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Billwatch Snippets Database – Part III

Snippet: You can find the full testimony at:

If you want to define a peck-order at Microsoft, I guess Kempin would rank just after Maritz.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-24 10:28:36

Snippet: Despite news articles that Dell has
broken the ranks to support Linux, nothing much seems to have changed
at Microsoft’s top cheerleader among hardware vendors. Linux support
still doesn’t go further than pre-installing Linux for large orders of
server machines at a price that is higher than a Windows NT license
(Could NT be included?)

To consumers that either want no Windows
or a refund Dell keeps screeming and kicking to force Windows down
their throats and is thereby violating the license agreement that it
bundles with the Microsoft software that it ties to each and every
system that it sells.

Here is a discussion of a recent attempt to get a refund from Dell: http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg01700.html
a additional message with undetailed but, if true, interesting story
how Dell is alleged to extend its tying practices even beyond the
operating system. http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg01702.html

do not know about Australia (scene of the refund request of the first
message) and I do not know about the US, but if Dell would also follow
the described tying policies in Europe, they would be violating the law.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-24 11:05:22

Snippet: This article summarizes the efforts of
Microsoft’s defense team to date and examines some alternate strategies
that might have proven more fruitful.

“Microsoft’s lawyers also
refused to accept that this case is as much a public-relations battle
as a legal one. And on the publicity front, as even they now concede,
they have been clobbered.”


By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-24 17:35:26

Snippet: Gates thanks Compaq witness for help over trial

Compaq testimony points to murky secrets of MS relationship

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-24 19:43:43

Snippet: …you can try: http://www.newslinx.com/newstopics/reno_vs_gates.html

No frills, just links. And they are maintained on a daily (hourly?) basis.

(Link courtesy of Rick Fane.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-25 00:29:52

Snippet: On the basis of the information that
has come out in the open, Graham Lea has reconstructed the recent
development of the Microsoft-Compaq relationship.

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990224-000025.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-25 00:55:30

Snippet: The Microsoft Java debacle, where
Microsoft licenses Sun’s Java and then tries to sieze control of it, is
already well-known. The testimony today of Microsoft executive in
charge of DirectX multimedia technologies Eric Engstrom brings up the
topic of how similar the situation with Apple QuickTime is. Microsoft
initially acquired their multi-media playback techonology through
Intel, which acquired it from a contractor who did work on Apple’s
QuickTime technology. Once Microsoft got a hold of their competitor’s
technology, they proceed to develop their own incompatible version of

In Engstrom’s testimony, he denies telling Apple that
Microsoft would not compete with them if Apple used Microsoft’s
technology instead. In any case, competition would be rather
meaningless if Apple decided to adopt their rival’s standard. He does
say that he tried to tell Apple to use the Microsoft multimedia
technology and that, if they decided to compete in the multimedia
playback market, Microsoft would win. This sounds very much like the
attitude of a company that does not wish to compete on the merits.
According to Engstrom, Microsoft’s idea of competition is “needless

A report on the testimony can be found here:


By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-02-25 06:57:44

Snippet: Business Week Online-
“In the afternoon session, Eric Engstrom refused to be intimidated, but
that came after another shaky morning for Daniel Rosen”
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 07:25:09

Snippet: Sm@rt Reseller By Mary Jo Foley, “One of the stronger witnesses MS has sent to testify holds his ground.”
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 07:26:20

Snippet: Inter@ctive Week By Will Rodger, Shows videos to demonstrate PC makers were free to use non-MS browsers and ISPs.
‘But Boies zeroed in on what computer makers “cannot do.”

asked, Kempin condeded that, “in general,” computer makers couldn’t
customize their registration routines until Windows 98 appeared in the
market — some eight months after the start of the legal battle between
Microsoft and the Department of Justice.’

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 07:28:13

Snippet: ABC News
- “The main lesson to be learned is that the trade names that are
important to Microsoft and others have been recognized as valuable and
cannot be taken and misappropriated by others”
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 07:29:53

Snippet: ProComp brought together some familiar quotes in “Joachim Kempin – The Enforcer”: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-919880696/p_article.view
By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-25 12:08:36

Snippet: the Register
“A Microsoft demonstration of how easy it is for OEMs to customise the
Windows desktop shown yesterday was in breach of Microsoft’s OEM
licensing agreements. Or at least, it was if the OEM isn’t one of a
handful of top PC manufacturers.”

the Register – How MS tried to keep the lid on its OEM customers

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 16:19:48

Snippet: the Register“A
keynote speech by a senior executive at the Intel Developer Forum in
Palm Springs this morning was received by delegates with hisses and
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 16:21:13

Snippet: MercuryCenter
“Engstrom’s courtroom appearance was unusual in two respects. First, he
was not cross-examined by the government’s lead attorney, David Boies,
who has handled the previous nine Microsoft witnesses. And second,
Engstrom did not provide any e-mail to the government relating to the
Apple allegations. He testified Tuesday that he routinely deletes his
(This seems to be the only effective method for a Microsoft executive to retain his credibility.)

Washington Post – Microsoft Officials Deny Sabotage

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 16:44:51

Snippet: Computer Reseller News
- “In a videotape preceding Kempin’s testimony, a Microsoft product
manager demonstrated customization options available to several OEMs
including Sony, Compaq and a fictional company created for the purposes
of the demonstration.”
“Boies went after the videotape
from another angle, after getting Kempin to acknowledge that Microsoft
had initially made a videotape to accompany his testimony last
November, but that the company made a new videotape earlier this month.”

noted that a key difference between the two tapes is that the Compaq
Presario depicted in the newer tape contains an icon for Netscape’s
browser. The November tape could not have featured this, Boies said,
because Compaq did not make Netscape an option on this line of
computers until January of this year.”

Sm@rt Reseller – MS: OEMs can’t rewrite Windows

Sm@rt Reseller – MS v. DOJ: What went wrong?
Mary Jo Foley wonders if MS executives are arrogant, stupid, fatalistic or what.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 17:15:36

Snippet: PCWorld ‘No matter how the “antitrust trial of the century” turns out, one verdict is already in: Consumers have lost.’
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-25 17:38:20

Snippet: ZDNET News By Charles Cooper
An overview of the deposition of Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia who is expected to take the stand on Friday.

Removing Browser Would “Butcher” Windows-Microsoft
LA Times By DAVID LAWSKY, Reuters
MS: Butchering of Windows Shouldn’t Be Allowed
Sm@rt Reseller By Mary Jo Foley

Let me see if I get this. . . the company that is defending their right
to preserve the boot-up sequence of Windows is complaining that Sun was
“inhibiting competition by limiting the ability of developers to modify
Java”. Windows is this great work of art that is not to be tampered
with. . . but Sun’s language is fair game for anyone to modify? Wait, I
forgot something, it’s Microsoft that’s tinkering with Java. I must
consider that:

a) They are much smarter than anyone else.
b) They only want to do what?s best for the industry.

There, now even I can see that it’s all right.

Judge grills Microsoft exec
Inter@ctive Week Online By Will Rodger
Joachim Kempin put through the wringer over claims that Microsoft used Windows to threaten Gateway.

Company set Windows price without regard to competition, exec says
MercuryCenter BY DAVID L. WILSON
Joachim Kempin denies the existence of “network effects”.

Vandals at the gates
MercuryCenter Commentary by Rich Gray
Mr. Gray takes a little time to consider the two new antitrust lawsuits.

MS exec denies Java claims
USA Today
Microsoft executive denied claims that the company illegally tried to
“pollute” Java, a computer language that threatens its Windows

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-26 06:55:42

Snippet: The ruling phrase in Microsoft’s agreements with OEMs is “Do not modify…”.

See John Lettice’s analysis of the standard agreement in The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990226-000001.html
(Update: See also John Lettice on the “great white whale”: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990226-000004.html.)
So why aren’t OEMs allowed to change the installation of the systems that they ship at will?

answer Mr. Kempin volunteers is that Windows is just like “Moby Dick”
and that Microsoft employees are just like Herman Melville: they take
pride in their work and don’t want to see any part of it changed by a
third party.

Another interesting part of Mr. Maritz testimony is
that Microsoft doesn’t consider the pricing of other operating systems
when setting the price of Windows because these other operating systems
are supposed “inferior”.

Anybody who has read Mr. Maritz
testimony should now be at least confused. Mr. Maritz spelled out how
much competition there is, including videos showing how accomplished
and easy to use Linux is. I’d say that Mr. Kempin’s testimony
contradicts that of Mr. Maritz.

During the trial, Microsoft has
almost daily released articles to the press, placed advertisements in
national newspapers and has appeared on the stairs of the court without
fail. This starkly contrasts with the government’s relative quiet to
the press, with only a regular appearance (but not without fail) of
David Boies on the stairs of the court.

And yet, the
pro-Microsoft press now contends that the government has been waging a
public relations war while Microsoft has merely forwarded dry legal
arguments in court. So what happened in court? We are being told that
Microsoft’s legal arguments are unchallenged, that the government
merely discredited their witnesses, but not their arguments. Such
arguments ignore basic logic. If a witness holds both A and not-A, this
can be personalized, and hence be made attractive to the press, by
pointing out the lack of moral rectitude of the witness. Logicall, and
hence legally, however, it means that the witness adheres to a set of
standards from which it follows that every statement is true, which
obviously is false. Clearly, a witness who adheres to such standards
has no relevant testimony to give. The same goes for witnesses
contradicting each other, such as senior vice-presidents Paul Maritz
and Joachim Kempin.

Melville’s struggle

Melville never had a quiet moment after writing “Moby Dick”. With
competitors breathing hot in his neck, he had to add new sections to
the book continuously and improve those in the earlier release of his
book. Of course, within three years after Melville stopped working at
the book, it was superseded by the competition and was not heard of

Lesson from this ironic story: change means something
else to “Moby Dick” as it does to Windows, so Mr. Kempin’s analogy
concerning Microsoft’s “pride in authorship” of Windows doesn’t hold.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-26 14:58:54

Snippet: Microsoft Witness Peppered With Questions From Judge
do you think integration made it a better product?” Jackson asked. His
tone, normally amiable with questioning witnesses, was tinged with
skepticism bordering on incredulity.

Rosen takes lead as least credible MS witnessthe Register
Rosen, previously senior director, strategic relationships in
Microsoft’s so-called advanced technology group, and now general
manager for new technology, has taken over the yellow jersey as
Microsoft’s least credible witness.”

Trial Focuses On Document From Gateway
Washington Post By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Microsoft endgame looms
MercuryCenterMercuryCenter BY DAN GILLMOR
If the Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial were a play, would critics call it a drama or a farce?

Microsoft’s “Harpoon” Defense
Wired News by Declan McCullagh

Microsoft Picks Prices Without Worry of Competition

Company set Windows price without regard to competition, exec says
Mercury Center BY DAVID L. WILSON

Microsoft’s Kempin Sure Has a Way with Words
Buisness Week Online By Mica Schneider

Judge grills Microsoft executive
CNET news.com

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-26 17:18:31

Snippet: Louis Gass�e, CEO of Be Inc., who seems
to become more critical of Microsoft’s practices as more becomes known,
is putting Joachim Kempin’s explanations into the perspective of a
competitor. His experience is that price and quality of an operating
system cannot give OEMs sufficient incentive to provide it to users.
Stories about Dell and IBM are to mollify critics, but they load only
server, not PC’s. The brave OEM that dared to pre-install Be on its
computer systems, didn’t dare to show this to those that start up the
machine. It is part of the universally enforced “Windows Experience”
that no other operating system may show up at any start-up screen. The
best you can get is a separate boot sequence from a floppy with the
help of a paper manual, even though this could easily be accomplished
technically by adapting the boot sequence.

See: http://www.be.com/aboutbe/benewsletter/volume_III/Issue8.html#Gassee

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-26 21:13:02

Snippet: Final Witness in Microsoft Trial
NPR News (Real Audio)
Listen as NPR’s John McChesney talks with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

Microsoft Rests in Antitrust Trial
Washington Post By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
little fanfare and an extended discussion of arcane programming
technologies, Microsoft Corp. rested its defense to the government?s
antitrust lawsuit yesterday. The conclusion came shortly after the
federal judge conducting the case provided a final burst of courtroom
fireworks by yelling at the company’s closing witness to stop arguing
with a government lawyer.

MS, Justice: “We”re Winning!?
Wired News by Declan McCullagh

Judge shouts at Microsoft witness
San Jose Mercury

Microsoft trial recesses with defense in disarray
San Jose Mercury

Will Bill Gates testify after break?
CNET News.com
Warden, the company’s lead litigator, acknowledged at a news conference
that there have been “suggestions” the government has “succeeded in
undermining our witnesses.” -(Damn John, that sounds a little too close to the truth! Did it hurt?)
you don’t have the laws or the facts you try to try credibility and
that’s what I think has driven them to this strategy,” said Warden. -(Come on John, if you had the facts on your side credibility wouldn’t have been such a problem.)

Time to run up the white flag for MS?

If Microsoft loses, what next?

With a Microsoft victory looking bleak, what’s ahead?

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-27 01:04:01

Snippet: The Microsoft trial: An unwavering defense rests its case
Seattle Times by James V. Grimaldi and Jay Greene

U.S. Lawyer in Antitrust Case Has Steel-Trap Memory
Where can I sign up for the David Boies fan club?

For Microsoft, Humbled May Not Mean Defeated
article presents an unbiased review of the trial. It’s a little
depressing for those of us who would like to think that the DOJ has
nailed Microsoft to the wall.

