gartner Group expects an all Wintel
world in a few years. Perhaps there can be a niche market of java
systems but otherwise we’ll see Windows on Intel on the desktop and the
server and Windows CE on Intel’s StrongARM.

I think that these
conclusions are corroborated by Compaq’s intention to migrate Digital
customers to Windows NT, its unstated intention to fade out Digital’s
fast alpha processor, and HP’s move to Intel plus Microsoft. Actually,
HP is moving a research facility in Redmond. These companies are surely
not going to compete with Microsoft, so, who is?

See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19981013S0008

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-15 21:24:19

Snippet: Microsoft invested in, and commissioned
Softways Systems Inc. to put a POSIX level on top of NT. Now this has
been branded “UNIX”(tm).

Microsoft also has developed an add-on to NT, NT Services for Unix, (SFU) that makes NT systems look more like Unix ones.

I say, if Microsoft is in the UNIX/NT integration business, are they not a direct competitor to Bristol?

See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/news/0,4538,2149485,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-16 08:40:47

Snippet: This weekend the analysis of
Microsoft’s 43-page public defense will start. The falsity of many of
Microsoft’s claims is easy to show, but it takes an awful lot of work.
Take for example Microsoft’s claim that Linux was developed by a single
person. “grep N: /usr/src/linux/CREDITS |wc -l” says 252. I have
quickly browsed the document and have found many more instances of
misrepresentations that can thus be uncovered and answered. This
weekend the results of a cursory going through the document will be
released at billwatch, with an invitation to the public to participate
in the further “debugging” of the document.

——
Gates: “We
think it was a pretty obvious thing to get the browser capability built
into the operating system,” Gates said. We’re very confident that kind
of innovation is a great thing.”
Observation by James Jones: “Hmm, how can something obvious be innovative?”

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-16 08:57:21

Snippet: Microsoft has often claimed that the
government cannot judge their actions as it doesn’t understand how
business in the computer and software industry works.

They never
volunteer to give an explanation, so we must do our own research.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to look far as Boycott Microsoft’s
Mitch Stone has already compiled “The (nearly) whole Microsoft
Catalog”. Roy Bixler converted it from HTML to SQL and thus it ended up
in the database powering Billwatch.

The catalog gives us some
insight in the ways in which Microsoft obtains and markets its
products. Many products were simply purchased from startup companies
and looking at the list one can believe that WebTV and Windows CE are
going to make it through Microsoft’s investments in cable companies.

Mitch Stone wrote in his introduction to the catalog:
“Some
high technology companies may be burdened with the ‘not invented here’
syndrome, but Microsoft is obviously not one of them. Less the toiler
in the field, Microsoft may be more accurately pictured as playing the
part of the plantation owner, reaping a harvest based on what others
sow.”

You can find the page of “MS investments” under the
“Background” menu on the left. You might prefer, however, to look at
the Boycott Microsoft pages containing the catalog: they have a better
introduction, a list of credits (oops here), and are split in four
pages.
See: http://www.vcnet.com/bms/departments/catalog.html

Updates and rectifications are invited.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-16 23:22:17

Snippet: Quoting from the DOJ’s “FURTHER EMERGENCY MOTION TO COMPEL MICROSOFT CORPORATION AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT” of 16 October:

“Microsoft
counsel has continued to refuse to permit plaintiffs to see or retrieve
information in the specific databases identified in Plaintiffs Third
Joint Requests relating to certain core issues in this case — sales,
shipments, and pricing of Windows and Internet Explorer — if that
information does not happen to be labeled as “OEM transactions” in the
database.”

The media has been very low-key on the important
topic of database access. Therefore you are encouraged to read the
legal briefs instead (good reading actually):
The present emergency motion can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f1900/1989.htm

If you want to track what was requested in the first place, see: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f1900/1979.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-17 09:16:47

Snippet: The DOJ seems to have learned an
important lesson from the Appeals Court: it should obtain the right
credentials for talking about technology.

And so it went out to
talk to just about every company that is labeled “OS vendor” to talk
about the criteria for integrating new features in operating systems,
specifically about integrating internet related features.

See Mary Jo Foley’s: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2150958,00.html

(Perhaps I should make a menu-button that leads to a “Mary Jo Foley” search at ZDNET.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-17 09:36:48

Snippet: Friday Bristol was granted access to
all of the depositions and exhibits that have been entered in the
lawsuits of the DOJ, Sun, Caldera and AT&T versus Microsoft.

Ridiculing
their month-long resistence against access, Microsoft spokesperson Tom
Pilla told the press that access to these documents is “standard
procedure in these kinds of cases”.

I find access to the
AT&T case especially interesting, as AT&T’s lawsuit was similar
to that of Bristol Technology. AT&T settled with Microsoft on
conditions that were kept secret, but were rumored to be that AT&T
left the business in exchange for a sum of money.

Bristol’s lawyers will have to hurry as the trial is scheduled to end next Monday.

See yet another Mary Jo Foley article:
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2150648,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-17 09:56:34

Snippet: I have little to say about Dan Gilmor’s
“Intuit battle started what this trial should finish: justice”, except
that it pleases me. Here is a fragment:

“I’d argue that the
Justice Department’s actions over the past several years have already
had a small but perceptible effect. Microsoft is as arrogant as ever in
responding to its critics, but it has been forced to modify some of the
more outrageous practices. More and more people are learning how
brutally the company conducts its business, meanwhile, and skeptical
public scrutiny is only just beginning.

Despite the torrent of
leaks in recent weeks, the antitrust trial is all but certain to
produce additional evidence of Microsoft’s core values — a culture of
brilliance that has been irreparably disfigured by casual disrespect
and skewed ethics, all emanating from the top of the organization
chart.”

When the press resumes its critical function like this,
I’ll happily close down this site and move to things that give me more
satisfaction.

For the full editorial, see: http://www.mercurycenter.com/columnists/gillmor/docs/dg101898.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-18 15:47:24

Snippet: Seeing if anything worth knowing had happened I turned to Mercury News, news.com, zdnet and cnnfn.com.

The
first two sites had several articles but little news. ZDNet had Jesse
Berst’s brinkmanship of speculation, supporting Microsoft and at the
same time bargaining for freedom from Microsoft.

Cnnfn is the
best polished pro-Microsoft source that you will find. Unlike e.g.
ZDNet, Cnn’s technique consists not of spawning opinions, but of
selection and focusing. It writes its opinion pieces not by making
claims but by choosing which information to show and what to ignore.

So,
here is my little piece of advice. Don’t bother with the “middle man”.
Go to the sources directly, that is, the DOJ and Microsoft.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-19 19:49:59

Snippet: The reason Microsoft gives for the
non-decreasing price of their OS in an industry of falling prices is
that they have added new components to it.

The most salient new
component of Windows98, the one thing aside from some driver updates
and bug fixes that differentiates it from Windows95, is Microsoft
Internet Explorer.

Will the ladies and gentlemen of the press
please note that – according to their own claims on OS pricing -
Microsoft is charging money for this MSIE “component” instead of giving
it away for free.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-19 22:51:50

Snippet: The point of an antitrust case is not
to break a company, but to keep the option of competition open. Nothing
bad will happen to Microsoft’s market share if java were allowed to
exist: so what if consumers can freely swap the OS’s underneat the JVM,
they’ll first have to find a better or cheaper one than Windows.

Similarly, nothing much will happen if Microsoft can no longer force OEM’s and ISP’s to ship their software exclusively.

The
antitrust suit might be a necessary condition for restoring the market,
but it will do nothing to actually change market shares. For that to
happen there must also be alternatives.

The following Salon Magazine article touches this topic:
http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/rose/1998/10/16straight.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-19 23:01:25

Snippet: Bizarre arithmetic forms the foundation
of Microsoft’s argumentation in court. “These [exclusive] contracts
[with OEM's and ISP's] were pro-competitive because they reduced
Netscape’s dominance. They gave consumers a choice.”

It is
surprising to see Microsoft in court defend regulatory measures against
Netscape’s formerly monopolistic market shares. Of course, market share
per se is not damaging to competition, so there was no call for
regulation. Microsoft’s strange logic suggests that competition in the
OS market could be stimulated by forbidding OEM’s to pre-install
Windows on their machines.

Microsoft’s less-is-more arithmetic saying that consumers are given more choice is choice is limited is outrageous.

So
how is Microsoft going to win this case if their lead attorney utters
plain absurdities? Well, by playing the martyr, by saying that the bad
boys say that they are the “great Satan”.

Well, go find yourself some context to put the above in perspective. I got this information from: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/trial/breaking/docs/mstrial102098.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-20 22:13:27

Snippet: After their earlier temporary ruling in
favor of Microsoft’s request to keep the depositions sealed, a
three-judge federal appeals court panel considered the public release
of pretrial depositions conform to the law.

After a stimulating discussion, the panel adjourned without specifying when they would make a decision.

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/trial/breaking/docs/depositions102098.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-21 00:11:40

Snippet: It seems that an Italian software tradegroup has filed an antitrust case against Microsoft.

In English I found only a very short Computerworld announcement:
http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/9810121msoft

The
mentioned “expected” date has meanwhile passed and it seems that the
suit is indeed filed. I can’t read Italian, but the following page
seems quite serious about “IACT-Italia vs Microsoft”: http://www.ogcs.com/iact-italia/sources/iact-ric.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-21 08:29:34

Snippet: Airlines are alleged to be unfairly
discriminating in giving online bookings through e.g. Microsoft’s
“Expedia” a lower commission than those through travel agencies.

Richard Barton, the general manager of Expedia, says: “It’s very disconcerting. How can we compete?”

After
some lobbying “Microsoft and others” got the Department of
Transportation to investigate whether or not they suffer from
heavy-handed competition.

The Air Transport Association
commented – among other points – that these online booking services
compete directly with the websites of some of the airlines. Why would
they raise the commission to the competition?

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-21 08:50:30

Snippet: One reason for the EU’s not pursuing an
antitrust case against Microsoft is that they have not received a
complaint. This seems like a very good reason to me. Also it seem to me
that something can be done about that.

I was clueless on how to
start, but CPT’s James Love wrote the following to a mailing list and I
guess it would suit his purpose if it is reproduced:

“If someone
lives in Europe, they can make a written complaint to Directorate
General IV in Brussels, asking for an antitrust action. There is a
formal proceeding that DG IV has to follow. The web address for DG IV
is http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg04/index_en.htm

These guys are supposed to work for the public. File a complaint and ask that they work for you.”

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-21 09:05:15

Snippet: Having a monopoly to escape the
necessity to lower prices in an industry where falling prices are the
rule has paid off handsomely.

MS announced record profits of $1.52 billion for the most recently ended quarter, and predicts stronger 2Q earnings.

More here:
http://www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZE203195

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-21 09:07:45

Snippet: Microsoft’s claims that they intended
to integrate browser functionality even before Netscape was founded
throws a whole new light on the value of integration in the OS. But,
as I argue, not the kind that they anticipated.

See the article in the “features” menu with the title “Intentions without incentive”.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-22 01:06:49

Snippet: If Microsoft was so innovative for 23
years, has so many extremely intelligent and hardworking employees and
started on web browsers before Netscape did, then why did they lag
behind so much?
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-23 01:01:42

Snippet: Microsoft is doing its best to make
Netscape’s actions resemble their own. For one thing, Netscape sought
to gain a large market share – or why not, a monopoly – in web browsers
to be able to sell their servers.

Of course, the comparison is
invalid as one element is excluded: Microsoft’s Windows monopoly.
Netscape merely sought a monopoly to leverage it, while Microsoft
actually has one to leverage.

Netscape’s market share has
meanwhile dropped below the monopoly mark so no antitrust action is
necessary against them. Windows’ market share is only growing while it
is being used as a means to acquire increasing shares of other markets.

Microsoft’s
present questioning of Mr. Barksdale is not relevant to the matter for
which Microsoft is in court: they have a monopoly and leveraged it to
gain market share in several other markets. Nothing that Netscape did
or did not do can undo that.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-23 01:18:06

Snippet: I just entered a snippet in the dark
and quiet corner of this site titled “open forum”, requesting quotes of
Microsoft executives or consults hired by Microsoft that include
name-calling of parties that they dislike.

Even in court, Microsoft’s strategy to victory seems to be to give rude names to anybody who disagrees with them.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-23 08:49:35

Snippet: Enterprises can now “buy into the
Microsoft vision” by signing the “Microsoft Enterprise Agreement”. This
will give them large discounts on Microsoft front- and backoffice
products for a three- or four year period. Aside from the long term – a
standard strategy of a monopolist, you can look it up in the books -
the catch of these agreements is that they are not volume-accounts by
numbers, but volume accounts by exclusion: by signing one agrees to not
buy software with similar functionality from other parties.
Incidentally, two American states have already “bought into the
Microsoft vision”. Expect these states to set up regulations that any
dealings with them will have to use proprietary Microsoft data formats.

Microsoft
claims that these agreements make up an increasing percentage of their
revenues, “though not a meaningful percentage”. This seems to be their
way to refer publicly to one third of their revenues, that is, more
than they get from the shrink-wrapped packages you find so prominently
in every computer store.

See Mary Jo Foley’s: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_rc_display/0,3443,2153066,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-24 21:38:22

Snippet: An antitrust case is about actions of
companies described in an economical vocabulary. “Monopoly” is
primarily an economical term, not a legal term and most certainly not a
term that is related to computer or software technology.

Computer
magazines have no special competence for dealing with the economical
vocabulary and are therefore not the place to look for good coverage of
the antitrust case.

As I was earlier presently surprised by
Businessweek’s ability to analyse matters, I can now warmly recommend
the following Red Herring article by Owen Thomas. Some emphasis is
placed on Microsoft’s ability to pre-empt market decisions by buying
startups and deciding what technologies will be further developed to
become the “standard”.

See: http://www.redherring.com/insider/1998/1021/microsoft.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-24 22:16:43

Snippet: Claim 1: The government acts as a proxy for Microsoft’s competitors, especially Netscape.
Claim
2: Microsoft must innovate to keep ahead of the fiery throng of
competitors that will overtake it technologically and therefore in the
market if they stand still for a moment.
Claim 3: By turning itself
against the integration of the browser and the OS the government’s
actions represent a “return of the Luddites”, that is, the people who
smashed machinery as they wanted to continue their manual trades.

Mr.
John Warden, Microsoft’s lead attorney in the antitrust case, holds all
these claims in court and he thereby shows that logical consequence is
either something beyond his abilities or something he prefers to ignore.

If
the government is indeed holding back Microsoft but not its
competitors, Mr. Warden’s own claims of the competive environment
Microsoft operates in, should lead him to believe that technological
development can perhaps be delayed for – supposedly slight – gap
between Microsoft and its competitors, but most certainly not stopped
or destroyed altogether as the claim of government Luddism implies.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-24 23:02:58

Snippet: A hardly readable version of the notes
that Marc Andreessen claims to have made during a Netscape-Microsoft
meeting on future cooperation is now available from the DOJ’s site.

Given
the PalmOS follow-up I find nothing particularly unlikely about the
notes. Information about Microsoft’s undocumented API is something one
can’t buy on the market, it is available only through “partnership”.

You can download it in PDF format from: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/033.pdf

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-25 15:29:59

Snippet: For one thing, Microsoft now has $17 billion in the bank, that is, about the entire worth of Sun and half the worth of Oracle.

Microsoft’s
chief financial officer, Greg Maffei, mentions that Microsoft’s result
is not alone, because many other companies also reported better results
than estimated. Although this does show that Microsoft’s results are
“not unique” wrt being better than estimated, it doesn’t show – as
claimed – that Microsoft’s are generally “not unique”. Actually,
several companies did merely better than the bad estimates.

It
is quite interesting to see how IBM posted better results than expected
due to better PC sales and IBM is not mentioned in the list of “six
largest software companies” mentioned by Mr. Maffei. Clearly, IBM is
more of a hardware company, on a par with the rest of the OEM’s than a
competitor to Microsoft in the software business, as Microsoft
spokespersons have been claiming lately.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27849,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-25 18:26:54

Snippet: Reasoning that the video-tape with the
deposit of William H. Gates is equal to having the real-thing in court,
Microsoft lawyers now claim that showing this tape would effectively
come down to the government’s adding another witness to the list. Well,
I have often had the impression that Mr. Gates’ answering questions is
just “running the tape again”.

Apparently, when the government
seeks to present more data aside from those “watercooler conversations”
in the email medium, such as information from databases on the sales of
Windows and Internet Explorer, or the deposit of Mr. Gates, Microsft
sees fit to hide it.

Given that Microsoft has often claimed that
such-and-such will change hir mind when zhe knows the facts, it is
unlikely that critics ever will change their minds given Microsoft’s
prevention of facts being represented.