For Microsoft, Humbled May Not Mean Defeated
This article has a bit more to say about Microsoft’s Java effort.

Judge loses his temper on last day before break
MercuryCenter BY DAVID L. WILSON
charged that Microsoft engaged in illegal tactics to distribute its
Internet Explorer Web browser at the expense of Netscape because IE had
special API’s — essentially “hooks” that applications can grab onto –
that could only be used in the Windows environment. He introduced an
e-mail from Microsoft executive Paul Maritzto Gates July 14, 1997,
which said that Microsoft wanted to increase IE’s market share as a way
of influencing the development of Java.

“Did you want to
increase market share of Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer
contains API extensions Microsoft wanted developers to write to,” Boies
asked. “No, that was not our primary goal,” Muglia said.

paused and, referring to the document, drily said, “You do understand
that that’s what it says here.” Muglia looked at the document and said,
“Let me go backand revise my previous answer.”

Microsoft trial judge loses patience
MSNBC News By Brock N. Meeks
insisted that “fragmentation” was a positive thing, “in the sense that
we wanted to offer developers morechoice,” when considering writing
Java based programs.

Even If Microsoft Crashes, It May Not Get Burned
Business Week Online By Mike France
can that be? Primarily, because in spite of how dominant Microsoft
looked when the Justice Dept. was preparing its case against the
company last year, the software market is changing so rapidly that Bill
Gates’s position already appears weaker than it did just a few months
ago. If the trend continues, that means any justification for strong
remedies would lose force in the face of the company’s market

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-02-27 17:54:33

Snippet: Time and again Microsoft has told that
its java virtual machine is the fasted available. Usually, their
reference is a PC Week article from April 1998. Rather telling about
this article is that the author “consulted” with Microsoft to rewrite
the test after it was initially broken by Microsoft’s JVM. Such a
request was not made to Sun, even though a problem with Sun’s JVM to
pass a test was indicated.

It should baffle anyone who looks for
logical consequence, but Microsoft spokespersons reason that since
Microsoft created the fastest JVM, any modification of the language
definition itself that Microsoft proposes (read: unilaterally
implements) should increase speed.

The argument is invalid
anyway, but it is pleasing to see that others have improved while
Microsoft’s development remained stagnant. Of course, progress driven
by competition is just what one expects if a platform conforms to an
explicitly defined standard that many parties can implement.

See JavaWorld article “The Volano Report”: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-03-1999/jw-03-volanomark.html

Correction: Oops, its PC Magazine that Microsoft refers to, not PC Week. It was the only the latter publication that was openly selective in who it consulted when they needed support for java.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-28 20:01:21

Snippet: Okay, its a bit after the fact, but you can find Robert Muglia’s testimony here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/mswitness/muglia/muglia.htm

Muglia’s testimony concerning Microsoft’s attitude towards java is
quite interesting as conflicts with both facts and testimonies of other
Microsoft witnesses.

For one fact, Mr. Muglia claims that Sun is
attempting to turn java into proprietary technology. I’ll happily
conceed that Sun is attracted by the idea of control, but the real
tendency is the opposite: we find Pricewaterhousecoopers overseeing the
standardization process and Sun is making the sources to java 2
available to all developers.

The conflict with the statements
is supposed to be hidden by adhering to a double standard system. When
Windows is at stake, consumers are supposed to benefit from a
“universal experience” and OEMs that do the actual selling of Windows
to consumers are not to change it in any way.

On the other hand,
when java is at stake the word “universal” is dropped and we are
treated on a claim that having a single language is a deplorable “one
size fits all” strategy.

Mr. Muglia claims that Sun is using its
control over java to push its own hardware. What Mr. Muglia fails to
mention is that java runs on far more hardware systems than does
Windows. Sun can use this to compete with its own hardware, but it
doesn’t derive any exclusivity with regard to hardware by its control
of the java standardization process. This stands in stark contrast to
Microsoft’s control over hardware makers that are essentially locked
into Microsoft’s market power. While there are alternative
implementations and hence vendors for java, there are not alternatives
for Microsoft when it concerns Windows. As a result Microsoft can use
its power to tell which hardware vendor is to live and which one is to
die. Sun can obtain no such power through java as it does’t control all
implementations of the language.

Mr. Muglia’s testimony is an
application of Microsoft’s standard approach to criticism: single out
the critic and turn him/her/it into a non-entity. Microsoft attempts to
create the game of divide and conquer by telling how restrictive Sun’s
control over the language is. Given that IBM, Oracle, Novell, Sun, and
even tiny companies like Tower and Transvirtual sell their own java
implementations while benefitting from the standardization process, it
is hard to believe that Microsoft attempt to undermine the
standardization is “pro-competitive”. Also it is hard to believe that
Microsoft’s opponent is merely Sun. With java’s low barriers of entry
(compare this to the barriers of entry to writing an implementation of
the “Windows standar”), Microsoft’s enemy here are many companies, both
large and small. The observation that several large companies have
embraced the java standard has been countered by Microsoft by their
“Gang of Four” conspiracy theory. Giving such a description to adhering
to a standard is the product of a sick and paranoic mind. Such are the
people that make up Microsoft.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-02-28 21:12:19

Snippet: “Linux is a hype-rich topic at the
moment in the marketplace. (..) The great majority of our customers are
not considering Linux.”
Ed Muth, Microsoft’s group product manager for Windows NT

witnesses and lawyers have worked hard to present Linux as a viable
threat to Microsoft’s desktop monopoly. However, even before the
verdict is in, Microsoft’s PR machine is already undermining their
statements under oath. This further reduces the credibility of
Microsoft’s witnesses.

Perhaps public statements such as Mr.
Muth’s will have little influence on the present trial, but if they
continue to be made, they will no doubt be taken into consideration on

This will be an interesting track to follow.

The quote is from “Linux legions devoted to alternative”: http://cbs.marketwatch.com/archive/19990228/news/current/linux.htx?source=htx/http2_mw&dist=srch

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-01 01:57:07

Snippet: Well, there are no http://freshmeat.net like menus for items at The Register yet, so I’ll just insert a batch of links here:

All articles were written by Graham Lea except where noted.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-01 13:16:10

Snippet: Time For Microsoft To Surrender?
Sm@artResellerBy Connie Guglielmo, Will Rodger and Lisa M. Bowman
Another review of the trial and a discussion of possible remedies.

Hot Button: If I were Microsoft’s attorney
Mercury Center BY RICH GRAY
plays the devil’s advocate (almost literally) and presents the current
state of affairs from the defendants table. He uses an argument that
Microsoft has trotted out regularly, “since we failed to monopolize the
browser market how can anybody say we tried?” So why don’t we just get
everybody to switch to IE (at least for the next six to eight weeks).

Gov’t Clear Favorite in Microsoft Trial
New York Law Journal BY KAREN DONOVAN
This expert opinion seems to indicate that credibility does matter and they site a precedent to prove it.

Interview: Neukom, Boies state their case
Inter@ctive Week Online By Will Rodger

All Is Not Dark for Microsoft
the Industry Standard
Another news summary with links to 5 articles.

Justice’s Remedy May Hurt Consumers
TechWeb By Mary Mosquera
More handwringing over whether the cure will be worse than the disease.

Viewing Microsoft Through Different Windows
LA Times
A capsule summary of the witnesses and their testimony.

Issue of Harm to Consumers a Key Question
the Washington Post By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Microsoft, U.S. Have Everything to Settle For

Vendors Complained About Microsoft’s Licenses
PC World by Patrick Thibodeau

Microsoft’s Last Stand
the Industry Standard By Elizabeth Wasserman
Speculation on who might be called as rebuttal witnesses.

Observers Taking Stock of Microsoft Trial
internetnews.com by Brian McWilliams
attorney Rick Rule puts on a brave face, Rich Gray feels that the OS
monopoly has been proven but not the browser monopoly.

Microsoft Trial Recesses With Defense In Disarray

The Microsoft Mind-Set
the Washington Post By David Ignatius

Fireworks at Microsoft Trial Before Spring Break
the Industry Standard
Includes links to 9 other stories from various sources.

Microsoft Trial Reaches a New Crossroads
Cox News Service by ANDREW J. GLASS

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-01 17:20:19


ZDNN has done an interview of
Microsoft chief corporate counsel Bill Neukom. Since the Microsoft
legal team says that credibility does not matter, it comes as no
surprise that this interview is incredible. For instance, he says that:

“We do not believe the government has begun to show the evidence that is required to support … their case.”

This is the “Microspin” on what by every other account has been a compelling set of evidence shown by the government.

Neukom goes on to claim that “if any plausible benefit can be shown by integration of the Web browser with the operating system, the case goes away.” The trouble with that is Judge Jackson keeps asking “what is the benefit of integrating the Web browser with the operating system?”
and still seems unsatisfied by the rather underwhelming answers he has
gotten. How can Microsoft hope to convince the judge of the benefits of
integrated Web browsing if they insist that credibility is unimportant?

Neukom then says that

in a very innovative business where companies reinvent themselves and
their product lines on a very rapid basis. The notion that the
government can observe this torrent of innovation in technology and
decide who ought to do what in terms of the design of their products I
think is foolish.”

I agree with that as far as to say that
companies and individuals should generally be free of outside
interference in how they conduct their business. But it is well known
that Microsoft regularly uses its muscle to tell other companies what
they should be offering and/or how to design their products. In
contrast, I have seen no indications that the government wants to
regulate the software industry beyond enforcement of current laws such
as anti-trust.

The text of the interview can be found here.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-02 06:09:03

Snippet: Such is the title of an editorial by Tom Steinert-Threlkeld of Inter@ctive Week Online.

Gates’ appearance at the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee I
came to this very conclusion. Gates might still be valuable to
Microsoft as a ceremonial salesman who has direct access to governments
and company CEOs due to the status derived from his wealth, but as his
deposit for the antitrust trial showed, he has mostly lost contact with
Microsoft’s business activities.

Unfortunately for Microsoft,
when Gates speaks about company in public he tends to contradict his
own claims and those made by the company’s spokespersons. Gates is so
completely driven by “I want” that he won’t even try to ascertain what
the facts are, or what he, or Microsoft’s employees, have claimed in
the past. With the demise of the taboo on Microsoft criticism this is
quite detrimental to Microsoft’s public standing.

For Microsoft
it would be best if Gates resigned. Not because he made mistakes during
the past year, but because he is incapable of not harming the company
in the future.

You can find the Inter@ctive Week Online editorial here:

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-02 22:33:48


ZDNN’s John Dvorak posts a preview of Microsoft’s plans for the consumer version of the next generation of Windows:


about this projected future Windows version is in how Microsoft wants
to return to themes of past failures such as the Bob program, which
featured cartoon characters which would suggest what the user should do
next on her computer, and the proprietary Microsoft Network. Consumers
did not want to be led by the nose in how they used their computers and
they have opted for the richer environment of the Internet instead of
that of a proprietary network service.* “Freedom is slavery” would serve well as a slogan for these “new” mass-market offerings.

as some food for thought, if Microsoft Network was dominant instead of
the Internet, would sites critical of Microsoft even be allowed on
their network? This article, entitled Is Microsoft Trampling on First Amendment Rights?, by Wendy Goldman Rohm indicates that sites critical of Microsoft would probably be censored.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-03 06:48:03

Snippet: With the current trend of having
trademarks give right to domainnames, I am somewhat surprised that the
linux.com is worth much at all, as Linux is a trademark of Linus
Torvalds. Nevertheless, the domain was registered by an early kernel
hacker in 1994 and sold – allegedly for over a million dollars – to the
best known Linux OEM, VA Research.

Rumors have it that other
bidders for the domain were Compaq (Digital has a contingent of
long-time Linux supporters), HP, and, yes, even Microsoft. A more
legitimate suitor that didn’t get the domain was Red Hat software.
Linux.com will be run by an advisory board containing, among others,
the founders of slashdot.org, freshmeat.net and will be run by the
founder of themes.org. This looks like a good setup.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,33186,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-03 20:48:32

Snippet: ProComp published two articles with
detailed criticism on the testimony of many of Microsoft’s witnesses.
One contains issues on which the testimony failed, the other with
issues on which the witnesses conceded points to the DoJ.

A must read.

See: “Microsoft defense falls flat”, http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-920474547/p_article.view

and “Microsoft concessions during cross-examination”, http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-920474854/p_article.view

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-04 02:50:20

Snippet: According to this article:


how poorly Microsoft is showing in its anti-trust trial, Wall Street
still strongly rates Microsoft as a “buy”. An anti-trust appeal is
expected and any remedies are a distant prospect.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-04 19:41:22

Snippet: I certainly miss the Microsoft
antitrust trial. You could usually count on it to provide a lot more
laughs than anything in the comic section.

Advocate Issues Windows Warning
Wired News by Chris Oakes

Those Nasty Little Lawsuits
Sm@rt Reseller By Mary Jo Foley

Microsoft-Bristol trial taking shape
CNET News.com By Dan Goodin

Senator to DOJ: Back Off
Wired News by Declan McCullagh
I emailed Senator Gorton and let him know that the DOJ is doing a fine job. (This story has a link to the Senator’s website.)

Foes and Allies Say Microsoft Has Stumbled in Case
ComputerNewsDaily By AARON ZITNER
I never tire of hearing just how poorly the Microsoft defense performed.

Intel insight
Boston Globe By Hiawatha Bray
misses the Microsoft trial too and casts an eye toward the Intel trial,
she doubts it can provide the same entertainment. (Thanks to Jerry
Clabaugh for correcting me on the question of Hiawatha Bray’s gender, I
assumed female and was wrong.)

Group Endorses Microsoft Breakup
It’s nice to see a real trade organization come down on the side of the angels.

Remedies in Microsoft case could shift balance of power
MSNBC By John R. Wilke
We can only hope.

Readers react to 49.7-day Windows glitch
CNET News.com By Stephanie Miles
Just to prove that Microsoft can still entertain us.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-04 22:56:54

Snippet: For a few moments I thought that Paul
Maritz had offered himself as kind of hostage when claiming that Linux
was a threat to Microsoft. I say “hostage”, because Microsoft’s PR
machine cannot make claims against Linux without at the same time
undermining Maritz’ testimony and therewith decreasing the chance of a
positive verdict in any of the courts the anti-trust trial goes through.

was wrong. Within weeks of Maritz’ testimony Linux has already been
bagatellised by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and NT group product manager
Ed Muth.

Mr. Muth claims that Linux is not viable because it
lacks applications. Gosh, isn’t that what the government economist
claimed and what Microsoft’s lawyers disputed?

Furthermore, Mr.
Muth cannot believe that people are willing to work for free on an
operating system. There is no need to be ideological about this, as the
very existence of Linux today contradicts Mr. Muth’s expectation.

Mr. Muth is deeply confused about the word “integration”. He claims:
“People want integration. They want to take a bar chart from Excel and
put it in Word.” Clearly he doesn’t know the difference between
cooperation and integration. Here we must do justice to Mr. Maritz who
offered a deposit showing KOffice, an open-source office suite
presently in alpha-stage of development that already can do just that.
When saying “integration”, Mr. Muth seems to refer to sharing of data
formats and on step further of components such as diagrams that can be
dragged from one application to another. This is implemented
differently from the monolithic integration model that Microsoft claims
is necessary for having the full benefits of web browsing functionality.

about economies of scale, Mr. Muth first claims that there are no
comparative reports available due to the lack of applications.
Subsequently he dismisses Linux because it lacks a long-term
development road map. Well, I’d say that Linux does quite well by
responding to demand, rather than following the *long-term* roadmap of
Windows NT/2000 that Mr. Muth is responsible for.

As for
competition and monopoly, Mr. Muth finds that Microsoft is not strongly
represented in the $100.000 to $1 million server market, that
“competition exists in terms of business model and channel model”, and
that apparently for these reasons “an ordinary person would see
extraordinary competition”.

Eh, Ed, any comments on the
sub-$100.000 region and competition in terms of market – or if you want
“usage” – shares instead of “competition exists in terms of business
model and channel model”?

It would delight me to have Mr. Muth
explain all this in court. Although other Microsoft witnesses have
already admitted to similar statements reluctantly, Mr. Muth would make
a wonderful friendly witness for the government.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,1014079,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-05 11:20:53

Snippet: At least since Windows95, Microsoft has
used the Windows registration wizard to build up a global global
personalia database. Every Word or Excel file produced on Windows is
stamped with the unique identity number with which Microsoft can trace
back the original author.

If Microsoft goes through so much
trouble for years, building up a gigantic database (think: all Windows
users globally) they’ll know what they are doing, right?

A Microsoft spokesperson is now telling the public that Microsoft’s
protracted data-gathering was actually the result of a technological
solution to tell computers apart on a network. Nonsense, of course, as
the ID is generated on the basis of an ethernet card number which is
already unique. The spokesperson is now telling the press that
Microsoft is willing to wipe the relevant databases with allegedly
inadvertently gathered data.

New York Times article re-published by Mercury Center:

(“Microsoft admits privacy problem, plans fix” – Hahaha)

LinuxToday editorial by Paul Ferris:

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-07 20:27:59

Snippet: Eric Bennett wrote a thoughtful article
on possible remedies for Microsoft’s monopolistic abuses. It was
published at Boycott Microsoft (http://www.vcnet.com/bms/).

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

I have no faith at all in any form of breaking up Microsoft. The reason
why one would do such a thing is to artificially create competition in
the hope that other competitors would enter too. However, the resulting
situation would be one in which the same gang of executives would run
the industry that does so today. Could anyone who has studied the
tangled testimonies of Microsoft’s executives seriously doubt that any
law or agreement would keep the Microsoft parts from colluding to
perpetrate their present behavior, with the additional ratification
that a remedy against monopolistic abuse has already taken place?

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-08 01:45:47

Snippet: Mr. Livingston who is one of the worlds
leading experts on using Windows, columnist for Infoworld and author of
the Windows Secrets series of books, is examining Microsoft’s claim
that Internet Explorer can’t be removed from Windows 98. Naturally he
refers to the Windows 98Lite site by Shane Brooks. In his column he
lists some of the pros and cons of this project and invites his readers
to try it and email their results. He also promises to print the
official Microsoft response next week. That should be entertaining

I’ve toyed with the idea of trying Windows 98 Lite but
I’d have to buy Windows 98 to do it and I don’t see any benefit to be
derived from it. However, I do find it encouraging that an industry
pundit who has much of his career invested in Microsoft products is
willing to poke Bill Gates in the eye.


By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-08 20:23:26

Snippet: Microsoft’s present behavior is
analysed as the result of people actually believing what they say, even
though it is false. In other words, Microsoft spokespersons and
executives have lost contact with reality. This has happened because
they have completely lost interest in reality. All that matters in
Redmond nowadays is the stories they tell themselves.

As was
well indicated by NT group manager Ed Muth’s point-by-point attack on
the testimony of his superior, senior vice-president Paul Maritz, the
very idea of contradiction and hence falsehood of their own statements
has become inconceivable.

Such an illogical attitude is not
defendable to the press and the results are accordingly. As Microsoft
is determined to put the blame on the press instead of mending their
ways, it is to be expected that the negative reports will continue for
some time.

See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1999/03/cov_08feature.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-08 23:09:05


In answer to an LA Times interview question “How do you view the Microsoft and Intel antitrust trials through the lens of your business?”, Dell CEO Michael Dell responds:

question of “Can a company improve its product?” is something that
ought to be important to a lot of people. If we were told that we had
to provide equal access to every company that wanted to provide DVD
drives, because we were the only company that could sell DVD drives to
Dell customers, because we bundled the DVD drive in with our computer,
I think you get into a problem of really limiting a company’s ability
to innovate. We ought to be able to decide that for our customers, and
obviously a customer could decide to buy our product or not.

me, this shows an amazing ignorance of anti-trust law and what the
Microsoft case is all about. After all, the case is only relevant to
companies such as Microsoft which have monopoly power. Perhaps Mr. Dell
is toeing the Microsoft party line to soften the later blow that “he was taken by surprise” by the demand for Linux and that Dell plans to start “offering Linux to single-party users very soon.”
He probably refers to an expansion of Dell’s current program to install
Linux on servers and, as such, this statement would not even help
Microsoft’s anti-trust defence.

The full article can be found here:


By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-09 05:42:17

Snippet: David Cardinal sent in the following
links. They are not recent, but good reading, and, AFAIK, they haven’t
appeared here before.

“Network Effects and Microsoft”
(Interview with economist Brian Arthur, a major influence on antitrust
chief Joel Klein and Netscape attorney Gary Reback.)

“Programs are Programs”
Annual Subscription Fees for Software

“The Bad Faith of Microsoft”

“Who is really running Microsoft?” – NC World – November 1997
product development is directed by competitive threats — including
antitrust action — rather than by attempts at technical improvement.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-09 12:24:33

Snippet: Microsoft is to buy a 15% share of
Reciprocal, a company that manages rights for various media. This is to
amount to $15 million.

Apparently, Reciprocal couldn’t get much
done itself, as it’s CEO Paul Brandowski calls Microsoft’s taking a
share in the company “great news for the entertainment industry”.

anyone notice how the structure of the industry has changed since the
“software industry changed overnight” since November-December? This is
what Microsoft senior vice-president William Neukom claimed at the
announcement of AOL’s buying of Netscape. It takes some discipline not
to roll over laughing when Microsoft or a Microsoft affiliate tells us
that their own latest action is “great news” for an entire industry.)

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990308-000023.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-09 12:44:37

Snippet: The issue of “market development
funds”, now known from the OEM Windows “rebates”, is related to shelf
space in retail. Also the issue of incompatible file formats is
touched. (It doesn’t matter that you can work perfectly well with your
wordprocessing software: you must buy a new version as other people
send you documents “encrypted” with the new file format.)


By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-09 13:09:31

Snippet: A technical recommendation counts for
little in Microsoft country. A Washington state educational
organization cannot simply follow a recommendation to adopt UNIX and
Oracle for their central data services. They owe favors to Microsoft.

Considering products on the basis of price and quality has been cast aside by the educational board of directors. “We want to make sure Microsoft is considered. They have, after all, been very generous.” and “If
you have a partner that has been helpful to you, and it’s a powerful
part of the state economy, do we need to look at them? Yes”

the directors don’t want a buyer-vendor relationship with Microsoft,
but rather one of “partnership”, which effectively means that they
don’t want to let the market intrude in their relationship.

It is clear that despite the recommendation the choice has already been made in favor of Microsoft:

Albino, executive director of the CIS, said there are some advantages
to working with Microsoft programs. In some uses, he said, they can be
cheaper to run. Windows NT also uses icons and other graphic
representations, while Unix relies on written commands that require
more training.

Given that Mr. Albino here re-iterates the
incorrect information about UNIX desktops that Microsoft spreads,
namely that these systems can be operated only in non-graphical mode,
it is clear that actual information on pros and cons of software is not
going to play a role in the decision. This is about trading favors.

See: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/local/html98/coll_19990308.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-09 22:58:00

Snippet: The current Microsoft anti-trust trial
has changed the way many people think of the company. Before, the
perception was that Microsoft was a successful but ruthless competitor.
The common wisdom is that the ruthlessness could be forgiven because
their products were, after all, “good enough.” In the trial, Microsoft
appears as an out-of-control monopolist which, at best, has no
appreciation for the competitive consequences of its actions in the
software marketplace. With the trial in recess and many people
pondering possible remedies, now is a good time for some historical

To that end, I have written up a summary of
Microsoft’s history in the software business from the late 1980′s to
the time of the ascendence of Netscape. This overview of events leading
up to the anti-trust trial can be found here:


under the Billwatch “Background” section.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-10 17:18:47

Snippet: Dave Heiner is Senior Corporate Attorney, Microsoft Law and Corporate Affairs.

A memo from him to inform Microsoft employees on the status of the trial has been leaked.

of the rhetorical means Mr. Heiner repeatedly uses is the rhetorical
question: “But who can doubt the benefits for Microsoft and its
customers of developing innovative Internet client software? And who
can doubt the benefits of integrating such client software tightly into
Windows?” Note the special touch here of first asking a rhetorical
question that can without hesitation be answered affirmatively, and
then following it up by one that has complex economical repercussions
and is therefore very difficult to answer.

Other touches of Mr.
Heiner are that he repeatedly ignores one piece of information to place
another piece on a pedestal. For instance he speaks of a “unanimous
decision of the Court of Appeals”, happily focusing on the verdict
regarding Judge Jackson’s procedural error and ignoring that the
verdict regarding substantive issues was two-to-one.

there are the usual contortions of reason, such as the silly claim that
Microsoft’s exclusive contracts could not have impaired Netscape’s
distribution of its browser if Netscape distributed more browsers
during that period than before. (This is along the line of: “Friction
of air doesn’t impair the movement of a falling object as it keeps

If Microsoft doesn’t manage to shut up the
press, its employees will at some time feel cheated by the attempts of
internal information like Mr. Heiner’s memo to misrepresent reality to

See: http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg02280.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-11 11:44:36

Snippet: The joint venture is called Zoom and
the partner is Hong Kong Telecom. Nothing much to say about it, but
given Microsoft’s pattern of buying into cable companies I wanted to
mention it.

Microsoft’s strategy was explained – without being
mentioned – by Paul Maritz in court, who claimed that Microsoft expects
cable companies to gain a significant level of control over software
distribution. No doubt, Microsoft is more than willing to assist them.

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990309-000008.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-12 10:54:24

Snippet: Cringely is of the opinion that you could get fired for buying Microsoft.

experts in Redmond are recommending that their customers stick with
Windows NT 4 for the time being and then upgrade to Windows 2000 as
soon as it becomes available. Following this advice would paint IT
professionals into a corner. The problem is that Windows NT 4 is not
Y2K compliant and Windows 2000 is not ready.

There’s no point in
my going into the details here since Cringely has laid it all out in a
very thorough and convincing fashion. His suggestion is that the
solution may be to turn to Novell or Apple before it’s too late.

not consider Linux? One of his arguments against the Windows 2000
upgrade is that the hardware will have to be upgraded to accommodate
the new OS. That requirement will occur to the whole installation base
– assuming they all fall for it — simultaneously. A flood of demand
for new systems will create inevitable delays just when there is no
time to spare.

Linux is well known for requiring fewer resources and its current popularity should make it easy to get it in the front door.

It’s the right product at the right time.

See: I, Cringely

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-12 17:34:20


Senator Slade Gorton goes to bat for
his Redmond constituents by trying to stop a 15 per cent increase in US
Department of Justice funding. The funding increase was motivated by a
30% increase in merger filings needing approval but Gorton seems to
believe one particular anti-trust case he dislikes is enough to justify
denying additional funding. In his words, “they’ve demonised the most innovative, extraordinary world-changing engine for progress that this world may ever have seen.”

The full Register article is at http://www.theregister.co.uk/990312-000018.html Also, The Microsoft Hall of Innovations gives an idea of just what an “engine of innovation” Microsoft is.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-13 20:36:56

Snippet: One rarely sees side-stepping from the ideological battles to see what actually happens in the world.