I wonder when someone in
the media is going to have sufficient sense and decency to call
Microsoft’s claim RIDICULOUS that Netscape’s giving away their browser
away for free since January 1998 was a followup of Mr. Andreessen’s
email that they would do so in 1994, even though they charged money for
it in the intermediary period.

For more on these topics, see: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27918,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-26 09:08:35

Snippet: After claiming that the notes of Marc
Andreessen were faked and also that the meeting didn’t even take place,
the latest Microsoft position is that the meeting in which they were
alleged to seek to collude with Netscape was an attempt by Netscape to
spur DOJ action against Microsoft.

Believing that everybody is
always plotting against oneself is a basic characteristic of paranoia.
Off topic, it reminds me of Roman Polanski’s film “Repulsion”. Given
that associaton, I’d say that paranoia is dangerous.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2154975,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-26 21:09:42

Snippet: You can follow the following link for a
rather lame article containing an excerpt of an interview with
antitrust theoretician Robert Bork, who is presently employed by
Netscape.

See: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/9810/25/bork_intv/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-26 22:26:06

Snippet: Rather late, I encountered a techweb
interview with Wendy Rohm, author of “The Microsoft file: the secret
case against Bill Gates”.

The interview is mostly about the
validity of the methods ms Rohm used to obtain her information on the
one hand and present them on the other. Microsoft calls this “fiction”,
but ms Rohm contends that it is standard practice for non-fiction
journalistic practice.

See: http://www.techweb.com/internet/profile/wrohm/interview

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-26 22:45:22

Snippet: Microsoft relegated Ms Rohm’s book to the category of “fiction”.

As
far as possible given the restraint of keeping the identity of sources
secret she has now released more information on her sources.

See: http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl?/features/981026msfile.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 00:34:12

Snippet: Salon Magazine created the hypothesis
that Microsoft’s consistently making good money despite economical
turbulance and changing technology might be due to their monopoly
position. Not altogether deep, but something that received notoriously
little mention in the media.

Also they ridicule John Warden’s
claim that “One person in Helsinki can quickly write the core of a
sophisticated operating system.” Remember this one the next time
Microsoft tells that the government is not competent to judge
technological matters.

See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/rose/1998/10/23straight.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 08:56:23

Snippet: Following their regular schema of
conference EU and US antitrust investigators will meet tomorrow. Given
that specific items will be discussed, Microsoft’s position will form
part of the discussions.

EU Competition Commissioner Karel van
Miert noted that the EU’s actions against Microsoft w.r.t. ISP’s
preceded that of the US and that “We will examine any other complaints
if any. It’s not because the United States are handling Microsoft that
we should sit around idly.”

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27980,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 20:45:07

Snippet: After arguing that the meeting never
took place, Microsoft has started to claim that the June 21, 1995
meeting with Netscape was the result of a devious plan by Netscape to
“set-up” Microsoft and sent the DOJ after them.

The problem with
the first theory was that evidence that was according to the DOJ
subpoenaed for the MSN icon case – and therefore not part of the
evidence that had to be handed over to Microsoft now – showed that the
meeting actually did take place and that both the DOJ and a Netscape
lawyer were informed shortly after the meeting.

Microsoft’s
problem now is two-fold: 1. the notes of Andreessen really seem to be
real so they have to explain what all this talk about drawing lines
meant, and 2. Microsoft claimed that the collusion proposal was a
“concoction” – which effectively means that a.) the notes might well be
written at the time, but they didn’t truthfully represent what was said
during the conference b.) the Microsoft employees present at the
meeting were not asked about what took place by Microsoft’s attorney,
c.) these employees all lied to Microsoft’s attorney, or d.)
Microsoft’s attorney chose to misrepresent his knowledge that the
meeting actually took place.

Strangely, Mr. Warden seems to grab
the first option only insofar as he claims that Microsoft was “set-up”.
From the information I could find, I did not find an indication that he
fights the reality of the words. Apparently, the notes are correct and
Mr. Warden attempts to raise a smoke-screen to hide that one of the
last mentioned three options must be true. This casts a highly
unflattering light on those involved with this case at Microsoft’s side.

Also
discussed is Netscape’s inability to live up to Intuit’s stated
demands. Good, I like some real information. Of course, Netscape’s
apparent incompetence does not imply that Microsoft did not leverage
it’s OS monopoly to get the order.

My source is: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27935,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 21:18:04

Snippet: Ever out to simplify matters, Microsoft
will rename the NT family to Windows 2000. Thus it will “make it easier
for customers to choose among products”. So, Windows 2000 is closely
tied to NT 4 and has nothing to do with Windows 98. And don’t think
this “2000″ stands for some year, as it will come out in early 1999.
Could it be simpler?

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2155796,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 21:34:11

Snippet: Just for exercising our knowledge of
the basics of antitrust law I want to point to a rather “journalistic”
primer by Businessweek: http://www.courttv.com/trials/microsoft/primer.html
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-27 23:13:48

Snippet: To be placed on the Windows desktop AOL had to drop any reference to Netscape on its site and couldn’t advertise with Netscape.

Microsoft’s
claim that AOL chose MSIE exclusively for technological excellence
implies that AOL was not interested in having a place on the Windows
desktop. Highly unlikely.

For the article and some interesting
quotes (including a very stupid one by a Netscape executive – well, I
am not here to defend Netscape but to promote competition):
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28017,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-28 09:10:12

Snippet: Microsoft senior vice president for
Consumer Systems Paul Maritz wrote the above 20 days before the alleged
proposal for market division to Chairman Bill Gates.

Ah, all this “throwing mud” by showing email messages from “junior staffers”.

Mr. Warden’s defense consisted of changing the meaning of win32.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2156160,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-28 20:47:09

Snippet: For months I have been frustrated about
Microsoft’s success in enforcing secrecy on the evidence regarding the
antitrust case. With the trial proceeding, exhibits now become
available. If you haven’t checked it yet, you might do yourself a favor
by taking a look at what is hidden in the PDF files at the DOJ: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_index.htm

Note
that several repositories of legal documents are directly available
from the menu on the left. I hardly ever check Microsoft’s own list,
but I trust that the media will keep me up to date in that regard.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-29 00:16:31

Snippet: The Business Software Association
released a report on the detrimental effects of software piracy. It is
a textbook example of bad “ceteris paribus” economics – let’s assume
that everything else remains the same.

Assumptions of the report are:

1. Those who pirate copies would alternatively pay the full price of that same copy.
In
other words, re-evaluation of “buying” decisions on the basis of
pricing without the “piracy-option” is not included in the calculation.
(Of course that would be too difficult, but then, don’t draw
conclusions if you can’t support them.) So if 98% of the software in
Vietnam is pirated the report counts Vietnam being able to pay for all
of it.

2. When twice as much money flows to the software
industry, the job structure will be copied: same percentage working on
development, on shipping-and-handling, training and technical support
etc.
Thus the report assumes that those using the pirated copies do
not use training and support, that the number of jobs in
shipping-and-handling will double if twice as much packages are
delivered and that twice as many copies sold will lead to twice as many
software developers being employed (anyone know where to get them?).

3.
Jobs that are created as the result of payments by employees and
businesses in the software industry and taxes paid by them should be
included.
This is a very charming idea, but it doesn’t show a net
effect: if the money doesn’t flow to the software industry it flows
elsewhere and taxes are still being paid.

4. An extra $10
billion dollar payment to the software industry will have no negative
effect on the sectors of the economy on the paying side.
This is ridiculous.

Furthermore,
no account is given of “giving-away” actions, e.g. how many jobs were
lost as the result of Microsoft’s giving away MSIE instead of letting
people buy Netscape’s Navigator? Much software in general use is free
and for many expensive packages such as Windows free alternatives
exists. Would replacing payware with free software have detrimental
effects on the economy?

Well, see for yourself: http://www.bsa.org/statistics/index.html?/statistics/global_pwc98_c.html

(I am not defending software piracy, I am fighting misleading information about it.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-29 11:15:44

Snippet: Apple’s engineers managed to
significantly speed up video under Windows by by-passing Microsoft’s
graphics code and speaking directly to the video hardware. Microsoft
liked the result and requested Apple for a free license of the
technology. Obviously this didn’t fit in Apple’s business model and
they refused.

Key parts of the code were developed for Apple by
a third party and this sold the same code to Intel shortly thereafter.
By this way Microsoft got hold of it and put in into Windows95. Good
reason for Apple to sue Microsoft and good reason for Microsoft to
settle out of court for the well-known $150 million non-voting stock.

Anyone remember Stack? There is a pattern to Microsoft’s “innovation”.

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/981029-000002.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-29 21:19:03

Snippet: WebTV’s original enthouasiasm about an
open standard java – the java-compatible logo was printed on the boxes
- has disappeared with its being acquired by Microsoft.

WebTV will not support java until its boxes will run WinCE with Microsoft’s proprietary non-standard java version.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28136,00.html?st.ne.fd.gif.d

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-30 21:21:42

Snippet: Aside from John Warden’s dragging on in
the hopeless attempt to show that having an icon on every Windows95
desktop was irrelevant for AOL when making its decision to support MSIE
and not Netscape, nothing much seems to happen.

Fortunately, I
have my own store of goodies since last night, fetched by the terrific
“fetchdoj” shell script that invokes “wget” to mirror the info at the
DOJ’s site. Now I can read this 30MB of stuff at my own pace without
paying my telco while doing so.

The exhibits – PDF files
displaying paper versions of e-mails – give a far better idea of
Microsoft’s activities to get rid of Netscape than the press is willing
or able to convey. An index on this stuff would help as the DOJ tells
you nothing but the numbers of the exhibits. Any volunteers?

If you are happy enough to have GNU software installed on your system the script might do you some good too:
http://main.billwatch.net/background/fetchdoj

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-30 21:46:07

Snippet: Threats to Apple, cowardly Compaq
executives having their actions ruled by fear of Microsoft retaliation,
Windows breaking Apple’s software, copyright infringement, and
strongarming yet other companies.

These topics are all touched in the testimony. You can read Dan Goodin’s account of it: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28164,00.html

or get the real thing:
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2010.htm

Incidentally, Microsoft shot back that:

“The
allegation that Microsoft threatened to withhold Macintosh Office 98 in
order to force Apple to make Internet Explorer its default browser is
another example of how the government deliberately twists facts to
support its distorted allegation. Rather than walk away from millions
of Microsoft customers who use the Mac, Microsoft worked with Apple to
resolve a number of issues between the two companies.”

One
should ask then why it was still such an outstanding result to have
Office for the Mac that it had to be mentioned in the joint press
release on the Apple/Microsoft partnership in August 1997.

I
heard rumors that Microsoft dropped Encarta and the GUI library MFC for
the Mac. I welcome more information about Microsoft stopping to support
key content, application and development programs for these “millions
of customers”.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-31 10:29:09

Snippet: Accessing the DOJ’s list of exhibits is
complicated by the fact that no description is given of the contents of
the files. Kenneth Engel made a first stab at making the contents
accessible. I dumped his comma-separated file in a HTML table – no
fancy database stuff and searches. The result is at: http://main.billwatch.net/trial/exhibits.phtml

Speaking of the exhibits, I made a minor change to the “fetchdoj” script (http://main.billwatch.net/background/fetchdoj
) to make sure that the PDF files that contain the testimonies are
fetched, not just the HTML pages that introduce them. A new problem is
that the DOJ makes available the testimony’s in parts too. Right now
the script fetches both the whole and the parts. As “fetchdoj” flattens
the directory structure, the links in the HTML files won’t work.
Anyway, I wanted to get the PDF files and I don’t care much about the
HTML wrappers.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-10-31 14:26:57

Snippet: On October 19th, Marc Chardon, general manager of Microsoft France warned his customers against using Linux. (http://www.mmedium.com/misc/courrier/00057.html#linux )

Not
exactly adding to the public’s trust in the veracity of the statements
of Microsoft spokespersons, Mr. Chardon set himself to the task of
blackening Linux without respect for facts. The “Association
Francophone des Utilisateurs de Linux et des Logiciels Libres”, wrote a
reply that painfully shows the inadequacy of Mr. Chardon’s
presentation. (http://aful.org/presse/chardon.html ) You can find an english translation of the reply here: http://lwn.net/1998/1029/a/aful-trans.html

One
of Mr. Chardon’s claims was that Linux lacks a wordprocessor with
on-the-fly spell-checking. The following screenshot shows how
WordPerfect 8 under Linux performs exactly this task by underlining
some very dirty words:
http://www.zork.net/suite.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-01 17:05:33

Snippet: Microsoft’s present deep involvement in
the cable industry doesn’t seem to have arrived painlessly. It seems
like Mr. Gates wasn’t happy with @Home before it came to be a Microsoft
partner as it is today. The following article tells a little more: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28065,00.html

To
get a better impression of Microsoft’s involvement with the cable
industry you are encouraged to visit “The Whole Microsoft Catalog” (http://www.vcnet.com/bms/departments/catalog.html )at “Boycott Microsoft” to get an idea of Microsoft’s investments in this area.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-01 17:22:53

Snippet: Eric S. Raymond of “The Cathedral and
the Bazar” fame posted an annotated version of what he alleges is an
internal Microsoft memo. Raymond’s own analysis of Open Source Software
is used to both describe it and make a first effort to list how it can
be hurt.

Even if the memo is not real (but I made a copy of it
in case it is, and MS forces esr to retract it) it gives at least a
good estimate of how Microsoft considers OSS today. In other words,
questions of verity aside, the document gives us a good idea of the
tension between Microsoft’s urge to drive up prices and keep technology
proprietary and the OSS drive to open up as much as possible to attract
as many new entrants as possible and drive prices down to zero.

See: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/halloween.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-02 08:25:10

Snippet: Reading Mr. Maritz quote one doesn’t
exactly get the impression that Microsoft planned its inclusion of MSIE
in Windows in 1994, completely independent of the existence of
Netscape. Apparently, they still haven’t catched on to the fact that
the attempt to win this lawsuit by misrepresentation will irremediably
damage their credibility.

What news could the Gates’ video have
in store? The tenacity with which Microsoft sought to stop the show
indicates that they have something very definite to fear.

Anyway,
the following article tells that showing the video is for the moment
limited to those parts relevant to the Apple testimony and also
includes the interesting quote from Microsoft’s senior vice president
Paul Maritz:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28184,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-02 20:45:33

Snippet: Contrary to Microsoft’s message to
their “millions of customers” on the Mac platform last weekend,
Microsoft’s decision to support Office on the Mac platform was a
condition of Apple satisfying certain Microsoft demands.

See:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28184,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh
(upgrade of the article mentioned in the previous item)

If
you check the list of articles under the previous item (by following
the “discussion” button) you will find a pretty damning quote. The
statement was addressed to Gates, but during his deposit it seems to
have slipped his mind.
After trying to stop the complete showing of
the video, Microsoft’s William Neukom is now complaining that Gates is
taken out of context. Always eat the cake and have it, Bill.

(I
can’t keep up with the exhibits. If you happen to know the right
exhibit containing this quote, please make a link to it by pressing the
article button under the discussion of this item and filling in the
form or mail me.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-02 23:49:08

Snippet: Eric Bennett made a transcript of parts
of what has become available of Gates’ deposit. At the top you can find
some RealVideo links.

Mr. Bennett introduces the excerpts with:

The overall testimony seems to reveal two things:
(1) Gates cannot recall–or claims not to recall–how his company views its dealings with its major competitors.
(2) Gates is generally able to read his own emails when a copy is placed in front of him and he is asked to examine them.

Apparently,
Gates has been instructed by his lawyers to say that he has forgotten
all about it when in doubt. It doesn’t reflect well on him that he
forgot all about particular e-mails that speak of “threats”: Is he so
used to this language that it doesn’t strike him as odd and something
to be remembered? Also it doesn’t reflect well on Microsoft’s internal
communication that Gates doesn’t understand much of what is written to
him, as was made clear when the DOJ asked him things like: “Do you
have an understanding of what Mr. Bradford means when he refers to Mac
Office as “the perfect club to use on” Apple?”

http://www.essential.org/listproc/am-info/msg07751.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-03 08:54:24

Snippet: Well, it doesn’t come easy, but I can
read French and I was pleased to find an article by Lib�ration on Linux
that mentions the attention Microsoft is giving it now.

Given the number of articles mentioned on http://www.linuxtoday.com/
on the “Halloween memo” that was leaked from Microsoft it seems that
Microsoft’s attention for Linux is a big boost for its wider
acceptance.

You can find “Linux cogne aux fen�tres de Microsoft” at: http://www.liberation.fr/multi/actu/semaine981102/art981102.html

Enjoy!

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-03 22:28:37

Snippet: A significant number of the DOJ’s
exhibits consists of Netscape internal e-mail to report “questionable
Microsoft practices”. Reference to this is made in an article by Mary
Jo Foley on Microsoft’s “interest” in reseller’s relations with
Netscape.

Microsoft seems to have gone pretty far down the
reseller channel to make sure that their browser – which they now claim
is part of their OS – was brought as a separate unit to consumers,
rather than Netscape’s browser.

Most laudably, Ms Foley provides the numbers of the exhibits she is basing her article on.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2158717,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 09:05:36

Snippet: Oops, Microsoft’s decision to
“simplify” the naming of “Windows NT” to “Windows 2000″ was born of
such a sudden inspiration that they forgot to check whether the new
name is trademarked or not. Well, it is. The story of the “Internet
Explorer” name repeats itself. Let’s see if they throw $5 million to
this trademark holder too.

See: http://208.16.54.204/index.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 09:18:32

Snippet: The Chicago Tribune has a nice article
about the dangers of using proprietary technology instead of software
that adheres to standards. The end up asking:

1.Are you willing
to bet that Microsoft is going to corner the Internet worldwide? Will
it really be safe to go with the Microsoft Web?
2.Are you willing
to bet that Microsoft won’t drop the hammer and start charging big time
for products that today are free or nearly so?

See: http://cgi.chicago.tribune.com/tech/frontpage/0,1714,3,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 09:34:28

Snippet: The following article tells about the
limited access of the press and the public to the court proceedings of
United States v. Microsoft. The conclusion is that the trial is as
low-tech as that against Standard Oil once was.

Some blame is
cast on the government’s bureaucratic procedures, but let’s not forget
how Microsoft fought display of the video with Gates’ deposit and
decent access to its sales databases.

http://www.callaw.com/stories/alm1102.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 10:38:42

Snippet: I had my CD with the OS ready when my
new computer arrived at where I work. The installed disk was quickly
reformatted, Windows95 and Office CD’s disappeared in the drawer, and
not much later I was the proud user of my *personal* Linux computer.

Why
did my company have to pay for Windows and Office? Because such are the
deals with the OEM that delivers our computers and the OEM is regulated
to make such deals by Microsoft.

This regulation has cost my company unnecessary money and is therefore to be considered harmful.

(I once wrote a little piece about this matter called “Regulation through taxation” – http://main.billwatch.net/features/tax.html )

Dan Peterson has his own story about being harmed by Microsoft’s company policies. You can find it at Boycott Micrososft, see:
http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/harmed.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 19:11:49

Snippet: According to Microsoft lawyer Joe
diGenova Gates’ recollection problems during the deposit can easily be
explained by his being tired by being interrogated by lawyers (you know
like his parents and the folks he met at school) for twenty hours.

So, when are we going to get the answers on the questions that Gates’ couldn’t answer because his memory failed him?

Something
different, according to the now familiar pattern Microsoft is not
answering to allegiations in the testimony of Apple’s Tevanian, but
instead launching an attack on Apple’s own business practices.
Interestingly, they claim that Apple wanted $1.2 billion from Microsoft
in the patent-issue. Now compare this one to Mr. Gates’ statement that
as far as he knew the deal with Apple was about “a patent cross-license
of some kind.” Microsoft claims at the same time that $1.2 billion was
at stake and that Gates didn’t know the details. Very credible.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-04 20:03:53

Snippet: Microsoft has again used their old
tactic of trying to change the subject by accusing their competitors of
behaving in the same way. It may score them public relations points
with those who are gullible or easily confused, but it is hard to see
how this will help them with the judge. When was the last time you
heard someone get out of a speeding ticket by telling the judge “Your
honor, others were speeding too.”?

It is also amusing to see, at
the end of the article, that Microsoft’s attorney Theodore Edelman made
the DOJ’s point for them by demonstrating to the judge just how
confusing it is to a novice to change the default Internet browser. The
article is at “http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2160108,00.html”.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-05 04:42:23

Snippet: Already by far the biggest political
spender in the computer/software industry, Microsoft is stepping up its
hiring efforts even more. Will they manage to buy themselves free from
scrutiny?

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28367,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-05 09:10:30

Snippet: Tim O’Reilly wrote an open letter to
Microsoft following up on the “Halloween Document” in which a Microsoft
engineer gives advice to his organization on how to do battle with free
software.

Here are some excerpts from his letter:

At
bottom, the Open Source movement is an expression of the Western
academic tradition, innovation and discovery through the free exchange
of ideas. You rig that system at your peril. You have only to look at
the stagnation of Soviet science and industry under a centralized
autocratic system, versus the innovation that happened in our free
markets, to see what fate you have in store for yourselves if you
succeed.
(..)
Instead of trying to crush Open Source, you should
follow the lead of companies like O’Reilly, IBM and Silicon Graphics,
who are supporting various Open Source communities while finding ways
to build commercial added-value products on the open platforms these
communities provide.

See: http://oreilly.com/oreilly/press/tim_msletter.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-05 09:31:40

Snippet: Yesterday I read an article in Forbes magazine declaring the lawsuit of US v. Microsoft the “laughingstock” of the world.

Well,
I am not laughing. It seems to me that much of the major press has no
problem justifying the increasingly powerful system of regulation by
Microsoft, while they work themselves into a fit when a suggestion of
some form of government regulation is given. Bah.

No link to the Forbes article here. I just wanted to say that I often like articles on Microsoft’s adventures in http://www.salonmagazine.com/ and that I was very pleasantly surprised by the special of the French paper Liberation:
http://www.liberation.fr/microsoft/

I welcome links to other European newspapers having specials on Microsoft.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-05 22:21:31

Snippet: You may have heard about the so-called
“Halloween” document which is an internal Microsoft memo describing
open source and what their responce to it might be. There is now a
second document along the same lines which focuses on Linux.

They can both be found at http://www.opensource.org/halloween.html .
There
is much here that would be interesting for technically inclined people,
but the two main points of interest are the memos bring up the ideas of
subverting standard Internet protocols with Microsoft-specific
extensions and of making more use of copyright and patent laws. In the
latter, Microsoft is accusing Linux of taking ideas from NT but this
position seems the height of hypocrisy given the number of ideas
Microsoft has taken from other places.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-05 23:34:45

Snippet: Never the kind to bring home grown
initiatives to fruition Microsoft bought LinkExchange, an advertising
service that has facilities for its hundreds of thousands of member
sites to exchange links and for advertisers to aim at the visitors of
the member sites selectively.

Not really important for Microsoft
to make a few more bucks, but interesting to get a stronger hold on the
web development software choice of hundreds of thousands of webmasters.
The way to get people to give up standards for proprietary technology
is to move them all at once. Windows and Office are the main vehicles
in this process, but acquiring a company like LinkExchange may help too.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28425,00.html?st.ne.fd.gif.f

(This
somewhat reminds me of Microsoft acquisition and later selling of
SoftImage, in the process the company was transformed from being SGI
focused to being Windows focused. Buy a company, transform their
technology to Windows and then sell them for stock to the company that
is your next aim.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-06 10:00:10

Snippet: Subtitled “A Strategic Guide to the
Network Economy” this book goes into the economics of information. I
haven’t read it yet, but I am mighty interested in the discussion of
brand name value, commoditizing standards, and de-commoditizing
proprietary technology.

You can get a taste of the book at “Information Rules – the website”: http://www.inforules.com/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-06 10:10:51

Snippet: The DOJ made the transcript of Chairman Gates’ testimony available. You can find it at: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2051.htm
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-06 10:30:37

Snippet: Yes, it’s Halloween again. A Microsoft
reperesentative in the Netherlands has made a responce to the release
of the Halloween documents. A version with annotations by Eric S.
Raymond can be found at http://www.opensource.org/halloween3.html
. This seems to be a trial balloon since it does not come from
headquarters, but it does have the typical Redmondian touches of Fear,
Uncertainty, Doubt and emphasis on Intellectual Property rights.
By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-06 17:43:01

Snippet: An account of more trial shenanigans can be found at
http://chicagotribune.com/business/businessnews/ws/item/0,1267,8297-8298-18076,00.html
. Apparently, the Microsoft lawyer has so much arrogance and disregard
that he continues along a line of questioning even after the judge has
clearly told him to move on.
By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-06 18:43:30

Snippet: Remember that Microsoft sold SoftImage
to Avid Technologies after converting it from an SGI company to an NT
company? Part of the deal was that Microsoft had the right to take a
9+% share in Avid. Well, there is no lack of money and now Redmond owns
9.4% of Avid. Guess what, Avid is now releasing NT software.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28465,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-07 00:01:33

Snippet: This week Microsoft showed part of the
deposit of Compaq’s Steven Decker. According to Mr. Tevanian’s
testimony – referring again to the deposit of Apple’s Mr. Schiller -
Mr. Decker took Mr. Schiller apart at a meeting between Apple and
Compaq and remarked that Compaq was very careful about licensing any
non-Microsoft software.

The part of the Mr. Decker’s deposit
that Microsoft published at its “PressPass” pages seems to be aimed to
show that this particular statement was not made by Mr. Decker. I read
and annotated the deposit and found that Mr. Decker’s answers could be
compatible with Mr. Schiller without perjury on either side.
Furthermore, Mr. Schiller’s and Mr. Tevanian’s statements tells us that
Compaq felt threatened by Microsoft, not that Microsoft actually used
“pressure tactics” against Compaq. Thus Microsoft’s statement that
Decker’s deposit “refutes” Apple’s claim that Microsoft in fact used
“pressure tactics” to force Compaq to drop QuickTime is unfounded.

You can read the annotated deposit at: http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/quicktime_compaq.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-08 15:08:00

Snippet: Billwatch went off-line yesterday as
the result of an error that also occurred some 40 days ago, and that I
haven’t yet understood.

I hope it will remain up for at least another 40 days now.

-cjr

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-08 15:15:15

Snippet: Jean-Louis Gass�e, CEO of Be, wrote an
article in Lib�ration that Microsoft’s relationship with Apple might
well turn up a lot of information in support of the DOJ. Well, perhaps
Tevanian’s already explosive testimony is only the top of the ice-berg.
Furthermore, Gass�e ponders the question of what to do with Microsoft
if it loses the lawsuit.

If you read French, you can find the article at:
http://www.liberation.fr/chroniques/gassee.html

A lengthy discussion of the article can be found at: http://slashdot.org/features/98/11/08/006219.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-08 15:43:38

Snippet: Microsoft has given their reaction to the Halloween documents at “http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/highlights/editorletter.asp”.
One of the claims they make is “Microsoft recognizes that customers are
not served by implementations that are different without adding value;
we therefore support standards as the foundation on which further
innovation can be based.” That would seem to be a denial of the
accusation that they deliberately create incompatibilities with
standards in an effort to gain market share and hence control of the
relevant specification. But be careful! In the course of Sun’s suit
claiming breach of contract where Microsoft is accused of deliberately
breaking compatibility with the standard
Java, a quote from none
other than Bill Gates saying “Supporting JDK 1.1 is fine, but I am very
hard core about not supporting JDK 1.2. I really need to understand
where we’re going to draw the line because it’s a slippery slope. If
you think we should support the JDK 1.2 that’s fine, but you will
really have to explain why and where it stops.” comes out. The full
story is at “http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2160952,00.html”.
Even if this quote does not outright say that Microsoft intends to
break the Java standard in their implementation, where is the added
value in their implementation? It seems that it consists
soley of
tighter integration into Windows. Since this breaks Java’s
cross-platform promise, this is a very questionable “added value”
indeed.
By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-09 03:01:48

Snippet: The article doesn’t contain anything
new, but it is still nice that an article published in the paper
edition of a major newspaper understands the relevance of Microsoft’s
strategy to replace open standards with proprietary technology.

See: http://reports.guardian.co.uk/articles/1998/11/8/p-32026.html

(Unfortunately, an article in the Boston Globe on the Halloween papers didn’t get it.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-09 11:38:17

Snippet: WebCMO, “a site dedicated to web
marketing research”, has published a “Linux survey report”. It seems to
be a kind of counterpart of the propaganda technology that Microsoft
uses.

The report is titled “People who challenge Bill Gates”.
Somewhere the report says: “The Open Linux spirit makes Linux
undefeatable. Bill Gates can buy or destroy a company, but he is unable
to buy or destroy a spirit. More importantly, under the Open Linux
flag, it collects the most talented people in the world. These people
are not only computer gurus, they are warriors who will fight for Linux
to death. They are the people who challenge Bill Gates.”

Well,
that’s not quite the language one expects in a “survey report”. Anyway,
the report is not only interesting as a phenomenon, but also because of
the demography of Linux users it presents.

See: http://www.webcmo.com/linux/report/report1.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-09 12:10:25

Snippet: Mark Hall has lost his trust in the
words of Microsoft product managers. Right now they claim to seek
co-existence with Unix, but once they made the same claim about the
Mac. The recent DOJ exhibits show how Microsoft’s in-house strategy
conflicted with its official statements. Hall fell for it once and
doesn’t like the experience of having been fooled.

See: http://www.performancecomputing.com/opinions/unixriot/981106.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-09 12:23:20

Snippet: Over the months I have noted a very
clear relationship between the introductions given to press releases at
the main page of Microsoft’s “Press pass” and the articles themselves:
In the introduction claims are made that do not return in the article.

Today
they announcement that “Microsoft and three independent Microsoft and
three independent software labs today confirmed that the
interoperability problems reported by Apple’s Dr. Avadis Tevanian Jr.
in court are in fact the result of errors in Apple’s software design,
not the result of “sabotage” as Apple has claimed.” In the refered to
article we read that Microsoft *gave* the solution and that Mindcraft,
one other party and not three, *verified* it.

Why do they say
“three” and mention only one? According to Microsoft Apple didn’t
follow *Netscape’s* instructions for plug-ins. Why doesn’t Microsoft
address the allegation that Apple sought support from Microsoft in July
1998, but got directions only on how to rewrite the QuickTime plug-in
using Microsoft’s proprietary ActiveX. (Tevanian’s testimony, pages
35-36)

In its article Microsoft does not relate Mr. Tevanian’s
statements to its alleged fix for the QuickTime problem. That is,
Microsoft hasn’t answered the allegation of selectively not supporting
Apple, an ISV that happens to compete with Microsoft. And yet Microsoft
considers to have answered it by providing the bug fix and telling us
that Apple could have done so itself by following Netscape’s
instructions. This throws a very strange light on the allegation that
Apple sought help in July but got answers directing only to Microsoft’s
proprietary ActiveX. Given Microsoft’s present claims it seems that
they deceived Apple when it sought help, instead of giving it support.

I
am not claiming that one party is right and the other wrong – I don’t
have sufficient data to do that, but I see that Microsoft is not
addressing the matter honestly and that raises my suspicion.

Well, fight your way throught the “connection reset by peer” messages (as I did) and read for yourself:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1998/Nov98/applefinpr.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-09 23:27:48

Snippet: James Love wrote an excellent article
in which he gives a historical perspective on the history of some of
the items that Microsoft and its defenders often claim show that the
present case is without merit.

First, antitrust laws were always
especially applied at the forefront of technology. Railroads and oil
pipe-lines may look stale now, but they were at the technological edge
at the times of their powerful monopolies.

Second, Microsoft and
its defenders make much of the antitrust case against IBM having come
to nothing. Actually, this was the third such case against IBM: the
first was won by the government and the second ended in a settlement.
It should also be observed that the EC continued when the DOJ dropped
off. The EC forced IBM to observe certain guidelines for opening up
their technology.

Enjoy: http://www.mercurycenter.com/opinion/perspective/docs/antitrust08.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-10 01:49:33

Snippet: Eric Lee Green explained “Fear,
Uncertainty and Doubt” in the Microsoft vs Linux context. The article
contains some FUD attacks on Microsoft even outside the examples, but
is otherwise a good and up to date introduction to the topic.

See: http://www.linux-hw.com/~eric/fud101.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-10 08:53:29

Snippet: If someone criticizes Microsoft, this
person described as either (1) a (whining) competitor, (2) tied to a
(whining) competitor – (CPT’s James Love is a full cousin of Caldera’s
CEO Ransom Love, Orrin Hatch represents a state in which a Microsoft
competitor resides), (3) disgruntled, or (4) and pundit.

Intel’s
Steven McGeady, Intel’s vice president for content, has now be placed
in the “disgruntled” category. He claims that Gates threatened to stop
supporting new Intel chips or chip extensions, which, given the present
market situation, would effectively turn Intel’s inventions into junk.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28497,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-10 09:09:50

Snippet: The title “Why Microsoft must be
stopped” indicates the perspective of Mr. Nader and Mr. Love when they
discuss antitrust laws. Mr. Love commented in retrospect that “space
was short and they cut out some remedies [from the article]“.