Washington state senator is claiming that Microsoft is so important for
the future of the world, that it’s actions should not be measured by
the awkward machinations of the law. These arguments are not new. They
have been nicely worked out in Dostoievski’s “Crime and Punishment” and
the less savory interpretations of Nietzsche’s books. Defenders of
Microsoft are currently popularizing a system of values in which the
legal system is to make exceptions for those that are, or claim to be,
“special”. The least we can say about such a system is that is has
serious loopholes for abuse.

Another characteristic of the
claims of Microsoft’s defenders is the acceptance of teleological
reasoning. Microsoft software is dominant today, ergo, we could not
have reached the present state of development without Microsoft. They
tend to make it worse by claiming that if this dominance is challenged
by legal means in favor of a more competitive system, development will
be impaired. This makes clear clear that their faith in the success of
central planning by one organization is stronger than that in the
success of market competition.

Another ideological
characteristic of Microsoft’s defenders is their abandoning the
utilitarian system in favor of absolutism. Evaluating options by
detailing them and then counting and weighing their merits and faults
has been abandoned in favor of a system of rules that invalidates laws
in favor of power. A prime example of this line of thought is that any
form of government regulation is considered to lead to the end of -
well, as said, articulation of options is lacking – let’s say

Aside from rejecting the laws of state,
Microsoft’s defenders also reject the laws of logic. Microsoft’s
spokespersons, among whom their chief trial attorney John Warden, have
explicitly stated that they consider the successful attempts to
undermine the testimonies of their witnesses as irrelevant. An
important part of this process has been showing how these witnesses
contradicted themselves or each other. For Microsoft then, a
contradiction is not a relevant problem for an argument. In other
words, they have accepted “A and not A” as additional logical axiom.
The result of the acceptance of this axiom is that for the people from
Redmond the very idea of truth and falsehood has lost its relevance.
Given the role of truth in determining meaning (convincing arguments
can be found in the works of Willard Van Orman Quine and Donald
Davidson), Redmond’s acceptance of the invalidation of truth has as a
consequence the loss of meaning of their words.

So much for
ideology. I was pleased to read the observation in a ComputerWorld
article that since the beginning of the lawsuit the competitive spirit
has been greatly boosted. Whereas the very idea of using non-Microsoft
software was strange to most people a year ago, it has now become
mainstream (the idea, not the action!). Thus the lawsuit seems to be
working already, even though no remedies have been enforced.

of the article: look at the pros and cons of government interference.
Merits are already apparent and that weakens the arguments of the
anti-regulation absolutists.

See: “The positive side of government suits”

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-14 16:34:45

Snippet: Nice speculations on what will happen when the trial resumes.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2225035,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-14 17:11:51

Snippet: The page’s background make the advice pretty much unreadable but it is still a good read:

itemized analysis like this can be used to one’s advantage as a
checklist for press releases – by whatever party! – in the Microsoft

(Let me encourage you to read the next two pages too: http://www.trufax.org/analysis/analy2.html and http://www.trufax.org/analysis/analy3.html)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-15 13:01:36

Snippet: With the trial being in recess things are rather quiet, even at The Register.

there is something to read on the reorganization of Microsoft (which
has nothing whatsoever to do with the their monopoly or their use of

“MS reorg – Gates burnt out, so spin him off?”

is nice to see that someone shares my impression of Gates’ present role
of traveling salesman peddling his companies’ wares to governments.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-15 13:11:51

Snippet: The article most discussed in other
articles today is one describing how Microsoft is going to talk about
the AOL/Netscape/Sun deal – none of which sells desktop operating
systems – to show that the Windows monopoly offers no power for
Microsoft to influence the result of it’s ambitions in other markets.

core element of the defense is second guessing AOL’s strategy of not
replacing MSIE with Netscape’s browser, which Microsoft claims is the
result of a crooked plan by AOL to wait until the trial is over, in
order to place Microsoft in a bad light.

“Microsoft’s Counterattack to Focus on Rivals’ Linkup” – Steve Lohr (NYT) http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/03/biztech/articles/15plan.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-16 00:03:18

Snippet: Last summer Gates gave up the
presidency of Microsoft in favor of Steve Ballmer. I wish I had the
announcements somewhere that were telling the world that Gates would
become a kind of “chief technologist”, totally focusing on, yes,
innovation in product design.

Since then, Gates hasn’t found
much time to spend in Redmond. He has been guest of many a government
and has peddled Windows to many a state – “chief salesman” is a more
appropriate function description.

Anyway, just after Maritz’s
courtroom praise for Linux, Gates ridiculed the OS on a national radio
broadcast in Denmark. He seems to have repeated the act in Japan. If
Linux’s “total cost of ownership” is so high that despite its low
(zero) initial price it doesn’t influence Microsoft’s pricing decisions
for Windows, it can’t be a competitive threat, can it?

See: http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl?990315.enjapanlinux.htm

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-16 01:02:37

Snippet: When asked about specific e-mails
stressing that certain actions and strategies are “important” or of
“first importance”, Bill Gates has often claimed that he didn’t know
that he received the e-mail at all and when shown the text, he often
claimed that he didn’t understand what key phrases meant and he had not
acted upon this malunderstanding by asking for clarification. When
critics focus on Microsoft’s strategic decisions by reading e-mails,
Microsoft’s main defense is that these are “merely” e-mails, having no
causal role in the decision making process.

However, outside the
courtroom Microsoft seeks to push its warez and in Gates’ “Business @
the speed of thought” the very first of twelve rules for a successful
business is “Insist that communication flows through e-mail”. (The
funny ‘@’ sign is a delimiter of e-mail addresses and is pronounced
‘at’. Thus the title of the book is associated with this booming
internet thing, modern huh?)

Another great piece of advice is: “Convert every paper process to a digital process” (Can you imagine, a paperless office!)

I am going to buy this book. Reading it is going to be fun.
Incidentally, those interested rather in obtaining knowledge of the
roles e-mail can play in an organization rather than in finding quotes
to make nasty remarks about Microsoft, might be interested in the book
“Connections – new ways of working in the networked organization” by
Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler. I bought it in March 1994 – before
Microsoft even noticed the Internet – and it was published by MIT in

Here is a link to a ZDNet article outlining the twelve
step business plan Gates’ proposes in his (I wonder who wrote it this
time) new book: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2226425,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-16 10:10:28


This article from the New York Times News Service:
the Microsoft anti-trust case from the perspective of the 19 states.
Apparently, since Microsoft is ignoring Judge Jackson’s advice and not
trying to negotiate a settlement, the discussion centers on remedies.
Fines are a possibility, but how would an appropriate fine be computed?
My favourite remedy, opening the Windows source code to 3rd parties to
allow for competition in the PC operating system market, is also a
possibility. After all, Intel licences its x86 processor specifications
and now there is thriving competition in the market for x86-compatible

Update: According to this account from The Register,
the fines contemplated by the states in the anti-trust suit could
accrue for each sale of Windows and thus run into billions of dollars!

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-16 17:05:31

Snippet: Symbian to KO Microsoft at CeBIT?
the Register by Tero Kuittinen
seems that Microsoft is too late in arriving to the mobile
communications party. This article makes a convincing argument that not
even Microsoft’s astronomical resources can make them competitive in
that market.

Tipping the antitrust scales
How the right helped make the federal courts safe for Microsoft.
an interesting article from Salon on some well funded efforts to
influence the judiciary against antitrust enforcement. It sounds to me
like they’re spending a lot of money to preach to the choir, but they
do provide some rational sounding arguments to judges that support
their philosophy.

Gates May Contradict Trial in Book
the Las Vegas Sun
evidence that Bill Gate?s latest book is a must read for Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson. From the book: “The sales results are in digital
form, so anytime I want to I can look by country, by product, exactly
how sales compare to budget, how they compare to other groups,” –
Where are the little scraps of paper? Then there’s Bill’s sermon on the
importance of email to his “hands on” management style.

It’s very
thoughtful of Bill to provide all this ammunition to the prosecution
during the trial’s hiatus. It’s as if he were some twisted killer in a
psychodrama who intentionally leaves a trail of clues because, deep
down inside, he wants to get caught.

Advice to Gates: Break up Microsoft or quit
San Jose Mercury BY DAN GILLMOR
Another voice in that growing chorus that believes Bill Gates should consider retirement.

Today’s Quiz
The Andover News Network by Jack Bryar
article takes a long look at “global unique identifiers” in Microsoft’s
OS and applications, Y2K problems and wide spread piracy in Asia. He
brings up a number of interesting points. This one I found of
particular interst: 80% of the copies of Microsoft products in China
are counterfeit. This includes most of the software run by China’s
government and military and it’s not Y2K complient. I bet the CIA
wishes they could take credit for this, it’s an act of sabotage of
truly monumental proportions. I wonder how this will play out, maybe
China will nuke Redmond in retaliation!

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-17 16:41:16

Snippet: Although it might seem that Microsoft
has received its share of criticism during the trial, I think that
merely the top of the iceberg has shown up.

Although the press
attention during the trial may have received maximum impact, it is
closer study and comparison of the many claims that Microsoft made that
will eat away the foundations of the company’s goodwill.

(ruthlessly modified after initial posting)

Grimaldi set out reading Gates’ deposit and found no signs of the
out-of-context quoting that Microsoft’s press statements have alleged.
He attempts to sum up the main points of the deposit without lingering
on the items that earlier caught the attention of the press. See: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/gate_19990316.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-17 23:46:53

Snippet: From the “Drudge Report”:


TIME magazine [March 22, 1999] features Bill Gates on its cover this week.

world's richest man gives the world 12 steps for the world's businesses
to survive in a new digital world -- a sneak peek from his forthcoming

But in all of the
excitement, TIME editors fail to point out that the book's publisher,
WARNER BOOKS, is owned by the same parent company, TIME WARNER, that
owns TIME magazine!

Corporate synergy turned sinergy?

in the editorial copy of the nation's most trusted news weekly is the
reader informed that this week's cover story is an active promotion for
a company product, the Bill Gates book, set to be released next week.

"This is not news, this is an infocommerical!" declared a senior editor for a competing weekly.

Have TIME editors thrown journalistic integrity out the window by shamelessly hyping a TIME WARNER product for sales?

do books all of the time, like Tom Wolfe's book last year," a TIME
magazine editor explained. "We report news. Bill Gates is news. Drudge,
if you had a book, we would consider writing about it."

closed. Flattery will get you everywhere. The Gates book looks
impressive and is a very important literary work that deserves every

  (URL: http://www.drudgereport.com/matt.htm)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-18 09:01:09

Snippet: Earlier this year, Koreans had reason
to be upset about the prime Korean word processor vendor being bought
by Microsoft on the condition that they drop their popular
Korean-language product.

In the antitrust trial, Microsoft has
held that the price of Windows makes up upto 5% of the price of a
“medium level” computer system. At my local dealer I found I could get
a reduction of 13% of the price when refusing to accept Windows. This
reduction amounted to about $95.

Given that Koreans have on
average less money to spend then, say, I have, I expect them to buy
even cheaper hardware, possibly dropping extras like sounds cards and
speakers that in businesses will only scare away your customers.

it seems feasible to me that the price of PCs in Korea is some $500. On
the other hand, that of Windows is some $200. That looks like 28% of
the cost of a system with hard- and software to me (containing a
browser as its only application).

If there was choice in the
market of operating systems, many Koreans would no doubt go for a less
well branded OS. However, they pretty much have no choice as was
pointed out by the economist testifying for Microsoft in the antitrust
trial and by Microsoft’s senior vice-president for OEM sales. I won’t
defend the wide-spread piracy practice in Korean, but as a reaction to
monopolistic pricing it is quite understandable.

Korean PC
makers seem to have turned against Microsoft and the Korean FTC is
launching an investigation. Facing angry PC makers must be a new
experience for Microsoft.

FSC probing Microsoft dispute
Korea Times

FTC begins probe into Microsoft’s alleged unfair trading practices; Campaign against software giant spreading among PC vendors
Korea Herald

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-18 09:48:26

Snippet: So far Microsoft has only ported its applications to the platform of its “partner” Apple.

week there was some hoopla about Microsoft considering to provide
Office for Linux. As I expected, they don’t. Their argument is the
usual one that doesn’t cut it in this era when companies aim to find
customers for their products instead of sitting on their fat asses
until somebody asks them provide it: “customers haven’t asked for it”.
Did they ask for the integrated browser?

Anyway, I consider it a
breakthrough that Microsoft has at least set up an e-mail address where
you can ask about Linux: linuxq@microsoft.com.

Let’s make sure Microsoft gets the Word on Linux
The Boston Globe by Simson Garfinkel

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-18 18:09:50


The trade press
has been covering today’s release of Internet Explorer v. 5. It is
interesting to note that Microsoft seems proud of how much flexibility
they give the consumer in how much functionality is installed. Mike
Nichols, Microsoft’s product manager for the Windows operating system
says “We’re taking things in a different direction [than
Netscape]. We think integration with other applications is really
powerful, but that you need to do in way that customers have choice.”

Did I hear “choice”?
It sounds good, but Microsoft’s idea of choice does not extend to a
browser-less Windows or a Windows which could use another browser such
as Netscape or Opera in place of Internet Explorer. It reminds me of
Henry Ford back in the days of the Model T: “You can have any colour
you want as long as it’s black.”

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-19 07:32:10

Snippet: For some time it seemed as if Microsoft
was aiming at standards compliance: they cooperated on defining HTML
4.0, CSS, DOM, and XML.