See: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/981109740E

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-10 23:50:51

Snippet: Microsoft says the the government is
not qualified to regulate the software industry, but in the story of
Steven McGeady of Intel’s testimony (story at “http://chicagotribune.com/business/businessnews/ws/item/0,1267,8297-8298-18384,00.html”),
it becomes clear that Microsoft is taking it upon itself to be a
regulator of the software industry. McGeady says that Intel shelved its
Native Signal Processing multimedia project due to pressure from
Microsoft. Gates’ deposition does not contradict this, but merely gives
his reasons for opposing Intel’s software. But who is Gates to judge
what is “low quality” software? That should be a decision for the
marketplace, not a self-appointed regulator in Redmond.
By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-11 17:58:18

Snippet: Although the Halloween papers merely
represent the ideas of an “individual engineer” it seems clear that
Microsoft is steering towards using the combination of patentable
technology, their monopolistic market position to bring this to market,
and the law to keep free software at bay. (Where was this vague claim
that NT5 was held up because the technology was not yet both
proprietary *and* protected by patents?)

The issue is highly
important as Microsoft seems to be looking to replace open standards
with proprietary technology that is protected by the law. This is the
way to “deny entry into the market” both to software that is free and
to small competitors, thereby removing competition from the industry
which traditionally leads to high prices and little development.

Anyway, open source protagonists sense the danger. You can read Bruce Perens’ idea on countering the danger in:
http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-1998-11/lw-11-thesource.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-11 20:36:06

Snippet: Once an ISV that is competing with a
product of Microsoft gets attention in the news, Microsoft seems to be
more motivated to fix the bugs than through normal support channels.

We
have seen this with RealNetworks last summer and now with Apple’s
QuickTime. The pattern isn’t received well and people are now taking
the trouble to investigate the correctness of Microsoft’s claims.

A most excellent start is given by Robert di Cosmo. You can find his detailed account of Microsoft’s reply to Apple’s claims (http://msdn.microsoft.com/developer/news/quicktime.htm )
at:
http://www.essential.org/listproc/am-info/msg07951.html

Incidentally,
Roberto di Cosmo is the author of a book on Microsoft, “Le hold-up
planetaire”. For the time being it is available only in the French
language. If you want more info (or the archives of a forum on it) you
can find it through the link to Liberation in the side-bar.

(I
wish Microsoft’s press release had contained a link to this more
informative page – it would have spared me the trouble of reading the
press release in the hope of finding some real meat.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-11 21:11:39

Snippet:

According to this post “http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg06616.html
from Microsoft’s Tod Nielsen, Microsoft just wants developers to “write
great Windows apps.” He repeats the claim that RealAudio and Apple
engineers made mistakes in their programs. According to Tevanian of
Apple’s testimony at the anti-trust trial, the answer Apple’s engineers
got from Microsoft when they brought up their problems getting the
QuickTime plugin to work was “You should really be writing ActiveX
plugins instead.” Since Apple had no interest in doing that, they
interpreted that to mean that no help would be forthcoming from
Microsoft. To me, it’s rather funny how Microsoft suddenly gets
cooperative once a developer’s troubles working under Windows are
widely publicised.

Read here “http://cnn.com/TECH/computing/9811/10/cracked-ms.idg/
how registration is required in the Office 2000 beta. If the user does
not register, the program will stop working at 50 launches. Microsoft
claims this will “help customers register and take better advantage of
updates and features.” But it seems a rather transparent attempt to
curb piracy. At least, tacks like this should give competitors a boost.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-12 05:01:27

Snippet: At one time in history knowledge was
guarded by a single institution that had the monopoly on distributing
and interpreting it. Hypotheses like Galileo’s were suppressed as it
would undermine faith by showing new possibilities contradiction
ancient dogma. No wonder that stagnation ruled the era.

Much the
same is happening today. Innovations that don’t fit into the scheme of
the monopoly are banned by “killing” the innovators.

But now a
second Reformation has been started. People fight to break the central
power over software as they once fought against that over knowledge.

Agreed,
I’m a bit lyrical. I thought about working out this topic when I had
some time available, but now Salon Magazine beat me to it:
See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1998/11/12feature.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-12 22:21:08

Snippet: Salon Magazine explains about
Microsoft’s non-monopoly claims. One is: the marginal cost of software
is nearly zero and therefore giving away MSIE is no predatory pricing.
Interesting theory: it abstracts from support and continuous
innovation. Microsoft’s theory to evade claims of monopoly can be
applied in traditional industries too: buy all material, transport and
labor in advance so the cost is paid up, and then you can dump the
product.

Another item that is abstracted from is marketing. To a
Dutch ISP alone they paid $400,000 marketing if they would embrace
MSIE.

Clearly, Microsoft must jump through hoops to show that
they didn’t offer MSIE at predatory prices: giving money with the
product most definitely constitutes a very extreme example of going
“below” marginal cost.

For an article, see: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1998/11/11feature.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-12 22:34:36

Snippet: Microsoft’s main strategy in court
against Intel’s McGeady seems to be to show that he has an ax to grind.
This isn’t evidence, so what could be their intention? If the general
idea is to defuse testimony’s by those having specific ties, this might
well backfire when their own executives take the stand to give
testimony.

Well, aside from getting to know that it was McGeady
who leaked the Maritz quote on cutting off Netscape’s air supply to the
Yew York Times, I didn’t learn much from the article mentioned here,
but I guess its about all there is:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28692,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-13 10:45:25

Snippet: The DOJ hasn’t yet posted the testimony
of Glenn Weadock (I forgot who that is), but Microsoft’s partial
response is already on the Net. The testimony seems to be about the
negative sides of browser integration. After the introduction
“Consultant’s testimony reflects personal opinions, not statement of
facts.” we find the customary “setting the record straight” phrase
followed mostly by a marketing monologue. To quote the end of the
“response”:

“Windows 98 offers users great new features such as
support for new hardware devices and enhanced speed and performance.
These features, along with the integrated Internet support that has
been part of Windows since 1995, make Windows a compelling choice for
any organization.”

Microsoft is not taking the trouble to state
Mr. Weadock’s arguments, just its own responses, and I wonder what it
is going to be all about. You can find Microsoft’s article at:

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/nov98/11-13weadock.htm

Update: You can find Glenn Weadock’s testimony at: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2056.htm.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-14 00:17:56

Snippet: Secrecy has long been the cornerstone
of Microsoft’s public appeal. For a very long time they worked very
hard to keep the public uninformed about their actions. Business
agreements are secret – with clients forced to talk to Microsoft before
talking to the government; agreements are secret, such as the one on
infringement of Apple patents and the one with AT&T that was no
longer granted access to the Windows sources when Microsoft decided to
go into the UNIX/NT interfacing business itself; the public was denied
its lawful right to witness the deposits (Hmm, some weeks ago judges
from a Court of Appeals came together on the matter, talked a little
and didn’t decide on a date to convene again. Are they really trying to
stall opening the deposits or have I missed something?)

Due to
the lawsuit many such secrets are uncovered. The public is finding out
about Microsoft. The micro-managing CEO doesn’t seem to know who his
executives are and he claimed under oath that he doesn’t know whether
something that he called a key element of the relationship with Apple
was actually implemented in Microsoft’s deal with this company.

For
the public it is getting more difficult to admire the people that lead
Microsoft. But also, for economists – of whatever political conviction
- it is becoming more difficult to dismiss the lawsuit with simple
“free enterprise/no government intervention” slogans. Microsoft is
alleged to have managed to stop a development project at Intel, alleged
to have tried to do the same at Apple, outside the courtroom it is
alleged that they also managed to stop development of a Network
Computer project at Digital and as the rumor has it that AT&T
settled for money when Microsoft suddenly denied access to the sources
of Windows NT, it might well be that AT&T stopped its UNIX/NT
interfacing project – leaving the field to Microsoft.

Those who were once dismissive have good reason to become more cautious.

I
have no further information, but I read at the bottom of an article on
Mr. Weadock’s testimony that “a group of economists in the Bush and
Reagan administrations, including two former chairmen of the Federal
Trade Commission, today released a letter backing the inquiry into
Microsoft.”

As I said, I have no further information, but I
speculate that these people support the inquiry into Microsoft as they
see that too much doesn’t seem right to justify being dismissive any
longer.

I quoted the line from: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28792,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh

(Please let me know if you find out more about this letter.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-14 23:10:43

Snippet:

Besides the DOJ, Sun and Caldera
lawsuits against Microsoft, there is also the Bristol lawsuit. I did
not know very much about this suit except that it was a small company
suing over having continued access to Windows NT source code which they
need to stay competitive. The news accounts seemed pretty scant apart
from reporting what the lawsuit is about and the blatherings of
Microsoft’s public relations professionals. If you are curious to read
the other side of the story, Bristol’s account of the lawsuit is at http://www.bristol.com/legal/index.html

Interestingly,
the company started in 1991 with the idea of developing a product to
assist in porting Windows applications to Unix and other platforms.
They did not start with access to Windows source code and this was only
provided 3 years after they had established themselves and 1 year after
Microsoft approached them. After another 3 years, Microsoft wants to
charge what Bristol considers an unreasonable fee for access to the NT
5/Windows 2000 source code. Apparently, Microsoft feels that NT is
successful enough and now they want to make it as difficult as possible
to make multi-platform applications.

What is also interesting is
Microsoft claims they have provided Windows source code to another
company and Bristol only files this lawsuit in an effort to negotiate a
more favourable deal. Bristol makes the counter-claim that no other
company has made a public announcement of any such deal. Does anyone
have any more information on the nature of this other Windows NT source
code licence? AT&T would have been another competitor, but they
dropped their lawsuit and settled for money instead. In any case, it
seems Microsoft is being more protective of the NT source code than
ever, which is interesting in light of the open source movement.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-15 03:12:35

Snippet: The fragments of the deposit of Gates
that related to Intel have been made available. Perhaps the continuous
repetition that Microsoft told Intel not to make “low quality” software
is considered a nice way out of the allegation that they told Intel to
stop making competing software, but the testimony begs the question
what basis Mr. Gates has to say that Intel’s products were of “low
quality” (We can turn Microsoft’s own court questioning on the
Chairman: did he experience this “low quality” himself or was this
merely “hearsay”?).

Another question that pops up is what right
Microsoft has to act as the arbiter of software quality. It should be
up to the market to decide this, not to some self-appointed regulator.

In
this context we may also consider that in the Halloween memos it is
stated that Microsoft’s first version of a software product is usually
of low quality. Apparently, Microsoft applies different standards of
quality when dealing with the software of other parties than with that
of their own.

Furthermore, the Chairman insisted that Intel should have consulted Microsoft before and while making software.

All
this seems very much to industry regulation to me. Not regulation by
rules that anybody can follow, but regulation by a self-appointed
arbiter who seeks to enforce his own interests.

You can find the hardly readable photostats of the DOJ at:
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/1402.pdf

HTML with extracts (in English with a French translation in the margin) can be found at: http://www.liberation.fr/multi/actu/semaine981109/art981110.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-15 19:26:05

Snippet: James Love wrote an article proposing
three possible remedies for Microsoft’s abuse of its monopoly power.
Microsoft’s attitude in the past and right now makes plain that
non-drastic remedies will not work. The proposals are:

1. Break
them up according to functionality. (I don’t like this as it merely
spawns one company with the OS monopoly and another with the Office
monopoly, and perhaps some small fry.)

2. Force
non-discriminatory OEM licensing on them. OEM’s are the major channel
for OS’s and all the big ones are completely dependent on Microsoft. So
much that they don’t dare to ship a product from a third-party vendor
with their systems for fear of price retaliation. On the other hand,
Microsoft uses its OS position to have OEM’s ship additional software.
In other words, the industry is effectively regulated through
Microsoft’s discriminatory pricing to OEM’s.

3. Make Microsoft
provide the API’s and data formats to all. Right now they can simply
outperform the competition by using the undocumented functions while
letting the competition use the slow documented ones. When Netscape
figured out how to use the fast ones, they were accused of theft of
trade secrets. The article mentions several precedents.

See: http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?CRN19981116S0215

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-16 10:24:06

Snippet: An article with the above title was written by Tom Nadeau and published at Boycott Microsoft.

The
most seedy detail I found in it was that Microsoft is alleged to have
heavily subsidized third-party developers advertisements for Windows NT
products.

The article ends with a claim that I wholeheartedly support:
“Microsoft has found the way to stop innovation: they make it unprofitable.”

See: http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/noinnovation.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-16 10:41:13

Snippet: Using some inscrutable naming scheme,
the DOJ made the fragment of Gates’ deposit that was shown in court on
Monday available as: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/gates3.pdf

The
more I read from Gates responses the more they come to resemble Ludwig
Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations”: “What do you mean by
‘ask’?”, “What do you mean by ‘concerned’?”, “In the right context, I’d
understand that.”, etc.

Gates is following a very exasperating mode of non-communication.

Come to think of it, it might be nice to create a compilation of Gates’ philosophical exercises in the courtroom.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-17 10:39:33

Snippet: The media reported little on the testimony of Glenn Weadock. It seems that Microsoft’s basic defense consisted of:

1.
Claiming Mr. Weadock incompetent in judging on the merits of
Microsoft’s design. This is based on Microsoft keeping its knowledge to
itself, so no other party has the ability to make an informed
judgement. Incidentally, this is a classic defense of the Church.

2.
The matter of browser integration is said to have been deposed of the
the judgement of a federal Appeals Court in June 1998. Only two of the
three judges supported that verdict. They added that the government
shouldn’t interfere with design. However, these judges were speaking of
the 1995 Consent Decree and not of a full antitrust case. Given that
two ignored the economical aspects of browser bundling and therewith
the antitrust aspect, it is doubtful that this verdict has any value in
the present case.

I have no access to court transcripts so I
can’t say for sure, but as only the above is presented in the press it
seems to me that Microsoft simply didn’t answer the issues that Mr.
Weadock touched on, that is, companies would like to have a choice.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-17 22:53:49

Snippet: As with Glenn Weadock’s testimony,
Microsoft’s answer reached the Net before the DOJ managed to release
the testimony on their site. As usual it is a bit difficult to wrestle
through the marketeese adjectives in what is supposed to be the answer
to a legal testimony, but you are encouraged to give it a try anyway.

It seems that the testimony touches the following issues:
1. Microsoft’s involvement with OS/2
2. Browser integration
3. Microsoft’s control over the startup screens of Windows.
4. Java pollution

Mostly,
the answer sneers about the lack of success of OS/2. I don’t care about
OS/2 and I don’t think the DOJ does. Most likely Microsoft tries to
direct the attention for that are relevant to the case to the
evaluation of OS/2′s lack of success, so they can once more point their
fingers accusingly and say: “loosers!”

The “Catholic Church”
argument based on the secret nature of the Windows source code is once
more re-iterated when defending browser integration:
“Mr. Soyring,
who knows nothing about the internals of Windows 95 or Windows 98, is
in no position to deny that.” Indeed, following this criterium only
Microsoft employees can speak meaningfully of Microsoft’s design
decisions, all others must subject themselves to their authority.

IBM
is a major OEM and service company – traditionally considered more of a
competitor to Compaq and Oracle than to Microsoft. As such, IBM is both
one of the biggest customers of Microsoft and one of the biggest
software developers for Windows. These aspects of IBM are, to say the
least, under-emphasized in Micrsoft’s account.

As for java, we
hear that Microsoft has a very special licensing deal with Sun (ahem)
and that as Microsoft’s JVM was tested fasted of those available. As
they referred to the corrupted review in April’s PC Week (the author
consulted Microsoft to write the test, but didn’t bother to contact
Sun) I take it that they do so now. In August the stakes had turned,
however, and others are coming near. Microsoft seems to want to derive
special prerogatives on the basis of the speed of their implementation.
Something like “as my train is faster we should lay the tracks so that
only my train can run”.

Well, I guess that Mr. Soyrings testimony will appear within 24 hours at the DOJ.

Microsoft’s answer is here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/nov98/11-17soyring.htm

Update: The testimony of John Soyring is now available at: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2054.htm.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-17 23:36:35

Snippet: As we must all know by rote,
“integrating Windows with Internet Explorer benefits consumers and has
stood a legal test in a July 1998 US Appeals court decision.” But Glenn
Weadock started chipping away at that facade by outlining some of the
drawbacks of the integration: increased support costs and increased
hardware requirements for those who want to use a different browser.
These drawbacks discourage people from using an alternative browser. In
any case, there no choice for the Windows user – Internet Explorer must
be dealt with at some level whether it is a desired component or not.

IBM’s
Soyring enhances Weadock’s testimony by outlining IBM’s browser policy
on OS/2, which was to provide an extra CD at no extra cost containing
IBM’s WebExplorer browser software. Later on, when customers demanded
it, IBM also included Netscape Navigator as an option. Also, IBM does
not make exacting requirements of its OS/2 resellers about boot-up or
desktop appearance. In fact, it is possible for the reseller to change
either of these at will.