The faith in Microsoft’s sincerity was
undermined by its successful attempt to drive the W3C to adopt CSS as a
standard, something that Microsoft secretly had a patent pending on.

introduction of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5.0 further undermines
faith in Microsoft’s willingness to adhere to the standards, even to
those it helped setting itself. Some elements are missing while others
not belonging to the standard are added.

It is one thing that
Microsoft is clearly playing the game of once more polluting standards
to undermine commoditization of products and therewith raise barriers
to entry and drive up prices (nothing illegal there if you don’t use a
monopoly to do this, oops, Microsoft does by bundling MSIE 5.0 with
Windows). It is something else that Microsoft has deceived the public
about their intentions. They made it seem that they would adhere to
standards this time, and once again it turns out that they don’t.

W3C [False, should be "WSP"!] disappointed with IE 5.0
Newsbytes by Matt Hines
(The article confuses the W3C, that actually defines standards and tests adherence, and the Web Standards Project,
an organization that urges web software makers to adhere to W3C
standards. It is the latter organization that is actually speaking up.)

Update:Better check out the WSP press release instead of Newsbytes’ rehash referred to above: http://www.webstandards.org/ie5.txt

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-19 17:48:51


This article
published in the German c’t magazine indicates that Microsoft has put
significant resources (37 developers) into a Linux port of Office. Of
course, this may only be Microsoft trying to cover all bases and the
project may turn out like the Office port to Java and never see the
light of day. For non-German readers, try out the Babelfish translation here.

Despite the recess of the anti-trust trial, all is not quiet on that front. This New York Daily News article
gives a further account of how Bill Gates’ latest book “Business @ the
Speed of Thought” contradicts the sworn testimony of Microsoft’s
economic witness.

Last year’s news of AOL buying out Netscape
created quite a stir with Microsoft claiming vindication in its
assertion that rapid changes in the marketplace can willy-nilly create
competition to their software dominance. Since the Netscape acquisition
has passed regulatory muster and has been approved by Netscape’s
shareholders, Microsoft is certain to try renewing their claim of
vulernability in the marketplace when the trial reconvenes for the
rebuttal phase. This commentary by ZDNN’s Connie Guglielmo gives a clear explanation for why Microsoft’s claim is not germane to the present anti-trust case.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-19 21:56:32

Snippet: Since Paul Maritz’s testimony in court
that was to demonstrate the reality of Linux being a threat to the
Windows monopoly, Microsoft executives such as Ed Muth and Bill Gates
have publicly and repeatedly undermined Maritz’s claims.

latest event on this front is Gates’ claim that Linux is not a threat
to NT (he doesn’t even bother to mention Linux with regard to the
desktop) because it provides only the equivalent of an old core of NT
that makes up some 4 percent of the present monolithic mass – which,
incidentally, is now planned to be released at October 6th 1999.

from mentioning Gates’ daunting 4 percent claim, the article below is
also interesting because it does a conscious effort to define a
methodology of interpretation that is effective for relating the words
of Bill Gates to reality – something for which an interpretation
according to the dictionary meaning of the words of the English
language isn’t all that helpful.

Learning to read Bill Gates
ComputerWorld Today by Don Tennant

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-20 20:42:50

Snippet: The “bug” that has been filling
Microsoft’s databases with information on individuals through the
Windows registration without asking for their consent hasn’t been
received with much pleasure anywhere.

TrustE isn’t all
that happy as it would rather not use its privacy watchdog role against
a big sponsor like Microsoft. Expect them to be as docile as the trade
press that fears to loose Microsoft advertising dollars, but to say
something to keep up appearances.

Junkbusters isn’t happy because they seem to have an interest in protecting privacy:

president] Catlett also criticized Microsoft, its MSN division, and
other electronic commerce sites for failing to provide the fundamental
privacy protections that consumers need. He said that
industry-sponsored “seals of approval” such as TRUSTe and BBBOnline do
not guarantee an adequate standard of privacy.

Junkbuster’s GUID news item

Junkbusters: Microsoft and the GUID

Junkbuster’s account of Microsoft’s past record

the above is most effective after reading Microsoft’s “dear valued
customer” letters in which Microsoft claims to be playing a leading
role in online privacy – whatever that may be; it doesn’t seem to be
related to complying with privacy laws. In 1995 Microsoft claimed to
aim at compliance with EU privacy laws, even for non-Europeans.
Apparently, things worked out differently.)

The Register isn’t happy, or they wouldn’t mention a something as accusatory as:

personal data sent to Redmond by the Windows 98 registration wizard is
of course being exported, if it’s being sent from outside the US. And
if it’s being sent from Europe, Microsoft may well be in breach of
European privacy legislation.

MS threatened by Euro privacy probe
The Register by Mike Magee

And of course, Microsoft
isn’t happy as they have been found out. Windows Marketing Director
Yusuf Mehdi had to write a couple of letters to save appearances. In
case you’ve forgotten, Yusuf Mehdi is the guy who talked on the Allchin
video as if there was only computer at stake, where there really was a
mise-en-scene of several computers from which the recordings were cut
and spliced as if only one was present. Thus, it has already been
established that Mr. Mehdi is willing to lie in the service of his

Dear valued customer
letter v1 by Yusuf Mehdi, Director of Windows Marketing

Dear valued customer (updated version)
letter v2 by Yusuf Mehdi, Director of Windows Marketing

that an important part of Mr. Mehdi’s defense consists of
“association”. Microsoft supports TrustE and BBBline and helps define
privacy standards. This defense is invalid, of course, as we are not
talking about definitions and policies but about actual actions and
there Microsoft falls short. Note the parallel with Microsoft’s
dealings with W3C: they take part in the standardization process, but
they don’t actually adopt the standards in their products as the recent
release of MSIE 5 demonstrated.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-20 23:12:40


According to this ZDNN article,
Microsoft has curtailed its use of e-mail in favour of more traditional
forms of communication such as meetings or phone calls. This is
interesting in light of the release of Gates’ “Business @ the Speed of
Thought” book telling businesses they can be more efficient through
increased use of e-mail. Additionally, Microsoft President Steve
Ballmer claims that all if its dealings with competitors have been
“lawful and appropriate business discussions” and Chairman Gates says
he has never written an e-mail that he would be ashamed to be made
public. If so, then it would seem Microsoft has nothing to fear by
continuing the prolific use of e-mail in the conduct of its business.
Actions speak louder than words.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-22 06:19:49

Snippet: Brian Livingston has been looking into
Windows 98 Lite which is a hybrid of Win95 and Win98 that provides most
of the benefits of Windows 98 without using IE4. In the first of these
three columns he invited users to try this experiment and report their
results. Microsoft’s official response is the subject of the second
column, nothing new here if you’ve been following the trial. The final
column is his report of the feedback from users who have tried it. The
bottom line is that Windows 98 Lite really is faster, leaner and more
stable than Windows 98.

So when Judge Jackson asks about how the
“integration” of IE with Windows 98 benefits consumers, Microsoft can
respond in all honesty that it enhances that “Windows experience”.
Cut Internet Explorer from Windows 98 with your own bare hands

Microsoft responds to the easy removal of IE from Windows 98

Readers report their results in removing IE from Windows 98

are a couple of columns by Nicholas Petreley on the Global User ID that
has been a part of the Windows platform and Microsoft’s applications
for a few years but is just now getting a lot of exposure. I suppose
that it’s been there but no one paid much attention till the word got
out that you couldn’t really turn if off.According to Nicholas it’s
much worse than that.

Wear clean underwear, because you never know when Microsoft is looking

Got your number: Think you can beat Microsoft? You’d better think again

Here’s a little excerpt from the current PC Week Spencer F. Katt column:
Microsoft drops bomb on Linux-loving minions–er, partners
PC Week – Spencer F. Katt
is still lobbing some missiles on its businesspartners, antitrust trial
be damned. At Intel’s Pentium III Xeon launch last week, a group of
vendors had plannedto demonstrate the performance of Pentium
IIIXeon-equipped systems from Gateway and Micron running Oracle8–and
Red Hat Linux. When Microsoft heard that two of its primary OEMs were
planning to run Linux in public, the Redmondians dusted off their
thumbscrews and convinced Gateway and Micron to pull out of the demo
unless Windows NT took the place of Linux. Guess which operating system
won out?

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-03-22 18:04:06

Snippet: The Register’s Graham Lea writes up an excellent background
on the current rumours that Microsoft seeks a settlement to the
anti-trust case. This brings back memories of last year’s pretend
pre-trial settlement negotiations where Microsoft abruptly walked out
after having nothing substantial to offer but nonetheless blamed the
DOJ for the breakdown in the talks. Here, Microsoft says they want to
settle but has already placed the pre-condition that they have the
right to add anything they want to Windows. If this really is a
non-negotiable position as Microsoft says it is, any “settlement talks”
are doomed to fail since Microsoft’s practice of adding features to its
monopoly Windows operating system to disadvantage competitors is the
core of the anti-trust case. As such, it is once again the “settlement
talks” that never were.
By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-23 16:18:50

Snippet: In February news articles mentioned
that two class-action lawsuits had been filed against Microsoft, one of
which by a retired Californian engineer.

As I found out today, the other was filed by Gravity, Inc., a company specializing in document management services.

Here are the first two paragraphs from their press release:

Worth, TX, February 16, 1999. Today, Gravity, Inc. filed an antitrust
lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation in the same United States Court
hearing the Federal and State allegations against Microsoft. This is
the first Federal classaction suit brought to secure the damages for
those who have paid monopoly prices for Microsoft software. The conduct
in question, in part, forms the basis of the United States Department
of Justice's and the State Attorneys' General claims currently being
litigated in the Washington, D.C. Federal Court.

lawsuit also seeks to demonstrate how the largest sellers of personal
computers in the United States - Dell Computer Corporation, Compaq
Computer Corporation, and Packard Bell NEC, Inc - have cooperated with
Microsoft, as some of Microsoft's largest software distributors, to
profit from its anti-competitive scheme. This conspiracy is alleged to
have suppressed Microsoft's competition for the sale of operating
system software, as well as word processing and spreadsheet software

The company’s website contains
Adobe PDF encoded (yeah, negative connotation) copies of their press
release and of the legal complaint.

See: http://www.gravitynet.com/
(Follow the “news” link.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-24 01:51:10

Snippet: Charged with unfair monopolistic
pricing by Korean retailers, Microsoft has answered that it uses the
same price structure everywhere. This is a nice answer to the
additional claim, but it doesn’t answer the demands of Korean retailers
that the price of Windows isn’t made twice as expensive for retailers
as it is for OEMs.

As explained by Bill Gates in “The Road
Ahead”, Microsoft has long made sure that every computer shipping comes
with a Microsoft operating system. Retail versions of the operating
system, which are sold to consumers without any exclusive agreements
being attached are highly priced to make sure that the OEM deal looks

Just as I buy my computers from a small company that
doesn’t require me to buy Windows also – perhaps because it doesn’t
want to violate EU law – it seems that there is a blossoming market of
untied hard- and software in Korea. Korean dealers would like to offer
Windows as an option, but Microsoft’s pricing structure that favors
OEMs drives small operators that allow choice to customers out of the
market by having them pay exorbitant prices. At the same time,
Microsoft actively urges the Korean government on to clamp down hard on
software pirates. (I wish I knew where I had seen Microsoft arguing
that if the pricing of its software were overly high, we’d see more

An additional claim of the Koreans is that Microsoft
has dumped MS Word in order to cut off revenues from a popular Korean
word processor maker.

Massive ralley against Microsoft due today
Korea Times

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-24 02:14:39

Snippet: TRUSTe is an organization that licenses websites fulfilling certain privacy criteria.

After a request from member Junkbusters, it investigated the GUID matter with regard to microsoft.com.

The conclusion of the report states:

has determined that Microsoft.com was in compliance with all TRUSTe
principles. Had TRUSTe determined that Microsoft.com had violated its
stated practices, TRUSTe would have conducted an audit to ascertain
that sufficient remedies had been put in place.

While the
complaint itself does not pertain to the Web site, TRUSTe believes that
is important to note that the transfer of Hardware IDs to the Microsoft
secure server without customer consent did, in TRUSTe's opinion,
compromise consumer trust and privacy.


By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-24 10:56:34

Snippet: Bristol has published the list of expert and company witnesses that it will call to the stand in June when its
antitrust trial against Microsoft will commence.

Bristol Technology names witnesses in Microsoft antitrust case
press release

it is reported to seek access to the trial material of the Caldera
antitrust trial on the basis that the different antitrust trials are
related. Well, at least they share having to show the existence of a

Bristol seeks access to Caldera documents
ZDNN by Mary Jo Foley

wonder what effect the popularization of the notion of “opensource” as
a viable business option will have on Microsoft’s attempt to heavily
raise the price of access to Windows sources. (Think not only of the
traditional open source born projects, but also of freed sources by
e.g. IBM, Apple, and now Novell – http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,34188,00.html)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-24 18:26:45

Snippet: Hard work for me, fun for you. If you
don’t want to wait until the fragments pop up at the top of this page,
you can check out the following article on Gates’ keynote address at
Microsoft’s Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference ’99 in Miami.

Split Up Microsoft? No Way, Says Gates
PC World

from his deposit we had already gleaned that nobody tells Bill
anything, and what he is being told, he easily forgets. From the
fragments of his keynote published in the article, it sure seems that
Gates is out of sync with the world as we know it.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-24 18:54:41

Snippet: Chosun Ilbo’s front page displays an image of a groups protesters against Microsoft’s high price for Windows:
http://www.chosun.com/g__.html The text with the image is:

than 1000 retailers at Yongsan Electronics Market hold a demonstration
Wednesday against Microsoft Korea, calling for a reduction in the price
of the operating platform ‘Korean Windows 98′ which they call
unjustifiably high.