The bottom line is that IBM supported
Web browsers in conjunction with the operating system while not forcing
it on their customers. Microsoft could and should do the same. A Web
browser integrated with the operating system may provide benefits, but
if the operating system is ubiquitous as Windows is, it only seems fair
to provide the flexibility to remove the Web browser functionality if
it is not desired or to provide for integrating any arbitrary browser
like Netscape if this is desired. It is clear that right now, Microsoft
holds Windows users hostage to further its own agenda.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-18 01:37:49

Snippet: Microsoft is either to comply with the java specifications or abandon it altogether.

“Such
notice shall expressly indicate that the court has preliminarily found
that Microsoft has violated its licensing agreement to Sun’s Java
technology and that if a final judgment is entered consistent with the
court’s preliminary findings, Microsoft’s keywords and compiler
directives not contained in Sun’s Java Language specification, may be
prohibited from being included in any future Microsoft software
development tool for Java,” the ruling stated.

Given Microsoft’s
history of attempting to comply with the letter of the law while
violating the spirit (Consent Decree, Judge Jackson’s order to ship
Windows95 without MSIE), I doubt that this preliminary ruling will have
any effect. However, it sure is encouraging.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28937,00.html
or: http://www.sjmercury.com/breaking/headline1/006869.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-18 10:59:22

Snippet: The court order gives a nice overview of the java lawsuit. Reading it I couldn’t help observing Microsoft’s double standards:

1.
The Windows desktop may not be changed by resellers as that would
endanger the all-important “unified experience” of users. On the other
hand, a unified experience is not a goal for Microsoft when dealing
with the java language, where they defend the virtues of
“balkanization” – something they consider bad when it applies to others.

2.
When others speak of the integration of Windows and MSIE they are
explicitly told that they cannot speak meaningfully about it (see e.g.
Microsoft’s reply to the testimony of IBM’s Joy Soyring), as only
Microsoft employees know about the internals of Windows. However, when
it comes to the java language that Sun designed, Microsoft changes the
rules over who can be in the know: they have a lot to say about java
design.

Anyway, you can find the order re: Sun’s preliminary injunction at: http://java.sun.com/lawsuit/111798ruling.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-18 14:24:06

Snippet: The written testimony of the DOJ’s economic witness, Frederick R. Warren-Boulton, is posted at

http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2079.htm

In
addition to the fact that this testimony provides the economic basis
for declaring Microsoft to be a monopolist and, as such, is central to
the anti-trust case, this is a very readable and detailed document. It
ties together a lot of the testimony and evidence seen elsewhere in the
case.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-19 06:31:56

Snippet: Glenn Weadock’s testiomony refers to
the deposits of John Kies, Scott Vesey (Boeing), and Jim von Holle.
Excerpts of these deposits are now available at: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_excerpt.htm

I wish the DOJ had also released the relevant excerpts of the depositions mentioned in Avadis Tevanian’s testimony.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-19 09:58:39

Snippet: Some time ago I read Mr. Rick Rule’s
article about “The Case Against Microsoft” by former federal judge
Robert Bork. Unfortunately, the article didn’t refer to location where
I could find what it agitated against. (I noticed that it is customary
for Microsoft publications to go light on references.)

Perhaps
at that time or else at some other occassion I had been trying to find
a website for “ProComp”, a kind of joint political venture of companies
that feel threatened by Microsoft’s abuse of its monopoly position. I
found only a site claimed by some joker poking fun at the organization.

By accident, I found the real ProComp site this evening:
http://www.procompetition.org

They
seem to have pretty much the same interest as I have, only they are
much better funded ;-) . What interested me most was the page: http://www.procompetition.org/research/index.html where I found Bork’s paper at last.

Ah,
bliss. I now have Bork’s paper to read, haven’t got further than
halfway the testimony of Warren-Boulton (which looks good so far), and
I just received my copy of “Information Rules – a strategic guide to
the network economy” by Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian.

Incidentally,
Microsoft has long accused the government of making up “new theories”
of economics to support its antitrust case. Note how they themselves
try to tell us that traditional rules and definitions regarding
monopolies don’t apply, in other words, they try to have us adopt,
indeed, “new theories”.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-20 01:38:30

Snippet: Although the “Motley Fool” thinks that
“MS Access” is the product that Microsoft positions to compete with
Oracle, and is guilty of several other “inaccuracies”, it made some
observations that are to the point, e.g.

“In Microsoft’s case,
competing with its customers has become part of its core business
model, due to its internal lack of innovation.”

Who calls
Microsoft its biggest competitor? IBM that sells PC’s with Windows
pre-installed. And further? Oracle that sells database servers that run
on top of Windows and Sun that provides a virtual computer on top of -
again – Windows.

See:
http://fool.com/cashking/1998/cashkingport981118.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-20 01:47:06

Snippet: I haven’t posted much on the court
sessions lately, mostly because nothing much is happening there. I
noted some things that I want to comment on, but not enough to justify
creating a link for.

1. Microsoft now accuses several other
companies of “collusion”. What is strange is that this was supposed to
be a collusion “against” Microsoft. No market division here, no driving
up prices, but possibly an agreed upon common strategy to prevent entry
in whatever market of Microsoft. What is the power of these companies?
Microsoft claims they have power because they have large revenues. But
then, IBM depends on its PC sales, where it depends on its Windows
license, Sun also mainly sells computer hardware and Oracle primarily
sells services. All of these companies have a far lower share in their
primary markets than Microsoft has in that of OS’s. To call cooperating
against Microsoft of companies that even when banded together do not
have anything like a monopoly is misleading to say the least.

2.
Warren-Boulton is attacked for – according to Microsoft – not having
accounted for fast pace of technology that nullifies all economical
theory in the software industry. After all, Netscape seemingly came out
of nothing and so did java. An argument that doesn’t help Microsoft in
any way, as we have seen that Netscape’s technological progress was
worthless when placed against Microsoft’s position in OS’s and java’s
creator is not pre-installed by any major OEM. Clearly, technological
changes have no influence on market share.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-20 02:12:48

Snippet:

In today’s cross-examination of the
US DOJ’s economic witness, it came out that an internal memo written by
Microsoft’s Joachim Kempin describes Intel as being the most likely
competitor in the PC operating systems market. The reason given is
that, as part of the “Wintel” duopoly, Intel had the least to fear in
the way of predatory pricing from Microsoft. The full story is here:

http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2167128,00.html

This
sounds pretty curious to me, since Microsoft did succeed in getting
Intel to shelve their multimedia software project for a time. That
might by some stretch have been the start of a foray into operating
systems for Intel, but it was effectively quashed. Equally curious is
that Microsft’s “most feared” competitor in operating systems is not
really a software company. These are yet more signs that Microsoft does
indeed have a monopoly on the PC operating systems market.

Update: This account at http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29058,00.html
indicates that Microsoft even went so far as to consider buying a chip
maker like AMD or National Semiconductor. Also mentioned here is the
idea of yearly subscriptions to Windows or Office as a responce to
OEM’s dissatisfaction with the high price of Windows which they
pre-install on new PC’s.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-20 04:44:20

Snippet: After a lengthy investigation, Japan’s
FTC concluded that Microsoft has engaged in unfair business practices
through certain sales tactics and had violated the nation’s
anti-monopoly laws. For this the company was issued a warning.

The
FTC did not rule that the inclusion of Internet Explorer is illegal.
From the articles on the topic that I have read, I didn’t manage to
find out whether they considered this matter at all. Given Japan’s
emphasis on office tools (remember that the 20 states were considering
this too) it might well be that Japan is trying to defend local
products. This reminds me of the Korean situation where Microsoft
sought to buy a Korean word processor manufacturer (well, at first the
company offered itself for sale) for the purpose of taking the product
- with a significant market share in Korea – out of the market to make
place for Word.

While on the one hand waiving the verdict of
having violated the law, Microsoft’s spokespersons have on the other
hand claimed that the disregard of Japan’s FTC for the browser
inclusion constitutes an important precedent for the US DOJ.

Additional
links are welcome, because what I have found in the media is primarily
filled with the reactions of Microsoft’s spokespersons, not with
accounts of what is commented on.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/longterm/microsoft/stories/1998/microjapan112198.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-21 14:08:24

Snippet:

Microsoft used Linux in court (see http://www.thestandard.com/articles/display/0,1449,2615,00.html?home.ff)
Thursday in an effort to show that it does really have competition in
the market for PC operating systems. Funny how its example of
competition comes from free software developed by volunteers. In any
case, the DOJ’s economic witness Warren-Boulton brushed it aside by
saying that the financial analysts are still predicting a rosy future
for Microsoft and by saying “If you really believe Linux will impact
Microsoft’s ability to set prices, then, run, don’t walk, to your
nearest broker and short Microsoft stock.”

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-21 17:34:01

Snippet: While Microsoft’s lawyers and PR
machine tell us that Microsoft’s 95% marketshare is continuously
threatened by throngs of fierce competitors, we find nothing of this in
a memo from senior vice president Joachim Kempin to Chairman Bill
Gates. This memo was written in December 1997 and concerns the thoughts
on OEM pricing of the person within Microsoft who is ultimately
responsible for OEM relations. The memo was CC’ed to Steve Ballmer, now
president of Microsoft, and Paul Maritz, the senior vice president
responsible for Windows. If the contents of this memo is disregarded as
the “individual ideas” of someone within Microsoft, I doubt that any
information within the company can ever be deemed strategical.

What
is most clear from the memo is that other than Sun, a company with zero
market share in consumer software, Mr. Kempin sees no competition for
Windows whatsoever. The price of Windows is determined by the point at
which OEM’s will start to revolt and look for the creation of an
alternative OS rather than by the pricing of all those competitors that
Microsoft’s spokespersons and lawyers claim there are. Especially,
Microsoft fears that Compaq and Intel might bundle their forces to
create an alternative. Contrary to Microsoft’s lawyers and PR, Mr.
Kempin claims that the result will not lead to an overnight change, but
could be moderately effective after a two or three year period. During
that period, Microsoft could fight the companies backing the
alternative, e.g. in case of Intel by buying National Semiconductor
(Cyrix) and AMD to dump processors and thereby take away the revenues
Intel needs to fund the development effort. Of course, as we have seen
when Microsoft threatened to withdraw Compaq’s Windows license , Compaq
is easier to keep in check than Intel.

Mr. Kempin, responsible
for OEM sales, clearly doesn’t believe in the stories that Microsoft
spreads to the effect that writing a competiting OS is simple and takes
little funding. (Of course, there is also the part of being able to
actually market such an OS which is even more difficult than writing
it.)

Whatever Microsoft tells in court and to the press today
about the competition they have plays hardly any role in their internal
strategical planning.

The memo is available as an exhibit at the DOJ’s site and you are very much encouraged to read it. See:
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/365.pdf

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-21 20:24:57

Snippet: Being the biggest political spender in
the computer industry seems to pay off as congressmen are literally
re-iterating Microsoft’s party-line when accusing the Justice
Department of unjustifiably intruding in an unregulated market. While
we have seen nothing of government regulation aside from the attempt to
have Microsoft ship Netscape’s browser with Windows – something that
shouldn’t harm Microsoft or benefit Netscape if we are to believe
Microsoft’s own claims on ease of downloading, the technological
superiority of MSIE’s integration, and their own total commitment to
customer choice – congressmen parrot Microsoft in equating the present
investigation with “heavy-handed regulation”.

I don’t
particularly care that the former officials who wrote a letter to House
Majority Leader Armey to rebut the accusations are paid by ProComp,
that is, by organizations that have an interest in curbing Microsoft’s
power. Apparently, it matters *who* spawns the arguments, so if some
former Reaganites speak up, I’m happy. It is important that they claim
that a “conduct remedy” has been tried unsuccessfully in the past so
that a “structural remedy” may be in order now. Well now, that is a
proposal for some “heavy-handed regulation”, but it isn’t coming from
the DOJ.

See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/msftdoj/TWB19981120S0016

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-22 17:14:49

Snippet: On the orders of present Microsoft
president Steve Ballmer, Microsoft employees have charted Netscape’s
revenues to be able to systematically “pencil” them “out” by contracts
on the basis of predatory pricing.

See the following memo in the government exhibits: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/343.pdf

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-22 17:20:24

Snippet: I greatly appreciate having access to
the testimonies and exhibits at the DOJ’s site. Purely by accident I
found that the court transcripts are also available, although at a
rather unlikely place, namely ProComp:

http://transcripts.procompetition.org/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-22 18:15:42

Snippet: The following account and responses
concern the way Microsoft’s FrontPage HTML editor mangles the incoming
HTML to a Microsoft proprietary format: “Microsoft FrontPage
Extensions”.

I am not deeply impressed with the value of the
original letter in an antitrust case, but it nicely illustrates how
casual Microsoft is with changing people’s work from standard to
proprietary without giving a warning.

Furthermore, it fits in the companies strategy of locking customers into proprietary formats.

See: http://www.macintouch.com/msfrontpage.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-23 10:44:30

Snippet: Last week the libertarian Cato
Institute organized a conference on Technology and Society. Speakers
were Milton Friedman (whom I greatly admire for his early work), Larry
Ellison (Oracle), Eric Schmidt (Novell), Greg Maffei (Chief financial
officer Microsoft), and Stan Liebowitz (Microsoft consultant).

You can find the full schedule here: http://www.cato.org/events/technol2.html

Milton
Friedman has now distanced himself from his earlier stance that an
unregulated private monopoly can be a true menace and he his opposition
against antitrust laws is now dogmatical. I wonder if he has looked
into Microsoft’s regulatory role in the industry. Anyway, his speech is
mentioned in: http://www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZD2168153&pic=Y’

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-23 21:49:09

Snippet: By giving away its browser at negative
price and announcing that the browser would be wired into its operating
system, Microsoft managed to annihilite the market for web browsers.

Netscape
understood that it could no longer generate revenues under these
circumstances and released its own browser as open source, in the hope
that volunteers would further develop the software while Netscape’s own
“air-supply” – its ability to generate revenues to pay development
costs – had been “cut”.

Effectively, Netscape abandoned the web
browser development and therewith the web browser market, and moved its
attention to its servers – with a small share of the server market -
and its web portal.

With rumors going around that AOL – that
exclusively distributes Microsoft’s browser – will buy Netscape,
Microsoft is publicly claiming that this shows how vulnerable they are.

First
of all, by any standards their OS monopoly is not threatened as neither
AOL, nor Netscape produce operating systems or partner exlusively with
non-Microsoft operating systems vendors. As a direct result their 100%
market share of browsers on top of the latest Windows cannot possibly
be challenged, and therefore their ability to use the OS monopoly to
convert over 90% of all computer users is threatened by no one but the
DOJ.

Second, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is not even
threatened in the unlikely case that AOL would decide to convert its
users from MSIE to Netscape as MSIE is still delivered to all persons
that buy Microsoft Windows. Furthermore, Microsoft has claimed that all
these deals are pretty irrelevant as one can always download the
alternative browser, in the hypothetical situation, MSIE (all 60MB of
it – those Redmond folks are really naive wrt downloading).

So,
when Mr. Lacovara claims presupposes that there is “the fact that
overnight the structure of the market can change” he is merely bluffing
as his statement is false: the market for software is not in any way
touched by AOL’s possible buying of Netscape. The result might be
relevant for Microsoft’s MSN, but not for the OS monopoly and therefore
not for Microsoft’s browser share, and that is what is at stake.

You can read the statement of Microsoft’s senior vice president William Neukom at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/11-23neukom.htm

A C|Net article is at:http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29149,00.html

Update:
AOL’s Steve Case effectively made Microsoft’s repeated request to
dismiss the case ridiculous by claiming the intent to renew the MSIE
contract. At best AOL continues to develop the browser as a marketing
effort for Netcenter in which case the status quo would be maintained,
but quite likely they will attempt to “migrate” Netscape users to the
“AOL browser”, which is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s
present attack cannot be explained otherwise as a desperate effort to
hide the obvious: with their actions they have managed to eradicate the
competition. As things look now, Netscape’s being taken over by a
partner of Microsoft (and that’s what AOL is) indicates the demise of
competition in the software industry.

On Steve Case’s announcement that AOL will renew its MSIE contract to keep their place on the Windows desktop, you can read: http://www.crn.com/dailies/weekending112798/nov24dig08.asp

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-24 02:08:35

Snippet: “In software we don’t live in the world
of yesterday or the day before, we live in the world of today.” -
Michael Lacovara, Microsoft attorney.

What Microsoft fights in
court today is the idea of western rationality. The idea that cause and
effect can be studied and that predictions on the future can be made on
this basis.

Like any other radical political organization,
Microsoft thrives in an environment that it can claim to be completely
chaotic. If empirical science is to enter the analysis of Microsoft’s
position in the industry, its power will be laid bare and therewith
undermined. Therefor empirical science must be denied entrance to the
discourse. The primary way to do this is to claim that the past has no
relationship to the present, that every moment is unique, uncaused. Or
even better, it is caused solely by the Will of the Leader. If you
think I am going to far, remember Microsoft’s claims of infallibility
and omniscience (“setting the record straight”) while claiming the
stupidity of the DOJ and the bad faith of everybody that criticizes
their behavior.

For a less philosophical/political description of Microsoft’s wild claims in court (reflection on rant here ;-) see:

CNet: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29217,00.html

ProComp: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-911943574/p_article.view

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-25 12:39:03

Snippet:

Here is part of a Scott McNealy speech on how open standards and intellectual property rights can co-exist:

http://www.cadence.com/features/vol3No3/mc_nealy

In
it, he makes several noteworthy statements, such as that intellectual
property is short-lived and guarding it closely can also harm the
internal operations of the holder. He hits the nail on the head with
the following paragraph:

One problem my salespeople have
with this view is that it means that you don’t have to buy a computer
from Sun Microsystems if you don’t want to. You don’t have to buy from
IBM either, or Microsoft, or anyone else. In the open, network
computing environment, you can make your decisions based on
price/performance, availability, and reliability, rather than get
locked into a proprietary environment.

Words of the wise indeed!

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-25 19:30:41

Snippet: The article from which I plucked this
quote doesn’t say anything new, but I wanted to refer to it as its
aggressive wording surprised me given that it doesn’t come from a
corner where Microsoft criticism is the rule.

The article’s
author, Brooke Shelby Biggs, is a fellow at the Berkman Center for
Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. She is also a founding
member of the Technorealism group and writes a column for The San
Francisco Bay Guardian.

See: http://www.techweb.com/internet/columns/fwdthinking/fwdthinking.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-26 00:51:50

Snippet: With all the coverage of the past few
days focussed on the Netscape takeover, the cross-examination process
has fallen into the background. And no wonder too with Microsoft
dragging it out like they are; so far, it has taken 6 weeks for
Microsoft to cross-examine half of the government’s witnesses. Here is
an article with a report on how the cross-examination has been going
lately:

http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2169272,00.html

One
thing I notice is that, as part of the cross-examination of Apple’s
Tevanian, the Microsoft lawyer claimed Tevanian did not have the
background to make an expert judgement on whether Microsoft is a
monopolist. In the current cross-examination of the DOJ economist
Frederick Warren-Boulton, Microsoft is now claiming that he does not
have the technical expertise to say whether an OS like Linux can be a
real competitor or not. Tevanian never claimed to be an economist and
Warren-Boulton is not claiming to be a technician. What reason is there
to refute claims that were never made other than to cause a distraction
and to drag the trial out further?

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-11-26 20:05:10

Snippet: To find a little basis for my
annotation exercise of Microsoft’s ridiculous (and universally
acclaimed) press release concerning the AOL-Sun-Netscape deal, I went
after the press releases of the individual companies.

The
attention given to them seems to be related to the size of the company.
Sun’s is prominently shown on their website, but is relatively short,
emphasisizing that they have what is effectively a big deal with an
ISP, a market in which Sun is very strong, and also a promise for
future java usage (which needn’t be with Sun as the good thing about
java is that it is gradually fading into a vendor independent status).

See: http://www.sun.com/981124/aol/;$sessionid$421Y5PYADHGV1AMUVFZE4GUBSSUXEUDO

Netscape’s
link is less obvious, but their press release is quite lengthy,
emphasisizing that AOL is primarily gaining the “Netscape” name.

See: http://www.netscape.com/newsref/pr/newsrelease707.html?cp=hom11prt1

As
for AOL, I suppose they made a press release too, but I didn’t manage
to find it at their site. I did find an open letter of Steve Case to
AOL’s customers at C|Net: http://www.news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,29234,00.html?st.ne.ni.rel

Incidentally,
the only sane remark in the press that I have found on Microsofts’
ridiculous contention that the deal has changed what the antitrust
lawsuit is about was made by Sun’s Scott McNealy: he calls it a “joke”.
(http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/121990.html)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-26 22:56:26

Snippet: Not being a regular – or even irregular
- visitor of web portals (my “home” page is “blank”), I never worried
much about sizes. Now that landmark slides are being claimed I was glad
that James Coates provided some numbers:

“The latest survey by
Metrix, the Internet’s audience measuring giant, showed Yahoo a the top
portal with 26.1 million users and aol.com in second place with 21.8
million. Other contenders: Microsoft, 19.6 million; Lycos, 17.6
million; Excite, 16.6 million and Netscape, 16.3 million.”

By
buying Netscape, AOL will climb to the first place with one-and-a-half
times as many visiors as the number two and nearly twice as many as the
number three (Microsoft).

It seems to me that these shares are less out of balance than many markets within the software industry.

For the decent article from which I picked the data (it was written before the buyout became official), see:
http://cgi.chicago.tribune.com/tech/frontpage/0,1714,coates,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-27 01:08:11

Snippet: According to an article in “The
Recorder”, Rick Rule, Microsoft’s chief antitrust specialist, the
government may well prod AOL to accept their option to renew the MSIE
contract IN ORDER TO ASSIST IN THE PROSECUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT’S CASE.

Of
course, between the 24th and now, AOL’s Steve Case has already said
that he won’t let the contract go, so no doubt Mr. Rule’s respect for
the government’s efficacy will have risen.

Microsoft claimed in
court that AOL chose MSIE in the past only for technological reasons.
If that is true, why would AOL today need “government prodding” to make
the same decision? Apparently, Mr. Rule isn’t at all confident that
Microsoft’s defense in court reflects AOL’s true motivation.

See: http://www.ljx.com/newswire/stories/112498b.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-28 23:21:13

Snippet: After the barrage of single-source
articles on the merger (that is, being written exclusively on the basis
Microsoft’s press release), I am most happy to find an article for
which the opinion of third parties on the value of the merger for the
case at hand has been checked. “Press” at last.

See: http://www.dallasnews.com/technology-nf/techbiz26.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-29 19:39:29

Snippet: After re-reading a flashback of “The
Atlantic Monthly” on a 1881 article by Henry Demarest Loyd on Standard
Oil’s monopoly, it seemed like a good idea to pay a little attention to
it here.

The article is not altogether accurate, but it sure
helps to see Microsoft’s actions to defend and extend their monopoly in
a historical perspective.

See: http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/monopoly.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-29 20:29:54

Snippet: The media widely distributed excerpts from Microsoft’s press release “Microsoft says government should end antitrust lawsuit”.

Note
that this statement differs from say: “Why the government should end
antitrust lawsuit”. This latter statement tells that the underlying
content will give reasons demonstrating why the government should end
the antitrust lawsuit, while the actual title of the press release is
effectively a command. It is for this reason that I titled my
annotation of the press release: “Microsoft prescribes government’s
actions”.

The press release is at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/ (I found no permanent location.)

You can find the annotation here: http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/ms_onaolns.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-30 01:26:21

Snippet: It was a revelation to find out why a
complicated three-party deal was made in which AOL buys Netscape
including the server software that Sun will subsequently license: for
tax reasons this division couldn’t be sold to Sun outright.

The following article provides some urgently needed background information on the deal: http://www5.mercurycenter.com/business/top/060057.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-11-30 01:48:25

Snippet: More and more colleges force students
to use Microsoft software exclusively. At one time – perhaps they still
do – Microsoft rewarded professors $200 dollars if they advertised
Microsoft tools in class. Given the content of computer courses,
textbook writers seem to cash in as well.

Where the soviet-union
restricted political education to the glorification of
marxism-leninism, the free west makes its students
“Microsoft-compatible”. For the time being the latter sounds better
than the former, but where will it lead?

Anyway, read the comments from agitated student Josh: http://www.nls.net/mp/josh/Ms-At-Schl.html

Update: For the occasion I dug up some old references.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-01 00:19:44

Snippet: The “big” news is supposed to be that
an unnamed source within Microsoft tells that Microsoft is internally
fully prepared to continue to the next court. Come now Charles, that’s
what you folks at ZDNet said even *before* the trial started.

Otherwise
Mr. Cooper feels called to play with Mr. Warren-Boulton’s name to turn
it into Warren-Boring (who’s boring here?), and to speculate that an
Appeals Court will not be negatively biased against Gates’ testimony
because they will read the transcript instead of watching the video.
Sorry, Charles, bad estimate: Your’s truely has not seen the video,
only the transcripts, and they were absolutely hilarious.

Aside
from getting an idea of the person of Mr. Charles Cooper, the article
was actually informative in referring to Microsoft’s latest full page
advertising campaign in national newspapers. I hope to learn more about
that (I’d love to annotate the text >-)

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_rc_display/0,3443,2170387,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-01 10:11:00

Snippet: James Grimaldi wrote an overview of the trial so far, pretty much as I see it.

The
most important observation is that things aren’t going to be simpler
for Microsoft once their own executives are taking the stand.

See: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/micr_113098.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-01 15:01:56

Snippet: ProComp compiled a list with excerpts
from headlines from articles and editorials from publications like The
New York Times and BusinessWeek on the AOL-Netscape merger and the
relevance for the present antitrust case.

Perhaps ProComp made a
particularly nice pick, but it seems that Microsoft’s agitprop campaign
didn’t break through the good sense of the writers for these
publications.

See: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-912462425/p_article.view

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-01 19:06:44

Snippet: Microsoft accuses the government of
“lying with statistics”. The point is that the government claims,
partly on the basis of information provided in a memo by Microsoft’s
senior vice president of OEM sales Joachim Kempin, that the prices of
Microsoft’s operating system have risen as a percentage of the cost of
the hardware of computer systems.

Microsoft spokesperson Mark
Murray made this claim outside the court today. This reminds me of
Microsoft’s claim that Windows98 is competitive priced, a claim that
was supported by comparing the *upgrade* price of Windows98 with the
full price of a Sun Solaris personal version (which has since then
dropped to $10.-), with the price of the full version of BeOS (that was
actually priced somed $40,- lower and thereby significantly below the
price of the Windows98 upgrade). Although Microsoft mentioned regularly
mentioned Linux as a competitor when in court, it wasn’t mentioned in
the price comparison, possibly because of its zero price. (Actually, I
paid $50 for RedHat 5.2, but then, five computers are running the OS
from this one CD.)
(In case this is new for you, you might be interested in reading my annotation of Microsoft’s press release on pricing: http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html)

I
do not doubt that according to his own standards, Mark Murray would
have to say that Microsoft has been “lying with statistics”.

Incidentally,
Mr. Murray’s credibility has been compromised earlier when the
government sought to obtain database information from Microsoft. The
government had to go back to court twice to obtain the requested
information. Judge Jackson called the pieces that Microsoft passed to
the government – what Murray called “100% cooperation” – “gibberish”.

Read the C|Net article for the quote: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29374,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-02 00:45:36

Snippet:

The creator of the Java programming language, James Gosling, is the next witness and the story is here:

http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2170800,00.html

ZDNet
once again does not let us down and faithfully gives Microsoft’s
responce which whines that “Sun refuses to publicly discose its
compatibility tests” and that “we have the most compatible Java
implementation.” The first whine could only be taken seriously if
Microsoft itself makes a regular practice of making its standards
publicly available. Since Microsoft is often fastidious about keeping
its standards private, the complaint that Sun does not make their
standards public is, at best, sheer hypocrisy. The second statement is
also ridiculous since, by Microsoft’s own admission above, the Java
compatibility tests are not public. So what is Microsoft’s Java most
compatible with? No one except Microsoft or Sun would know, but a
reasonable guess is “most compatible with Windows.” As Gosling points
out in his testimony, that value of Java lies in its cross-platform
promise and to optimise it for one particular operating system at the
expense of cross-platform operability is to undermine the premise of
Java. Microsoft knows this very well, so their second statement is just
a play on words.

Update: Gosling’s written testimony is posted at http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2049.htm.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-02 05:21:09

Snippet: I was very pleased to see (eh, only now) that Microsoft’s website offers some well-presented trial information.

You can find the trial transcripts (that can also be found at http://transcripts.procompetition.org/) at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/transcripts/ They are available in HTML and – indeed – Word formats.

The list of defense exhibits is at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/exhibits/
I
am very pleased to see that Microsoft did a better job than the DOJ by
allocating the exhibits to the relevant days adding a one-liner with
information.

You can find a feature article (right now on the
collapse of the government’s case by the incisive questioning of Mr.
Warren-Boulton by Mr. Lacovara) and a menu with links to information
such as mentioned above at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-02 08:13:21

Snippet: With internal emails being made public as exhibits and being read in court, the have gained a new status.

Microsoft’s press release on the AOL/Netscape merger (annotated here at http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/ms_onaolns.html)
has now been followed up by an internal email by the Chairman himself
that was released the same day to the press. I guess that releasing it
as an internal email gives this press release a more authentic
appearance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the email itself, only a report on it: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29415,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-02 08:58:11

Snippet: In a multi-page article, C|Net pays
attention to Microsoft’s control and therefore exclusive knowledge of
the win32 API. The matter is explained by referring to Netscape being
blocked from access. Additional pages concern the influence of java and
Linux on this basis of Microsoft’s power.

Good reading.

See: http://www.news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,26685,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 01:25:52

Snippet: As is known to all school-children educated with Microsoft Encarta, Chairman Gates is well-known for his donations to charity.

Last
weekend, he and his wife announced to donate 0.166666666667% of their
wealth – coming down to the sum of $100 million – to aid the Children’s
Vaccin Program to help children in developing countries.

See: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/12-2vaccine.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 01:52:13

Snippet: You can find James Gosling’s testimony at:
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2049.htm

Microsoft’s reply is at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/dec98/12-1gosling.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 02:01:15

Snippet: As you might have read in an earlier
posting, Microsoft spokesperson Mark Murray accused the government of
having been “lying with statistics”.

Microsoft now supports Murray’s accusation with a press release: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/ (wish they used full paths), thereby making it official.

On the basis of the reasons given in http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html we can now say that by Microsoft’s own standards they have been “lying with statistics”.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 02:20:03

Snippet: Perhaps I should visit them more regularly as BusinessWeek has some decent articles on the Microsoft matter lined up.

You can find that list of article “updates” at: http://www.businessweek.com/microsoft/updates.htm

Their general coverage is at: http://www.businessweek.com/microsoft/cotv.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 04:05:28

Snippet: How mean can people be? Mary Jo writes in “Lessons to be learned from Linux” (http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/column/0,4712,2171286,00.html)

“I
don’t blame Microsoft’s PR folks (at least not much) for Microsoft’s
problems. What would you do if you were in their shoes? There are only
so many $20 million library grants and $100 million vaccination
campaigns you can convince Bill and Melinda to fund as a way of getting
some much-needed positive press.”

And in “Microsoft as David? AOL as Goliath? Not exactly” (http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/column/0,4712,2168404,00.html) she writes:

“These
guys who testified on behalf of the government aren’t girding for
battle. They’re looking for a rock, any rock, under which they can
hide. Say what you will, but they have basically slit their own
throats, at least in terms of any kind of future partnerships with
Microsoft.

When AOL attempts to renegotiate its license for
Internet Explorer next year, as it has said it intends to do, is there
anyone who doubts AOL will be subject to a little vengeful price
gouging? Does anyone really think Microsoft will go out of its way to
offer Compaq or HP the same kind of OEM discounts it will offer its
“loyal” pals, like Dell? My bet? It’s payback time.”

And in “How the mighty have fallen” (http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/column/0,4712,2166811,00.html) we read:

“The
unspoken code of silence which used to prevent many in the industry
from criticizing Microsoft and its practices has been lifted. While Sun
CEO Scott McNealy and tag-team member Oracle CEO Larry Ellison have
perfected the art of Bill bashing, other bigwigs increasingly are
taking advantage of the anti-Microsoft climate to voice their pent-up
frustrations in dealing with the software giant.”

Perhaps Ms Foley belongs to the latter category.

Clarification:
Mary Jo Foley has been a vocal critic of Microsoft’s actions for a long
time now. The articles referred to above gave me the impression that
she has completely lost her trust in the integrity of Microsoft
spokespersons. Formerly she seemed to criticize specific actions, but
certainly not the whole of Microsoft. For this reason I think she
belongs to the category of people who are now venting their “pent-up
frustrations” about Microsoft.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-03 23:54:39

Snippet: In this account of Thursday’s court session:

http://chicagotribune.com/business/businessnews/ws/item/0,1267,8297-8298-19621,00.html

we
learn that Microsoft’s latest strategy is to belittle Java’s
cross-platform ability, to say that Sun oversold Java and that
Microsoft felt it had to “improve” Java because of these weaknesses.
This is in stark contrast to internal Microsoft e-mail protraying Java
as a threat to Windows which must be stopped. Which is it?