I’m impressed by this number of people that actually take the trouble to abandon their place of work to take to the streets.

A description of the motivation behind the protest can be found here: http://www.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/199903/199903240374.html

Meanwhile a crackdown on illegal software in Korea is announced: http://www.hk.co.kr/14_3/199903/t4351284.htm and http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/kh0325/m0325b13.html
If even government instances pay for hardly more than half their
software installations, piracy really must be rampant in Korea.

(All links were taken from an item at http://www.linuxtoday.com/)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-25 03:20:10

Snippet: In 1997, Microsoft reported that 1 million downloads of MSIE 4 occurred place within two days after its release.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,14887,00.html

Reuters now reports:

a news release, Microsoft declared that customer downloads of Internet
Explorer 5, released last Thursday for free distribution over the
Internet, "more than tripled those of the previous record-setting
Internet Explorer 4.0."

But a Microsoft executive said IE 5
did not pass the 1 million mark until the fifth day after the product
launch. Back in October 1997, Microsoft trumpeted the fact that IE 4
exceeded 1 million downloads in just two days, marking a new record.
The figures should have been comparable because in both cases they
represented only customers who downloaded the software through
Microsoft's own Web site, excluding the many partner sites where the
product can be found.

In an interview, Microsoft product
manager Mike Nichols explained that the 1 million figure announced in
1997 had been achieved by counting anyone who downloaded a tiny piece
of code for the browser called the "Active Setup executable." Only a
small percentage of those people actually had completed the process of
downloading the massive Web browser itself at the time of the
announcement, he said--a fact never previously disclosed.

disclosure of the misleading news release provides a glimpse into how
Microsoft used its marketing machine to buttress efforts to increase
its share of the Internet browser market, which in October 1997 still
was dominated by archrival Netscape Communications.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,34245,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni

ZDNet published the same article under the title “Microsoft
admits to misleading IE claims – When Microsoft claimed a new record
for IE 5.0 downloads, it admitted stretching the truth about IE 4.0″

- no need to follow the link if you have already seen the Reuters

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-25 22:33:28

Snippet: Remember how Gates was to give the MS
presidency to Ballmer in order to be able to concentrate more
completely on product development?

Well, that was last summer.
Today his days are filled with signing that book of his in which he
argues that it is good for businesses to use e-mail and to replace all
with computer processes. Wildly innovative, huh? Yesterday he was
signing in New York and today he will be in London. (The Register – I
really shouldn’t pass this on – gives advice on how to get at
“pie-throwing distance” of the man himself.)

In New York Gates used the opportunity to produce another round of FUD on Linux.

has certainly been a lot of free software out there for the last 20
years," Gates said. "The main thing that has held that back is that
because it's free software there's no central point of control. So what
you see with Linux, and other things, is you get proliferations of
different versions and everybody can go into the source code, and
everybody does."

But that creates confusion regarding which
applications work with which versions, he said, because there is no
central testing organization.

Gates also said Microsoft puts more features into its products.

"We put things into our system like systems management that's not that much fun for university developers," he said.

"Linux doesn't have that stuff. It doesn't have the graphics interface. It doesn't have the rich set of device drivers.

certainly we think of it as a competitor in the student and hobbyist
market. But I really don't think in the commercial market, we'll see it
in any significant way."

Gates Downplays Linux Threat
(03/24/99, 5:39 p.m. ET)
By Eric Hausman, Computer Reseller News

Let’s sum up what we find here:

  • Gates’ ideological aversion of markets and preference for a “central point of control”
  • The
    unsupported claim that freely available source code results in
    “different versions”. After over seven years there is still no split of
    the kernel, while the different distributions are pretty much
    compatible (e.g. try running StarDivision on a RedHat distribution.)
  • The
    false claim that Linux doesn’t have “graphical” “systems management”
    (Personally, I do the networking configuration with vi and the desktop
    from KDE dialogs, but I could use linuxconf for networking.)
  • Implied
    false claims about Linux being driven by “university developers” and
    that these are not interested in making a system easier to use. (Linus
    Torvalds is an engineer at Transmeta, Donald Becker (device drivers) is
    an engineer at NASA, some two handsful of developers are employed by
    RedHat, the core Apache developers all work in the commercial sector,
    etc. – As for the second claim, we find many students working on the
    GNOME, KDE and KOffice projects.)
  • A prediction of the future:
    “I really don’t think in the commercial market, we’ll see it in any
    significant way.”. Well, if you allow false premises to enter your
    inferential claim, you can derive any conclusion.
By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-26 13:52:44

Snippet: MS planning shedloads of Windows NT variants
http://www.theregister.co.uk/990326-000008.html by John Lettice

MS-DoJ deal talks scheduled for Tuesday
http://www.theregister.co.uk/990326-000005.html by Graham Lea

I very much appreciate the following fragment of the latter article:

one attorney general broke ranks yesterday after the meeting to discuss
a possible out of court settlement with Microsoft. Patricia Madrid of
New Mexico said: "We'll have talks on Tuesday" and that they would
include all parties (i.e. the states as well as the DoJ).

also noted that Microsoft gave $2,500 to her opponent during the
November election campaign - unwise as it turned out, since Madrid won,
and the opponent was subsequently fined $17,500 for failing to report
this and other gifts. Of course the election of law officers does raise
other concerns.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-26 14:35:26

Snippet: Bill Parish is an independent tax
consultant. He wrote a report on one aspect of financial reporting that
influences profit reports.

My research project
titled "Global Capital Market Stability Analysis" has disclosed that,
based upon reviewing SEC 10K and 10Q filings, Microsoft, Cisco Systems
and a few other leading technology firms have seriously underreported
compensation paid to employees on stock options already exercised due
to an accounting loophole. Even though employees are paying tax on
options exercised and the company is taking the tax deduction on their
internal tax books, this expense is excluded from the income statement
reported to the public.

By excluding this expense, $10 billion
at Microsoft for the last 4 years, income becomes inflated, fueling the
stock price, increasing asset based management fees at investment
companies and funding significant advertising programs aimed at
enticing investors to buy the stock. Microsoft also realizes that when
employees exercise options, for every $1 their stock price increases,
the company will be able to create cash of 35 cents due to taking the
tax deduction and correspondingly paying less tax. These inflated
earnings increase interest in the stock, further driving up the price
and attracting both domestic and foreign capital with the main source
of funds being individual 401K and 403b mutual fund contributions made
to retirement plans here in the US.

The market value of
Microsoft s stock is now more than $400 billion even though gross
annual revenues are only $18 billion. My calculations further indicate
that Microsoft, rather than being profitable, will probably have a net
loss of $1 billion this year. For the quarter ending 9/30/98 the
undisclosed compensation noted previously actually exceeded net income
per an analysis of their 10Q SEC filing.

Employees are
clearly prepaying their own future wages in a massive pyramid scheme as
cash received from employees in the form of the exercise price and
taxes paid, in addition to cash from selling put contracts, will
probably finance more than half of Microsoft's operating expenses for
1999. Although it is often noted that Microsoft has $20 billion in
cash, there has been no analysis regarding where this cash is coming

Mr. Parish expects Microsoft to
make a $1 billion loss in 1999 if a more decent accounting scheme would
be used. That is something I don’t believe and therefore I distrust the
extent of Mr. Parish’s analysis. Nevertheless, I believe that he is on
to something.

Microsoft’s stock is pushed up by its creative
accounting scheme and this inflated stock is used to buy stock of e.g.
innovative startups and cable companies.

Mr. Parish proposes a number of remedies to prevent this anti-competitive effect of Microsoft’s accounting practices.

Bill Parish Proposes MSFT DOJ Remedy to Robert Parry, Fed Governor.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-26 21:51:07

Snippet: American Dream late 1990′s style: get
university funding to start up a company, make it moderately
successful/promising, sell it lock-stock-and-barrel to Microsoft.

In “The Road Ahead” Gates mentions Marc Andreessen to show how students can start up companies and become successful.

reaction to Netscape’s success the folks at Microsoft analysed where
its revenues came from and started to plug these holes one by one. Now
Netscape has been sold for just about the price of its website; the
software was partly given away for free as open source and partly sold
off for a relatively modest half billion dollars.

AFAIK, since Netscape no startup attained more than a modest success. I’d like to learn of any really successful startups.

As for the Numinous Technologies buyout, see: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,34327,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-27 13:39:32


Going into the reported talks
between Microsoft and government officials to settle the anti-trust
case, this Seattle Times article:


on a paper written by one of the state attorney general lawyers on
possible remedies. It goes much farther than, as Microsoft has offered,
re-writing a few exclusionary Internet Service/Content Provider
contracts and allowing PC vendors to modify the Windows boot up
sequence. Worth noting is that the proposed remedies do not question
the ability of Microsoft to add features into Windows. Given Gates’
rhetoric of the last week that any settlement must preserve Microsoft’s
ability to add features to Windows, it seems like a deal, albeit not an
easy one, ought to be workable here.

Update: According to this analysis from ZDNN,
the probability of successful talks is fairly low. The state attorney
generals have put forth entirely reasonable settlement proposals which
allow Microsoft to continue to “innovate Windows”, but somehow
Microsoft is cool to these proposals. On the other hand, Microsoft is
apparently proposing nothing that wasn’t already seen in last year’s
failed settlement negotiations.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-03-29 01:44:11

Snippet: Some two weeks ago ProComp published a status report on United States vs. Microsoft.

report is especially valuable as it relates the court proceedings with
the claims for which the lawsuit was started. It is hard work to get
through this lengthy text, but it is most rewarding!

I heartily recommend it as a way to get an overview of what
in court. Of course, you should be aware that ProComp is very eager to
present the status as being favorable for the DoJ.

Status Report: March 1999
United States v. Microsoft Corporation


By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-30 00:05:02

Snippet: Pretty rough opinion piece:

the only people who think Microsoft is winning the antitrust case are
the ones who work for Microsoft. And its political clout is
surprisingly weak at the moment, given the vast sums of lobbying cash
it's showering on Washington."

"Microsoft and its allies will
ignore this message, of course, just as they've been ignoring reality
in the antitrust trial. They'll bet that enough money and PR and
lobbying can turn the tide. It's up to the government and its allies --
that should include you, if you care about choice in the marketplace --
to keep up the pressure."

"I only hope the government
negotiators understand what they're dealing with here: a company that
will say and do anything to maintain its grip on its industry. I think
they do.

Still, here's some unsolicited advice to the people
negotiating on behalf of you and me: When Microsoft makes an offer,
read the fine print. Then read it again.

Weasel wording is a Microsoft specialty. (..)"

Best be very wary of Microsoft bearing settlement offer
Mercury News by Dan Gillmor

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-30 19:37:12

Snippet: Scott Rosenberg ain’t no friend of Bill and he sure isn’t getting any friendlier.

you plow through "Business @ the Speed of Thought" you will quickly
realize three things: Nearly everything Gates writes is obvious. Nearly
everything Gates writes is right. Yet somehow he has missed the real

"But your eyes may glaze over as Gates delivers example
after example of mega-corporations like McDonald's,Nabisco, Boeing and
Coca-Cola achieving digital nirvana. And as the book progresses, a
subtle blurring of a key distinction takes place: Going digital is
gradually equated with replacing all your old systems with
Windows-based PCs. A handy appendix at the book's end provides a
technical roadmap; all that's missing is a 1-800 telephone sales line
for Windows 2000."

"In his new book, Gates re-creates this
adolescent domination fantasy in the executive boardroom -- where,
thanks to the digitally enabled just-in-time flow of perfect
information to their desktops, the corporate managers Gates profiles
can now exercise precise control of their operations. The "digital
nervous system" becomes a feedback-and-control loop that lets managers
slice their bean-counts ever more finely and tune their organizations
to a peak of responsiveness. Gates still loves big machines that follow
orders -- only now the machines are organizations made up of human

Why Bill Gates still doesn’t get the Net
Salon Magazine by Scott Rosenberg

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-31 14:08:49

Snippet: Gates promo tour cost to exceed book revenues

Gates interviews – more rewrites of history from Bill

States push for shackles on MS in settlement talks

First MS-DoJ settlement talks fail to leak

All articles by Graham Lea.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-03-31 14:22:33

Snippet: When the DoJ investigated the effects
of a possible acquisition of Intuit by Microsoft, they subpoenaed other
companies. Microsoft used the occasion to demand access to this
information. Here are some fragments from “The Microsoft File” by Wendy
Goldman-Rohm on that matter:

[211] "After an extensive
investigation, the Department of Justice had a the previous month filed
suit in federal court here to block Microsoft's proposed acquisition of
Intuit. Armies of attorneys had shown up to protest what they viewed as
an outlandish request: Microsoft wanted access, for its internal
counsel and other company executives, to confidential documents its
competitors had turned over to the Justice Department under subpoena in
its investigation of the software giant's deal with Intuit Inc.
these competitors came scurrying forth like a bunch of aphids from
under a rock, to explain to the judge the competitive damage that would
result from granting Microsoft's request. The software [212] giant
itself had made sure its prolonged litigation with Apple computer had
been conducted under a protective order that prevented its
archcompetitor from gaining sneak peeks at its competitive information."

"Microsoft's Bill Neukom presided over the defendant's counsel table,
accompanied by his company minions as well as outside counsel from four
prominent law firms. All had convened because of Microsoft's
last-minute objection to Justice's proposed confidentiality order
limiting access of third-party documents to outside litigation counsel
for Microsoft and Intuit.
No one present could have anticipated that
little more than a week later Microsoft would announce it was
abandoning its attempted acquisition of Intuit. That would be after the
judge granted the restraining order restricting Microsoft's execs
access to its competitors' confidential information. Had the order not
been issued, the software giant would have received a gold mine of
information covering technical specs for competing products,
confidential market research and analysis, and contracts and
negotiation strategies between banks and software companies."

repeats itself. For the latest news on the present incarnation of the
event of MS seeking access to confidential information of its
competitors, see e.g. “MS demands more Sun, AOL Netscape documents” by
Graham Lea, http://www.theregister.co.uk/990331-000008.html

(PS For an impression of how Microsoft goes to court, a fragment from the book below the one just quoted: “The
might of Microsoft’s legal machine was not lost on Judge Orrick, who
remarked at one point, “I counted – just for something to do – the
number of lawyers on the defendants’ side, which is twenty-seven.”

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-01 00:38:08

Snippet: Although Microsoft claims that the
Caldera DR-DOS lawsuit is irrelevant because the lifetime of the
technology expired, they are still keen on designating nearly every
document in evidence on the matter as “confidential”.
The primary
benefit for Microsoft is that it can thus effectively force the trial
behind closed doors as otherwise none of the evidence can be brought in.
press release from Caldera brings forward the overdesignation of
confidentiality, a list of three news agencies interested in lifting
the restrictions, a procedure to resolve the matter, an explanation of
the effect of Microsoft’s monopoly on public statements wrt this part
of its history, and a couple of cheesy quotes.

The San Jose
Mercury News, The Salt Lake Tribune, and Bloomberg L.P. seek relief
that is long overdue. Microsoft has abused the Protective Order in this
case by designating virtually all its documents as "confidential,"
despite the fact that few, if any, meet the criteria for
confidentiality established under Federal Rule 26.


American judicial system provides for free and open public access to
information, except in extraordinary circumstances. Microsoft is not
seeking to protect trade secrets or proprietary business information.
Rather, Microsoft is using the protective order to prevent public
disclosure of the predatory business practices it used to eliminate DR
DOS as a competitor and unlawfully maintain its desktop operating
system monopoly. Indeed, if its business practices were fair and legal,
why would Microsoft go to such great lengths to prevent them from being


Microsoft initially designated 99% of
the documents it produced in this case as "Confidential" or "Highly
Confidential." Caldera complained &emdash; for good reason, as
Caldera's factual investigation was hampered &emdash; but Microsoft
refused Caldera's repeated requests that it remove the designations
from documents that are not trade secrets or confidential commercial
information (as required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(7)).

On two prior occasions, Caldera asked this Court to require Microsoft to stop misusing the Protective Order.2


has used the Protective Order to prevent Caldera from showing OEMs and
other witnesses documents that directly contradict Microsoft's public
statements of innocence. Not surprisingly, Microsoft is not anxious for
witnesses to see documents that support Caldera's case. But that is not
a basis for this Court to restrict Caldera's use of otherwise
non-confidential documents to discover and prove its claims.

See: http://www.calderathin.com/fullstory/NewsRelease_M26.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-01 12:20:02

Snippet: See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19990331S0015
By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-01 12:27:10

Snippet: Boy, oh boy. Microsoft claims by mouth
of Craig Beilinson, a Windows product manager, that businesses really
shouldn’t haven fallen for Windows9X as they should have bought Windows
NT (Oops, that translates to quite a sum for money as Windows9X is
ubiquitous in business environments.)

Furthermore, Microsoft’s
options and information on migration instigated by Y2K compliance
issues seems to cost companies lots and lots of money – say you’ve had
your maintenance engineers install Y2K service pack 1 on every desktop
- Aiks, too early, it wasn’t right so now there is Y2K service pack 2.)

while one finds the argument that there is no party to sue if something
gets wrong with Linux, Microsoft sure isn’t sued for the unnecessary
cost they force upon their clients.

I don’t usually care to
report about anything regarding Microsoft software, but when reading
this article I got interested as it gives some idea of one aspect of
the “total cost of ownership” of Windows9X.

ComputerWorld: “EDS Y2K about-face raises Win 95 doubts”

I hadn’t thought of this right away, but if companies update Windows95
to Windows98 for the sole reason of being Y2K compliant, they will
probably have to buy new hardware in order to be able to run Windows98
at all. Thus costs are mounting up.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-01 23:41:09

Snippet: You want to hear music? Then you must
pay for the exorbitantly high priced Windows operating system. This is
the reasoning behind Microsoft’s new proprietary audio format and their
sinking of boat loads of money into locking content exclusively into
this format.

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2235469,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-02 00:09:32

Snippet: The title says it all: “THE POWER OF
OPENNESS – Why Citizens, Education, Government and Business Should Care
About the Coming Revolution in Open Source Code Software”

is not about Microsoft, but about the alternative. The article contains
some errors – the most obvious one is the designation of Linus Torvalds
as a Norwegian – but is generally very well argued.

Putting up my free software advocate’s hat I highly recommend it.

See: http://www.opencode.org/h2o/

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-02 13:10:15

Snippet: U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton demonstrates
that he has got that Microsoft mindset. He has taken it upon himself to
poke Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson with a pointed stick. Microsoft’s
spokesman was uncharacteristically tactful in trying to distance the
company from these comments.

Gorton slams Microsoft trial judge during visit to Redmond campus
Seattle Times by Jay Greene

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-02 23:09:19

Snippet: In court, vice-president Paul Maritz
testified that he expected that cable companies were to play a
determining role in what software is actually going to be distributed.

acts accordingly by buying into cable companies all over the world. The
investment in Portugal Telecom is the latest instance of this strategy.

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990403-000006.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-03 21:37:43

Snippet: After writing “Microsoft’s Holy War on Java” (http://www.news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,26707,00.html), CNET reporter Dan Goodin found himself subpoenaed by Microsoft.

claimed the article had made use of sealed trial documents and it
wanted them back. It claimed that it didn’t even want Goodin to expose
his source, which confirms that the primary goal of the subpoena was to
pass a warning to potential sources.

Microsoft subpoenas news reporter for secret documents

Cnet Reporter Wins First Amendment Victory in Microsoft Dispute http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/04/01/BU81796.DTL

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-03 22:15:20


Despite Microsoft’s many investments
in cable companies, it is also not averse to using a competing
technology, DSL, to achieve its high-speed access aims. However, in
dealing with the regional phone companies which would actually provide
the DSL service, the deal was scuttled because “… the telcos felt
Microsoft wanted too much control …” Why is this not surprising?

PointCast plight reveals Microsoft plans

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-05 17:13:10

Snippet: This L. A. Times
article sounds a bit anti-Microsoft at the start but then it seems to
damn Linux and other open source projects with faint praise. There’s a
lot of the usual FUD about Linux fragmenting because there isn’t a
single benevolent authority to keep the troops from breaking ranks. The
moral of the story seems to be that even the merest hint of competition
will keep those honest and hardworking folks in Redmond working hard to
make the world a better place for you and me.

Well, it says ‘INNOVATION’ right above the title. Does that mean Charles Piller is on Bill’s payroll?

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-05 22:36:29

Snippet: I got another kind note in which I was tactfully reminded of my lack of HTML hygiene.

Yes I’ve been told before, even though I can’t see them the occasional
’?’ brands me as a Windows user. There, I’ve said it. My name is Rick
and I’m a Windows user. If it’s any consolation, it’s the only
Microsoft product I own. I edit in a Netscape Messenger session and
then paste it to the web page. I try to edit all the apostrophes and
replace them with the HTML equivalent but I guess I miss some every now
and then. FrontPage isn’t involved at all.

The fault is mine and
mine alone. Case Roole is an nice honest Linux user who runs a
respectable web page. He tries to clean up after me but every now and
then these tell-tale stains disfigure his tidy web site.

The last
time this came up it was from someone who thought that I was a
hypocrite since I was being critical of Microsoft and yet I was using
their products. All I can say in my defense is that it’s a measure of
the degree of their monopoly of desktop operating systems that I
obviously dislike the company, their products and their business
practices and yet haven’t been able to escape from their clutches. As
it is I’m helping bolster Microsoft’s defense by using Netscape. In
court they point to the fact that the fact that Netscape still has
significant market share (not that there is such a thing as a market
for browsers and not that they’re keeping track mind you) as evidence
of real competition.

I have a Linux box that I’ve been tinkering
with but I haven’t moved my Internet activities to it yet. I am the
very model of a modern Linux newbie. I had Netscape running on it for a
while but recently my x-windows quit working. This was after I switched
monitors and added and internal Zip drive. I have to tinker with it and
see what happened. Even when it was working there were some kinks I
needed to work out. My ISP is Earthlink and I’ve had this recurring
problem, frequently the connection stalls after receiving about 425
bytes. On my Windows system I can see this readily and I just hand up
and call back. On the Linux box I haven’t got a clue as to what’s
happening. I’m sure that I just have to learn a bit more about the
dialer and the operating system to use it properly.

I’ll stop now
or people will start mistaking this for Jerry Pournelle’s column. In
the meantime please forgive my occasional outburst of dirty HTML. I’m
working with a handicap.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-06 02:04:18


One piece of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty,
Doubt) Microsoft likes to use against open-source operating system
competitors such as Linux is the “lack of any roadmap” for future
development. It is instructive to see how Microsoft deals with a future
event such as the year 2000 rollover (i.e. the Y2K problem) with their
own operating systems. As seen in this Computer World article
about Electronic Data Systems’ Y2K woes, one could install one of 4
different sets of Y2K patches depending on which version of Windows ’95
is installed, upgrade to Windows ’98 or upgrade to Windows NT 4. The
first option is time-consuming (thus it’s expensive), the second option
does not come cheaply and the NT 4 upgrade is more expensive than the
Windows ’98 upgrade. Given these unappealing choices, EDS chose the
Windows ’98 upgrade. Planning for any upgrade to the upcoming Windows
2000 (W2K?) release will come afterwards. Open-source operating systems
like Linux may seem like a risk to some but using Microsoft operating
systems clearly can also be a risky business with no clear upgrade path.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-06 06:32:43

Snippet: Did you really believe that Microsoft’s
enthousiasm for restricting Internet access to users has anything to do
with protecting children or preventing employees from being distracted
by naughty pictures?

Forget it. The attractiveness of this
technology for Microsoft is that it can be used to create a barrier
between individual customers and Microsoft’s competitors. Microsoft has
repeatedly claimed that customers can easily download Netscape
navigator. Solution: close access to download sites. I can’t help
expecting that Microsoft’s software will soon come preconfigured to
close access to “unfriendly” sites.

The strategy is exemplified in the following fragment of a MS BackOffice tutorial:

Exercise 2: Control User Access to Internet Sites

What You Will Learn

this exercise you will add a filter to the Web Proxy Service that will
deny users Internet access to www.netscape.com. Access can be denied to
a single computer, a group of computers or a domain.

(The fragment comes from about halfway down the page.)

Internet Access Fundamentals

(BTW As I expect history to be rewritten, I have saved the page.)

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-06 23:54:40

Snippet: Microsoft Diary: Microsoft and Me
Fortune by Joseph Nocera

magazine’s Microsoft Diary has been one of my favorite sources of
antitrust trial coverage. In this six part series Mr. Nocera reports on
the view from Redmond where nobody worries about the trial. “Bill
set up a team to handle this so that the rest of us can spend our time
shipping great products,” says [Tod] Nielsen. Besides, he adds, “the
Apple lawsuit was potentially far more devastating than this case, and
Bill Neukom [Microsoft's general counsel] won that one.”

first part is rather long, the rest are very short. In the last one he
gives a pretty good summary of Judge Jackson’s strategy for handling
the last part of the trial and how it affects the participants.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-07 16:52:33


MS blames Sun for plan to de-emphasise Visual J

Microsoft blames Sun’s lawsuit to protect the integrity of its Java
language for threatening “the industry’s ability to innovate in Java.”
It is interesting how the meaning of the word “innovate” keeps
changing. In one post
from a Microsoft employee on the Appraising Microsoft mailing list, to
innovate is merely to popularise. In the present case, to innovate is
to defeat the cross-platform purpose of competitor Sun’s Java language
by tying it into Windows. Of course, popularising this “polluted Java”
version is part of that, so perhaps the Microsoft employee’s definition
still has some relevance. In contrast, if one wants to take the word
“innovate” in the sense of it meaning to “invent” or “originate”, the Microsoft “Hall of Innovation” is worth looking at to see how Microsoft fares.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-07 17:49:08

Snippet: Aside from a nice amount of money
donated by Microsoft to the political party of the attorney general of
South Carolina, Charlie Condon, Microsoft held up another carrot to
this state: it was planning to locate a factory somewhere in the area
and South Carolina might be it. Alas for South Carolina, merely
extending the facilities in North Carolina sufficed for Microsoft.

Naturally, an incentive isn’t necessarily a cause. But then, it could be.

South Carolina not to get Microsoft plant

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-08 00:27:06


article examines standardized commercial computer environments as
“monocultures” that are fertile grounds for the propagation of viruses.

took advantage of the fact that an increasing number of computers run
the same set of Microsoft programs. From the virus’ perspective, all of
these computers had the same “biology”– they were the same species. As
long as the virus got passed from compatible host to compatible host,
it could continue to propagate and thrive.