Based
on Microsoft’s actions, they felt compelled to introduce an “improved”
version of Java which would work best under Windows to the exclusion of
Java’s cross-platform goal. It may be true that Sun made mistakes which
limited Java’s cross-platform abilities, Sun oversold Java and even
that Microsoft’s Java is faster and runs more Java apps, but to bill it
as “giving consumers a choice” when its explicit goal is to make
Windows more attractive is not a complete accounting. After all, the
Trojans were given a choice to accept an attractive wooden horse too.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-05 02:38:48

Snippet: It’s fair enough to drop out, but its
pretty bad to do so without consideration for the reasons why the state
of South Carolina entered it in the first place.

Instead, State Attorney General Charles Condon merely re-iterated Microsoft’s press releases on the matter:

“Recent events have proven that the Internet is a segment of our economy where innovation is thriving.”

Please,
explain how “events” can “prove” that “innovation is thriving”. If Mr.
Condon refers to AOL’s buying Netscape, I don’t see what has to do with
“innovation”, let alone that it “proves” that it “thrives”.

“Further government intervention or regulation is unnecessary and, in my judgment, unwise.”

Further? Please, tell me what “interventor or regulation” has been taken place so far?

Condon
disputed that the case would benefit consumers, as other government
attorneys argue. “Consumers have not taken a leading role in this
action,” Condon said. “That’s because there are no monopolies on the
Internet.”

Could someone explain to Mr. Condon that the point
was that the monopoly has always been elsewhere and was and still is
being used to expand the power of the monopoly holder to the Internet?
If Mr. condon had merely said that consumers are conspicuously absent
in the struggle, he would have a point. However, by re-iterating
Microsoft’s press releases and ignoring the reasons for the trial
altogether, Mr. Condon sounds very much like a bought man.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29612,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-07 23:14:43

Snippet: After accusing the government last week
of “lying with statistics”, this weeks’ slogan from Redmond is that the
government is “really out to destroy Microsoft”.

Note first of
all that Microsoft has chosen not to subject itself to the legal
proceedings. Instead it has transformed itself into a political
organization aiming to free the way for the expansion of its power. As
a political organization it is engaged in raising support from the
population. This is ultimately to undo the power of the democratic
state to set and enforce laws that limit Microsoft’s actions.

Microsoft’s
primary weapon is propaganda. The basics are to continuously make news
and if others have more to tell, make sure that you create even more
newsworthy events. Thus, Microsoft chose the day at which Sun’s latest
version of Solaris was introduced to rename its some-time to be
released all-to-everyone operating system NT 5.0 to Windows 2000.
Another example is that the news of Netscape’s demise by selling out to
AOL was completely overwhelmed by a press campaign from Microsoft that
this indicated that the combination of AOL and Netscape had “changed
the competitive landscape of the software industry overnight”. Thus, by
launching massive press campaigns, other news and other interpretations
can be pushed aside.

Another issue in propaganda is simplicity. As a well-known but little respected German statesman put it:
“The
most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one
fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging
attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over
and over. here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and
most important requirement for success.”
Indeed, Microsoft’s
continuously repeated slogan’s of their “principle of innovation” and
“freedom to innovate” comply with this pattern.

Another advice to the propagandist, this time by Walter Lippmann in 1921, is:
“The
skilful propagandist knows that while you must start with a plausible
analysis, you must not keep on analyzing, because the tedium of real
political accomplishment will soon destroy interest. So the
propagandist exhausts the interest in reality by a toleraby plausible
beginning, and then stokes up energy for a long voyage by brandishing a
passport to heaven.”

Following these different advices,
Microsoft’s statements usually give little attention to the topic at
hand and much to vague ideals like a “principle of innovation”. With
their latest claims that the government is “lying with statistics” and
even “really out to destroy Microsoft”, the company has now clearly and
completely abandoned the possibility of reaching an agreement; it’s
present strategy is to use all their economical and propaganda power to
subject the government to their will.

For less angry words, see: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29621,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-08 01:05:19

Snippet: ProComp compiled a table with
Microsoft’s revenues per PC from 1990 to 1996 on the basis of internal
Microsoft material that has now become public. It looks like they
managed to drive up prices well.

See: http://www.procompetition.org/quizes/revenue.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-08 01:37:00

Snippet:

David Farber’s testimony is posted at the DOJ’s Web site here (http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2059.htm) and ZDNN’s Mary Jo Foley writes up a piece on it here (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2173052,00.html).

I quote the following paragraph from Farber’s testimony since it really cuts to the heart of the bundling/integration issue:

I
understand that Microsoft claims that it should be permitted to include
any software it chooses in its Windows product so long as some
efficiency can be articulated as a result of the “integration” of that
software into that product. But if that standard were adopted by this
Court, then any application could be bundled into Microsoft’s Windows
product — regardless of the ability, inherent in the nature of
software described above, to achieve that efficiency without combining
the applications into an ever larger bundle of software which includes
not only operating system functions but operating environment functions
and applications. Taken to its logical extreme, that standard would
mean that Microsoft could bundle together all its existing and future
applications with its current (already massive) product sold as Windows
98. Windows 98 (or whatever later version of Windows) could become the
one and only universal software product, and only Microsoft could
develop software for Intel-based personal computers. For example,
Microsoft could next claim that, because there are some functions which
overlap between Windows 98 and Microsoft’s suite of applications called
Office, now sold separately, those applications could be bundled into
one product to achieve some “efficiency”. But there is no such
“efficiency” which cannot be achieved by the same separate distribution
of those applications and their “integration” by an OEM or retail end
user when the applications are installed (as is now the case).

Even
if we grant Microsoft’s notion that integrating a Web browser into the
operating system produces efficiencies, why is it necessarily true that
only their Web browser (Internet Explorer) can be integrated in? Dr.
Gosling has mentioned in his testimony that, with a properly designed
interface, any Web browser could be substituted. This would be a way
that consumers could gain the “benefits of an integrated Web browser”
while preserving competition in the market for Web browsers. Presumably
this would also handle the case of customers who want no Web browser at
all. Microsoft has already shown they can take this path (i.e. with
their Java Virtual Machine on the Mac and Unix versions of Internet
Explorer), but it is disappointing that it takes litigation for
Microsoft to make the right decision for consumers.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-08 06:42:45

Snippet: Here are some excerpts from Will Rodger’s: “Gates: Boies out to destroy Microsoft” (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2172885,00.html)

Here is the complaint:

“The
government and Microsoft’s competitors are trying to turn this case
into a PR spectacle, probably because they know they have a weak case,”
Charles Rule said.

Added Warden: “Their real focus seems to be an attempt to influence public opinion against Microsoft.”

And here Will Rodger’s observation that shows that Microsoft is doing more PR work than the government:

Though
nearly always available for comment at the customary midday break at
the Microsoft trial, government attorneys have often skipped day-end
wrap-ups. Microsoft, by contrast, rarely misses a chance to speak at
these and has held several press conferences since the trial began.

Mr.
Rule and Mr. Warden represent the situation as if the government is
spending more effort on PR than Microsoft. This description of the
situation has been refuted by Mr. Rodger’s observation. I conclude that
Mr. Rule and Mr. Warden have incorrectly described the situation.
Given
that they could have obtained the relevant facts easily on the one
hand, while they had a motive for making their statement on the other
(blackening their opponent in court), I conclude that they have
wilfully misrepresented the situation to the public.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-08 10:47:29

Snippet: Looking over the news items I found
that Microsoft claims by mouth of its lead attorney John Warden that
the government’s “real focus seems to be an attempt to influence public
opinion against Microsoft”, while Mr. Gates claims that the government,
or at least Mr. Boies, is “really out to destroy Microsoft”.

There
is only so much one can “really” do at one time, so it seems like we
can combine the claimed intentions, thereby coming to the conclusion
that Microsoft claims that the government is trying to destroy
Microsoft by attempting to influence public opinion against it.

Interestingly, “regulation” is suddenly orphaned.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-09 03:43:23

Snippet: South Carolina dropping the lawsuit of
the 20 states against Microsoft with a justification that could have
been cut and pasted from Microsoft press releases has renewed the
interest in Microsoft’s political spending.

ProComp published “Who got the Microsoft money?” (http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-913161376/p_article.view)
and at C|Net you can find a table with political spending of several
computer and software companies (Hola, it’s not in the menus any
longer, seek for yourself.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-09 03:54:52

Snippet: Microsoft has stated that: Mr Farber’s
suggestion that OEMs should decide which components of Windows they
deliver to customers would be a disaster for consumers and software
developers.

Wouldn’t it be a disaster too, to have OEMs buy
harddisks, CPU’s, video cards, keyboards and monitors, all from
different companies? Shouldn’t this all be produced by IBM only to
prevent “disaster”? Where is the difference? We have seen how having
multiple vendors for components and multiple OEMs has driven computer
hardware prices down. This the result of several competitive markets
delivering one end product: a standard PC (and they are standard to the
level of being boring!). Why couldn’t this operate with “standard”
system software too?

See Microsoft’s reaction on David Farber’s testimony:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/dec98/12-7farber.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-09 09:56:45

Snippet: It is slightly troubling for Microsoft
that in their 1997 “Computer Dictionary” they defined a web browser as
a “client application” and that MSIE is an example of such a web
browser. Apparently, all this talk of the browser really being part of
Windows since 1994 didn’t quite make it outside a very select group in
that organization.

Another painful item is that Microsoft’s
lawyers in court apparently lack knowledge of the relationship between
computer hardware and software. Today’s analogy in court – in Redmond
they reason by analogy, not by structural analysis – was the Windows
with MSIE is like a radio with FM and AM. What efficiencies are served
by break the AM functionality out of the AM/FM tuner?

The
analogy breaks at several points. As Mr. Farber pointed out, people who
listen to FM only would be quite happy without the AM part.
Furthermore, radio tuners are commodities, that is, you can switch
radio tuners of different vendors without becoming unable to receive
certain stations as a result. Closely related to tuners being
commodities is that little development is going on here, does Microsoft
claim the same about the Windows/MSIE combo?

If you have an FM
tuner and want AM too, you must by a new radio. On the other hand, if
you have a computer with an operating system and want a browser, you
can keep all of your present products and add the browser software to
turn your computer hardware into yet another “machine”. In computer
science classes you are told that a computer becomes a new “machine”
when you add or retract software. The efficiency rules for hardwired
machines such as radios are inherently different. This seems to be too
deep for Microsoft’s lawyers.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29712,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-10 01:50:41

Snippet: Microsoft’s “reasoning” in court and
before the public has long rested in an important degree on analogies.
Instead of giving structural arguments, they bring up another subject
matter and tell us that we really should be discussing that and
subsequently match the conclusion on the Windows/MSIE bundling.

Clearly,
they don’t think that there is anything new or innovative in the
software industry, as their reasoning is about e.g. coca cola formulas,
clock radios, and AM/FM radios.

When confronted with Mr.
Farber’s structural analysis of integration of software products,
however, it is dismissed as “academic”. Mr. Farber reasons from the
general to the specific and that’s what scientific theories are made
for.

Mr. Farber has reasoned against the value of integration
for consumers and software developers on the basis of general theories
about software. Microsoft answers that such reasoning is invalid: Mr.
Farber shouldn’t have thought for consumers and developers, he should
have polled them.

Similarly, Mr. Farber is attacked because he
hasn’t seen the source code of Windows. This is a rather silly argument
from Microsoft, as a specific implementation code doesn’t invalidate
general principles of software design.

Microsoft is at war with reason. They seek to substitute it with authority, that is, their authority.

See: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-10 10:46:22

Snippet: In the “independent” media we
frequently encounter quotes from Microsoft spokespersons and once in a
while from someone from the DOJ, and very seldom from a third party
independent specialist. The reason for this distribution of quotes is
simple: quantity. Microsoft’s spokespersons hold press conferences on
the stairs of the court building twice a day on every day the court
convenes. Regulary, someone, mostly David Boies, from the DOJ appears
at the same location, but certainly not twice a day.

Something
else. Microsoft gives out press releases on every testimony for the
DOJ, often releasing them even before the DOJ manages to post the
testimony itself on the Net. Also, Microsoft regularly publishes press
releases with their view on the proceedings in court.

Aside from this, Microsoft’s advertisements in national newspapers have become a regular feature.

The
DOJ hardly ever publishes press releases – I haven’t found any on their
site after the trial started. The DOJ doesn’t give press conferences
nearly as often as Microsoft does. The DOJ doesn’t advertise in
national newspapers. The DOJ doesn’t have its logo on the homepage of
nearly every major portal or news service on the web.

And yet,
Microsoft claims that the government is “clearly .. waging a PR war”
against it. Strange, to me it seems that the government is meticulously
restricting itself to the court, while Microsoft is most surely
“waging” the “PR war” that it accuses the government of.

I wrote this on the basis of my own regular visits at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ and http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial and the following article:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29762,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-11 01:56:25

Snippet: From where I am, campaign contributions
by *companies* look pretty much like bribes to me. Perhaps I simply
lack understanding. For your information “Microsoft cash flows into
campaign chests”: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/dona_121098.html
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-11 02:00:32

Snippet: There is a difference between a
Microsoft executive mentioning to the Chairman that they should “piss
on” the graphical component of Sun’s java, and having Marc Andreessen
write to Sun “Let’s nail the bastards”, referring to Microsoft, or
having one Sun executive writes to another: “No agreement with Netscape
is worth the ink it’s printed with. Go sign a deal with Saddam Hussein.
It has a better chance of being honored.”

Words are worth
little, what matters are actions. Microsoft has indeed waged a press
campaign against java, so the “pissing on” was actually fulfilled.
(Note that Microsoft uses the lawsuit to do a lot of “pissing on” java.)

On
the other hand, Netscape did nothing to “undermine” java, at most they
were not quite up to keeping their JVM up to date. However,
“undermining” java is exactly what Microsoft intended and carried out.
Something else, how could Netscape and Sun possibly “nail” Microsoft?
Did they have power to deny market entrance to Microsoft? What did they
do that can be shown to be both illegal and wilfully done?

The
“colorful” e-mail from Microsft executives that have circulated lately
are relevant in the context of the allegation – for me, “fact” – that
Microsoft used its monopoly power to deny entrance to markets to other
companies and to close down research done by other companies that might
lead to competition. In the absence of a context in which the
statements become relevant, Microsoft tries to convince the public that
context is irrelevant to statements and that all that matters are the
statements isolated from what gives them meaning.

For sources see: http://www.businessweek.com/microsoft/updates/up81209a.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-11 02:42:06

Snippet: Following the link below you can read
Microsoft’s letter to Compaq in which they elaborated on their earlier
“Notice of Intent to Terminate” the Windows license. Microsoft
threatened to revoke the license to Compaq if the latter company didn’t
obey Microsoft’s demand that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the link to
Micro-Soft Network, and the Internet Setup Wizard must be placed on the
desktop and even given preferential treatment. The latter consists of
not merely making them Windows95 “shortcuts” that customers can easily
remove, but really grafting them on the desktop.

See: http://www.news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,15622,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-12 11:52:49

Snippet: You can find the 49 page testimony of Princeton computer scientist Dr. Edward Felten here: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2060.htm

As
usual, Microsoft is working the press before the court session has even
started. You can find Microsoft’s response to the testimony here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/dec98/12-11felten.htm

It is noteworthy that – contrary to the previous responses – this one does not contain derigatory remarks on the witness.

As
always, Microsoft is not arguing on the basis of structural analysis,
but by using – inappropriate – analogies. This time the Windows/MSIE
combo is not a clockradio or an AM/FM radio, but a body with an arm.

Like
socialist governments, Microsoft argues that they should be the sole
providers of customer demands, as the market place cannot be trusted to
do so:

The Government appears to envision a world in which any
computer manufacturer has the right to modify Windows source code as
they please, notwithstanding copyright laws to the contrary. If the
government had its way, consumers would quickly be confronted by dozens
or even hundreds of incompatible versions of Windows. In effect,
Windows would cease to exist, and software developers would be forced
to create custom versions of their applications for each version of
Windows or only make use of functionality that they believed (at their
peril) would be included in all versions of Windows.

Why would
customers be confronted by “hundreds of incompatible versions of
Windows”? Wouldn’t the market place be able to sort this out? Microsoft
is claiming that unless they have the power to regulate software, chaos
will result.

Compare Microsoft’s present statements on
“incompatible versions” of Windows with their argumentation earlier
this week for introducing an “incompatible version” of java.
Consistency seems to be an unknown virtue in Redmond.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-12 16:17:59

Snippet: Microsoft’s exhibits consist for a
large degree of articles in trade rags, e.g. to – given java’s speedy
development – ancient reviews of JVM’s, and marketing material, such as
pages from Apple’s website.

The DOJ’s evidence, on the other
hand, focuses on communication between Microsoft’s executives on the
one hand, and the economical situation – by means of the testimonies of
experts – on the other.

It seems to me that the DOJ is on the
right track, as they seek to display the relation between actual
decision making, economical power and economical effect. And that’s
what antitrust is all about.

Only with respect to java, did
Microsoft show us about Sun’s internal decision making. Admittedly, I
haven’t read up on the matter much. From the press I understand that
Microsoft claims that Sun expected Microsoft to create a non-standard
version of java because top Sun executives seem to have expected that
Microsoft would write its own JVM. However, the latter doesn’t preclude
the former: Microsoft could have written its JVM for Windows from
scratch while still adhering to the standard. However, Microsoft chose
instead to wage a standards war to prevent the commoditization of the
development platform.

To return to the title of this item,
Mary Jo Foley wrote on the different sorts of evidence that Microsoft
and the DOJ use. See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/column/0,4712,2174223,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-13 05:18:48

Snippet: The information on Microsoft’s lawsuits
against C|Net writer Dan Goodin, Caldera for allegedly leaking sealed
documents, and two professors for having tapes with testimonies of
Netscape executives that Microsoft wants to have, was all featured here
at the time. Note that Microsoft sues Caldera for leaking documents
that were used in Wendy Rohm’s “The secret Microsoft file” while at the
same time claiming that this is a work of “fiction”.

Wendy Goldman Rohm presented the big picture in a most readable article published at Mercury News and Boycott Microsoft: http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/rohm.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-13 16:50:52

Snippet: Once more, Microsoft has grabbed the
release of a beta product as an opportunity to discredit their
competition. Earlier they generated an error message in Windows 3.1
when DR-DOS was used as underlying operating system.

This time,
they ship the latest Beta of MSIE with an Outlook Express version that
discards Blue Mountain greeting cards. What coincidence that this
happens just when Microsoft has entered the market for greeting cards
itself.

You can find the full complaint here: http://www.bluemountain.com/home/bluemountain_vs_Microsoft.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-13 20:54:36

Snippet: For once, Microsoft had to find in
court that the construction of analogies can be done in various ways,
not necessarily positive to them. Mr. Felten compared MSIE with a
“screwdriver”. It might well be useful, but that is insufficient reason
to glue it to one’s hand.

Felten wrote a program to disentangle
MSIE functionality from Windows98. Not good enough, according to
Microsoft as what matters is not functionality, but specific lines of
code.

The MSIE-less version of Windows98 that Felten created
worked fine according to this statement. Under cross-examination Felten
was asked to confirm that Microsoft’s special Windows update site
didn’t work with the MSIE-less version. Felten’s answer was that
actually it did work, except for a short period in December when the
site was changed, something that Felten could work around in his fix.
Could Microsoft have prepared itself for this cross-examination by
changing the functionality of their update site?

See Will Rodger’s: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2175958,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-15 10:03:19

Snippet: After their long fight to obtain the
original interview tapes and transcripts from academic authors David
Yoffee and Michael Cusumano, an Appeals Court denied Microsoft access
to these resources.

This is quite relevant as it supports the
idea that academic research doesn’t have to pass its sources on to some
interested and dominant party.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29968,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-16 04:32:02

Snippet: Goldtouch alleges that it to have
Microsoft license its ergonomic mouse design. A year later Microsoft
brought out its “own” ergonomic mouse, closely resembling that of
Goldtouch, thereby allegedly infringing Goldtouch’s (pending) patent.

You can read GoldTouch’s press release – including pictures of the respective mice – here: http://www.goldtouch.com/media/rel121598.htm

The original complaint is here: http://www.goldtouch.com/media/complaint.htm

At
first sight, the case somewhat resembles that of Microsoft’s “using” of
the design of Go’s pen-based operating system. A highly significant
difference here is that Goldtouch claims only to have had a single two
hour meeting with Microsoft. A rather small basis for a damage claim of
$1 billion.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-16 14:19:50

Snippet:

Here is a brief article on the upcoming Microsoft anti-trust trial testimony of an Intuit executive:

http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29982,00.html

Enforcing
evidence heard from companies such as Apple, AT&T, AOL and Disney,
Microsoft once again leans on a partner to exclude support for a
competing product. Windows desktop placement is a powerful motivator
even to a party like Disney who otherwise would be technologically
agnostic. Microsoft attempts to defend itself in the usual spot but neglects to mention that Disney is not free to promote material it develops for Netscape.

Update: A more complete account of the Intuit testimony with references to DOJ exhibits can be found here.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-16 17:09:25

Snippet: Not be be confused with Mitch Stone’s
“Boycott Micro$oft” site, Matt Welsh recently set up a “Boycott
Microsoft” site in his home directory at UCB.

Emphasis of the
site is to keep the world open for alternatives, especially of the open
source variation. You are encouraged to read his essay on the dangers of Microsoft technology to get a better idea of Matt’s motives.

If
Matt can do for this site what he did for Linux documentation much can
be expected :-) . Hm, I’ll start thinking about “sharing” information.

See: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~mdw/boycott/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-17 01:51:40

Snippet: Microsoft held out pretty long in not
accepting the tcp/ip networking protocol of the Internet. When the
Internet took off without them, they were simply forced to follow.

Such
a situation does not apply to java. Where tcp/ip was established and
supported by vendors of servers – that Microsoft couldn’t yet deplace -
java is a standard that is still to be developed and it doesn’t have
the protection of an already existing and difficult to remove
environment with very strong “network effects”.

Java cannot
replace Windows – so it is no competitor despite what the media tell
you. However, it could lift a major development platform out of
Microsoft’s control so that competiting operating systems can co-exist
with Windows. This co-existence would imply a commoditization of the OS
and thereby drive the prices down.

For this reason, to use their
own words, Microsoft sought to “undermine”, “piss on” and “steal” the
java language, just as they considered themselves to be engaged in a
“jihad” against Netscape.

The destruction of any form of
standards is a standing strategic rule in Redmond. Their market
position is their main weapon to further control the otherwise unarmed
software industry, and any court rule that has the effect of curbing
that power will be fought tooth and nail.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30023,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-17 10:11:38

Snippet: Apparently, Microsoft got a break from
Judge Jackson when he allowed their attorneys access to confidential
information the DOJ has on the AOL-Netscape deal. In reality, the judge
is only being fair. I am somewhat curious about what may come of this,
but I am also certain that if we hear no more about it, then there is
no substance to Microsoft’s assertion that this deal “proves there is
vigorous competition in the software industry.” Otherwise, Microsoft
will surely trumpet its findings loudly.

Apart from fairness and
amusement value, it is hard to see what effect the deal actually has on
the anti-trust case. After all, AOL-Netscape still does not change the
fact that Microsoft has, for no legitimate reason, hard-wired their
Internet Explorer Web brwoser to their monopoly Windows operating
system and that this harms consumers by forcing those who choose
Netscape to carry an unwanted browser on their system.

Story of the judge’s ruling is here: http://chicagotribune.com/business/businessnews/ws/item/0,1267,8297-8298-20272,00.html

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-17 16:56:51

Snippet: I found it an interesting idea that
Intuit might have agreed to sell out to Microsoft in 1994 because it
feared that Microsoft might bundle an alternative product with Windows.
This was expected to do to Intuit what we have now seen happening to
Netscape.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29982,00.html?st.ne.ni.rel

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-18 22:15:21

Snippet: While all bugs would be harmful for
those producing them in a market situation with many competing vendors,
they can serve as a powerful deterrent to market entry in the hands of
a monopolist.

Microsoft’s knowledge monopoly over Windows makes
it possible for them to use bugs against competitors. Also, it locks
people into their technology: if you have a problem, nobody can help
you but Microsoft. This might not be much of a problem for the US
senate – when a Microsoft bug brings down their mail system, they’ll
get help on short notice. However, less conspicuous consumers won’t
receive such first class support.

Due to Microsoft’s monopoly,
ISV’s cannot escape from Microsoft’s power once they have accepted it’s
operating system as a standard. If one doesn’t like Sun’s
implementation of the java standard, one can find another vendor, such
as HP, Microsoft or even the open source (TM) kaffe JVM. No alternative
implementations exist of what Microsoft calls the “Windows standard”.
The result of this is that Microsoft can selectively use their
implementation as a weapon against competitors that write applications
on top of the operating system. This is something that Sun can’t do
with java.

For this reason it is appropriate to call selective
bugs and lack of support from Microsoft “sabotage”. You can find a list
of such events here: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-913843401/p_article.view

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-18 22:58:03

Snippet: Who can better speak on the topic of
browser integration than the person responsible for Internet technology
at Microsoft at the time? Philip Barrett testified that no work got
underway on the integration of the browser in the period between april
1994 and september 1994, after which he left.

The excerpts of
his testimony is rather length and if you want to jump to the cheesiest
bits directly, they start at page 16. See: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/barrett1.pdf

A media packaged account of the testimony can be found at: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/micr_121798.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-18 23:44:47

Snippet: Did you believe Microsoft when it told
you that they are going to comply within the demanded 90 days with the
injunction resulting from the java lawsuit? Foolish.

It is to
Microsoft’s advantage to perpretrate their present behavior while
waiting for the follow-up in an Appeal’s Court. Now they asked for 120
days instead of 90. How long are they going to stall compliance?

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30146,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-19 12:09:39

Snippet: You thought it could help to write
letters to the DOJ and to Microsoft? So far 2,286 messages have been
received by the DOJ and ten times as many by Microsoft. The letters to
the DOJ are in support of its action almost 3 to 1, while those to
Microsoft are 75% positive for the company (hey, that’s also a rate of
3 to 1).

Note that the DOJ had to make the emails it received
public under the Freedom of Information Act, and it released a CD-Rom
containing them.

Thus the DOJ is in no position to diminish the value of negative letters they receive.

Things
are different in Redmond. The 75% positive message are called a “vast
majority” by Microsoft spokesperson Adam Sohns. He continues that
“Sometimes we get mail from people who want to register negative
opinions” and doing some arithmetic this “sometimes” refers to 1 out of
4 cases (compare with “sometimes my computer crashes). Given that the
relative numbers are the same, we could say by Microsoft’s standards
that “By and large the vast majority of the emails to the DOJ is
positive” and that only “sometimes [the DOJ gets] mail from people who
want to register negative opinions”.

Not only does Microsoft
belittle the number of people writing to them to “register negative
opinions”, also they belittle what is actually written to them. Mr.
Sohn continued his sentence thus – the first part included once more:
“sometimes we get mail from people who want to register negative
opinions, but that is the beauty of the Internet.” I am familiar with
the value of the freedom of speech for a democratic society and that
long preceded the Internet. Microsoft is merely getting rid of the
responsibility to take critics seriously by changing the topic to
aesthetics. Perhaps they “listen to customers”, but they make very
plain they don’t and won’t listen to critics.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30123,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-19 12:35:19

Snippet: What political interest has
Encyclopaedia Brittanica? Perhaps its editors have personal preferences
and most likely they also want to prevent too much divergence with
prevalent opinion. But otherwise, the answer to the question is “None”.

This
is different with Microsoft. In the past and in the present the company
has sought to control other companies (by using its monopoly power to
force them), politicians (by buying them – which is called “campaign
contributions”), and the public (by buying up or partnering with media
organizations (I wonder what “leverage” Microsoft’s enormous
advertising budget gave and gives them over content), by amassing an
enormous wealth of information about persons (through software
registration and buying companies that have marketing information -
FireFly, LinkExchange), and by massive propaganda campaigns).

Microsoft’s
problem is that sooner or later misrepresentation is going to be
brought to light by comparing present statements with history. To
undercut this, Microsoft seeks to control history by rewriting it in
their publications Encarta and Bookshelf.

Whereas
Encyclopaedia Brittanica has little to gain from rewriting history in
its own image, Microsoft has. For one thing, Microsoft’s version of
history contains a hagiography of the Chairman, something not uncommon
in political systems where history is written by those in power. For
another, the technological exploits of Microsoft are described in much
detail upto halfway 1998, whereas those of other companies in the same
business that Microsoft claims to be formidable opponents, simply stops
in 1993. And this is what the public uses as reference material and
what children are taught with in schools.

It strikes me as
incredible that people can still hail computing technology as a way to
free themselves from central power. Instead of looking up at their
teacher, schoolkids nowadays look at their screens. Whereas there are
teachers of many denominations, the content of the information on their
screens is more and more limited to one source: Redmond.

Well, perhaps you’ll enjoy Karlin Lillington’s article published in Salon Magazine better than my hasty editorial. See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-19 14:17:37

Snippet: Visitors of ZDNet and MSNBC “talk-back”
sections of articles on Microsoft’s monopoly might well have come
across one or more comments of Lewis A. Mettler, Esq.

You can find his website on the Microsoft matter at: http://www.lamlaw.com/ It seems to me that his editorials much resemble those that you find at Billwatch.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-20 21:36:46

Snippet: Just some thoughts on reading an article here.

Did
you think economical laws amounted to anything? They say: if there is a
market economy with free entry, high profit levels will be driven down
by new entries. Why doesn’t this happen with Microsoft? Eh, well,
because people at Microsoft are extremely intelligent, all with an IQ
of at least 130 and they are so eager to work that thet sleep under
their desks. What should strike anyone as strange is that people are
supposed to be less intelligent outside Microsoft than inside the
company, work less hard outside the company, and these extremely
intelligent people working at Microsoft don’t leave the company to
start for themselves to make even higher profits by competing with
Microsoft. And why don’t we see the same phenomenon in other
industries? The account so popular with Microsoft employees might be
satisfactory to their own vanity, but it isn’t as the explanation of an
economical phenomenon.

Another item of thought is that Microsoft
employees eagerly point to smaller companies to say that these are most
willing to act as brutally as Microsoft does. Others lack the power
that Microsoft has, but according to Microsoft’s employees they should
be considered to be just as mean. Of course, what these 130 IQ
thinktanks at Microsoft don’t tell us is that the point is not “who is
mean?”, but “who does what to what effect?” Normally, one would explain
such misrepresentation as incompetence. However, given that Microsoft
employees claim to be extremely intelligent, I am prepared to attribute
it to an immoral attitude that allows them to act in wilfull deception.

You can get a belly-full at: http://spyglass1.sjmercury.com/breaking/docs/000384.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-20 22:47:29

Snippet: Although Mr. Oliver doesn’t tell us
anything new, I appreciate hearing the arguments coming from a person
with a certain stature.

See: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/355/oped/No_monopoly_for_Microsoft+.shtml

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-22 01:43:06

Snippet:

Microsoft does not possess monopoly
power in the server market as of yet, but interestingly the government
is closely eying their pricing practices for Windows NT. Specifically,
there is a product called “Windows Terminal Server” which was
originally developed by a Florida-based company called Citrix. Citrix’s
market got a bit too lucrative, Microsoft threatened to bundle a rival
version of their product with Windows NT and, for now, Microsoft gets a
cut on each Citrix sale of “Windows Terminal Server”. The discrimatory
pricing comes in where Microsoft adds a fee for those who want to use
“Windows Terminal Server” but have clients which do not run Windows NT.
Microsoft is once again innovating as they do best.

Details are here:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/cte029.htm

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1998-12-22 06:02:38

Snippet: “Judge Robert Baines of Santa Clara
County Superior Court ordered the software giant to work with Blue
Mountain Arts so its electronic greeting cards pass through spam
filters found in Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer browser. The
filters, which must be switched on, are intended to block junk email.”

Indeed
quite different from the original claims made by Blue Mountain, but
perhaps such exageration is necessary nowadays to be heard.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30205,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-22 10:56:57

Snippet: Microsoft’s statistical mis-representation of prices of operating systems was discussed here earlier in http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html

One
of the mis-represented parties was Be Computers. Recently, Microsoft
claimed that non-Microsoft operating systems are pre-loaded by major
OEM’s. Thus they claimed that Dell pre-loaded Linux (but forgot to
mention that payment for a Windows NT license is included in Dell’s
price of Linux) and that Gateway pre-loads BeOS.

Be Product Marketing Manager Michael Alderete finds fault and responds: http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg07416.html

Is this how Microsoft “sets the record straight”? Another dent in their credibility.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-23 01:04:51

Snippet: This article pretty much sums up what Microsoft is all about nowadays: http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/1998/rulemaker981221.htm
By: Case Roole
Date: 1998-12-23 11:07:47

Also see:

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An invade, divide, and conquer Grand Plan

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Linspire CEO Kevin CarmonyHighlight: Linspire's CEO not only fell into Microsoft arms, but he also assisted the company's attack on GNU/Linux. Learn more

Hand with moneyHighlight: Microsoft craves pseudo (proprietary) standards and gets its way using proxies and influence which it buys. Learn more

Eric RaymondHighlight: The invasion into the open source world is intended to leave Linux companies neglected, due to financial incentives from Microsoft. Learn more

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