A worm virus epidemic
ZDNET By John Dvorak
Another column that places the blame for Mellisa and similar viruses squarely on Microsoft’s doorstep.

been known for years that the architecture of these products, featuring
embedded macro capabilities, is a bad idea and needs to be changed.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-08 01:08:04

Snippet: Less than 48 hours ago, I reported that
a Microsoft BackOffice tutorial explained how to configure denial of
access to Internet sites through the example of www.netscape.com.

good thing that I saved the page, as it has now changed without
notification. Of course, that is reasonable enough – they should have
done it long before it was discovered by a third party – but it makes
life for a chronicler of Microsoft’s corporate culture a bit more

The relevant fragment from the new version is:

Exercise 2: Control User Access to Internet Sites

What You Will Learn

this exercise you will add a filter to the Web Proxy Service that will
deny users Internet access to www.denysite.com. Access can be denied to
a single computer, a group of computers or a domain.

(Previously it didn’t refer to “www.denysite.com”, but to “www.netscape.com”.)

Internet Access Fundamentals

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-08 11:53:48

Snippet: No, they didn’t correct the phrase
after someone in Redmond read this site. It originally came up at the
“Appraising Microsoft” mailinglist (see bottom of: http://www.essential.org/antitrust/microsoft) and was taken up by the New York Times:

What’s Funny at Microsoft? Blocking Netscape’s Web Site
(free registration required; scroll down for fragment)

is good to remember that it was Microsoft company policy not to mention
the name Netscape in public which was implemented by contorted
references to “some other browser” even when they were clearly
demonstrating Netscape’s browser. They couldn’t speak about Netscape
fairly, but they could “joke” about denying access to the company.

manager Kevin Breunig emphasises the effect of the antitrust trial as
he claims that such a “joke” wouldn’t be made right now. Apparently,
public knowledge of Microsoft’s exclusionary practices sours their
sense of humor.

Mr. Breunig also says that if sufficiently many
complaints come in at Microsoft, the reference to Netscape would be
removed. Well, at the very day the New York Times had the story, it was
changed, so apparently they decided not to wait for complaints. It must
have been a funny experience for New York Times readers that followed
the link in the article to find that the fragment was no longer there.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-09 10:38:20

Snippet: "By making the taking of
depositions open to the media, Judge Jackson may find that he is
reading about matters that have not yet been formally entered into
evidence in his own court. This should in fact cause no problem, but it
is likely to increase the stress on those giving depositions. Had media
attendance been permitted when Gates was deposed, he might well have
behaved in a somewhat more mature fashion and not bodged his evidence."

MS judge releases ‘secret’ depositions
by Graham Lea

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-09 12:19:02

Snippet: With a Name Like Smuckers What Microsoft Learned (and the Department of Justice Didn’t) From the Grocery Business by Robert X. Cringely

this weeks column, Cringely renders the opinion that the DOJ is making
the wrong argument by showing the harm that they’ve done to
competitors. While the subject of harm to consumers barely got a
mention. Unfortunately this is a lot harder to pin down. Cringely takes
a shot at it. He discusses Microsoft’s control of retail prices through
the use of Market Development Funds. These funds are used to buy shelf
space in retail stores and they provide the leverage to set actual
retail prices.

He also mentions the familiar upgrade treadmill
that uses new file formats to wear down users who try to resist
upgrading their applications. How many times do you have to be
confronted with files that you can’t read before you bite the bullet?

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-09 18:49:12

Snippet: Mary Jo Foley lays down a part of the messy and ever changing upgrade path for Windows98.

OSR2? This upgrade for Windows 95 was available via OEMs preloaded on
new hardware only. Windows 95 end-user customers who wanted all the
fixes and features Microsoft introduced over a three-year period were
only able to obtain these by buying a new machine or trying to download
each individual component over the Web. The forthcoming Windows 98
Second Edition CD upgrade and/or StepUp could alleviate this kind of

Win98 SE: How not to market a product

is fitting to follow this up with yet another interview with Ed
“long-term roadmap” Muth. It is quite incredible that the media made so
much of a single remark by Steve Ballmer that Microsoft is “seriously
considering open source”.

Muth just repeats the customary
Redmond tantrums (guffaw), but the interview contains the interesting
information that there are more than 50 NT source code licensees at
governmental and educational institutions.

There is no market
for Windows sources, so Microsoft can use it to regulate the industry.
MS wants to get into the government, so Sandia gets the code for free.
(In return it passes back the results of their development so Microsoft
can make money from it.) Bristol uses the code to create bridges with
other OS’s, which doesn’t fit in Microsoft’s strategy, so Bristol is to
pay a price at the extortion level.

Given the media hoopla on
the possibility of Microsoft providing source code, the following
remark by Mr. Muth is most relevant:

"We have absolutely no initiatives in this space to announce."

Case closed.

Microsoft to open source? Not likely
Despite company comments, it’s not likely to cede control of Windows 2000.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-10 13:39:15

Snippet: During the past couple of months
Microsoft spokespersons and newscasters closely related to Microsoft
have launched a FUD attack on Linux.

Now the second echelon of Microsoft troops is descending on the Linux community: the lawyers.

a layman would think that a trademark applies only to a certain phrase,
Microsoft’s lawyers claim that the trademark also covers grammatical
variations of the phrase. Of the over 400 websites and companies that
use the slogan “Where do you want to go tomorrow?” – a variation on
Microsoft’s “Where do you want to go today?” – Microsoft has
specifically targeted linux.de and demanded that it remove the slogan.
Relatedly, the KDE project also uses the “Where do you want to go
tomorrow?” slogan for the KDE desktop. It has been doing this for at
least the 15 months that I have been using KDE.

Here is the message from linux.de in full:

LINUX.DE muss Linux-Slogan entfernen

Wir wurden k�rzlich von einer bekannten Firma [link to http://www.microsoft.de/]
mit einem �hnlichen Slogan dazu aufgefordert, unseren beliebten
Untertitel "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" zu entfernen. Bis zur
endg�ltigen Kl�rung der Rechtslage kommen wir dieser Aufforderung
nat�rlich nach.

Wie die Rechtslage bei dieser �hnlichkeit
aussieht, ist jedoch noch nicht ganz klar. LINUX.DE ist bei weitem
nicht alleine - bei einer Suche via Altavista wurden �ber 400 Sites mit
dem gleichen Slogan gefunden. Weiterhin verwenden einige amerikanische
Firmen und andere diesen Spruch in Ihrer aktuellen Werbung. Sollte hier
wirklich ein Rechtsanspruch bez�glich der �hnlichkeit vorliegen, kann
dies durchaus weitere Folgen haben... Fortsetzung folgt?



Karsten M. Self wrote to the forum at http://www.linuxtoday.com/ on this issue:

A search of the US Patent and Trademark Office site (http://www.uspto.gov/) (search: http://trademarks.uspto.gov/access/search-adv.html),
reveals that there are several marks incorporating the phrase "where do
you want to go", all belonging to Microsoft, with the earliest dating
from 1994. The phrase "where do you want to go tomorrow" is registered
by Cybernet Systems Corporation, of Ann Arbor, MI, as of 1998 (http://trademarks.uspto.gov/cgi-bin/[query]).

if the message is true, Microsoft would be demanding the removal of a
phrase for which it doesn’t own the trademark. Also, as KDE’s usage of
the slogan started at or before January 1998 – when I started using KDE
- it is likely to have preceded the slogan’s registration by Cybernet Systems Corporation.

Update 2:

I found the following message from the same forum thread as the above also quite interesting:

From: Ken Witherow
Subject: Further search of P&T Office… (Apr 10th, 15:47:22 )

that the following common letters, words and phrases are owned by MS
(there's a total of 484 trademarks that they own): (I've listen only
trademarks that are plain text)
sidewalk, slate, picture it, close
combat, fighter ace, bob, bookshelf, natural, O, chrome, start, E,
around town, georgia, kid friendly.

Oops, there goes the
Enlightenment window manager. “Bookshelf”,”natural”,”kid
friendly”,”georgia”, and even the letters “O” and “E”. What’s left of
the English language for the rest of us?

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-10 20:36:05

Snippet: Gates becomes first man to top $100bn

This piece gives some insight into the Gates fortune and how the money is invested. Perhaps the most revealing bits are:

fund manager Michael Larson said that except, of course, for Microsoft,
this doyen of the computer industry generally gave Internet and
technology shares a wide berth.


Apart from
Microsoft, most of Mr. Gates’ assets are held in relatively secure
investments such as government and corporate bonds.

Gates’ investments seem not to be ones a self-proclaimed technological visionary would make.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-11 16:57:45

Snippet: Mr. Alsop observes that whole industries are arising around unprotected products and standards, such as Linux and MP3.

Copyright Protection Is for Dinosaurs

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-11 22:33:14

Snippet: Mangling facts, self-contradictions,
changing standards, shortly, the works are used to defend the one
principle the author holds: fight everything that would be harmful for

Normally, I silence articles like this one to death,
to spare my efforts for Microsoft itself. However, this writer has done
some homework even though it is spoiled by his lamentable standards of
argumentation. I don’t want to encourage you to expose the facts and
dissect the arguments of this article, just be aware that something
like this is written.

Nader’s Microsoft Agenda: Progressive Nonprofit Plan for `Free’ Software by Patrick Reilly

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-11 23:41:59


Due to Microsoft’s Global User
Identifier feature, Microsoft was a Peoples’ Choice to receive this
year’s Big Brother award given last week in Washington DC. A Microsoft
spokesman was on hand to “accept” the award, but only to give a speech
about how committed Microsoft is to privacy. He said “he had never
received an award before” and indeed he refused to accept the Big
Brother award after his commercial. He clearly deserves an award for
guts and good PR tactics, but, in addition to the Big Brother award, he
gets demerits for deceit, refusal to accept responcibility, and lack of
substance. But then, that’s about what one has come to expect from

MS Wags the Privacy Awards

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-12 05:46:39

Snippet: How the Hotmail ‘cookie monster’ bites
The use of ‘security zones’ in IE 4 and IE 5 may be at the root of a vexing Hotmail problem.
ZDNET or ZDNET UK By Christa Degnan
users seem to feel that Microsoft is guilty of poor planning and they
haven’t been very responsive. The problem is that IE4 and 5 don’t
recognize HotMail as a trusted site. Doesn’t Microsoft own HotMail?

MS tries to speed Win2000 deployment
Microsoft’s latest tactic: Ship the beta as if it were finished code.
ZDNET By Mary Jo Foley
strikes me as an act of desperation. The mystery is why companies like
HP, Dell and Micron would want to ship a beta release on new systems.

MS going for Linux sites over satirical slogans?
the Register by John Lettice
is going after Linux sites that use the slogan “Where do you want to go
tomorrow?” Among the problems that they’ll run into is the fact that
the phrase is already registered to an Ann Arbor, Michigan company.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-12 17:14:24



claims Microsoft’s system for tracking revenues is relatively
sophisticated, unlike Microsoft economic witness Richard Schmalensee’s
testimony that Microsoft keeps track of operating system revenue on

As an aside, Gates also says that everyone has
standardised on SAP and “people have decided that they’re not going to
be much ahead of anybody else.” The implication is that lack of
differentiation and lack of progress are not good things. The same
could also apply to everyone standardising on Windows and Microsoft

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-13 16:48:26

Snippet: Wired got some additional information – for one thing, I hadn’t noticed that Cybernet merely applied for registration of “Where do you want to go tomorrow?”.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla said that the company is simply trying to prevent customer confusion.

Germany] did send a simple email request to the site, as [their slogan]
is nearly identical to our trademark slogan," Pilla said. "This is part
of our routine policy that any company would employ, the key goal being
to prevent any kind of customer confusion."

These parodies
have been in use for over a year, so that “routine” seems pretty
sloppy. During the extended period that the parody has been used – e.g.
at linux.de, KDE – a lot of “customers” could have been “confused”.
Were they? If not, “preventing customer confusion” doesn’t seem to be

MS Targets Trademark Abuse

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-14 12:47:50

Snippet: It ain’t heavy, it’s Microsoft
the Boston Globe By Hiawatha Bray

Here’s a livelier slogan, one that accurately describes many Microsoft products: “Two pounds in a one-pound bag.”

Bray takes a look at the latest Windows CE PDA from Compaq, the $450
Aero. It really does have everything–including the kitchen sink.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-16 06:18:58


Although this LA Times update on the anti-trust settlement talks
between Microsoft and the US DOJ and 19 states is a week old, it is
worth posting as both sides have been unusually quiet. Ostensibly,
talks are ongoing, but a settlement is looking unlikely. Microsoft is
not making any appealing offers (although surely they wouldn’t hesitate
to offer to appeal) and also made the mistake of letting the media know
of its intentions to seek a settlement before it let the DOJ or the 19
states’ attorneys know. This does not bode well for any perception of
Microsoft’s good-faith.

In other news this week, Microsoft continues it FUD attacks on Linux. Bill Gates trotted out the tired script
that Linux is doomed to fail because of lack of centralised control and
testing. He gives the example that the user has a choice of 5 different
Graphical User Interfaces in Linux. Some would consider having a choice
of user interface to be a positive, but not in Bill’s world.

Also, Microsoft has again commissioned Mindcraft
to do an “independent” comparison of a competitor, this time comparing
NT to Linux in file serving and Web serving. Mindcraft is also the
company Microsoft hired to pronounce that NT is superior to Novell 5,
NT is superior to Solaris as a Web server and Apple is at fault for
QuickTime’s Windows interoperability problems. Not surprisingly, NT
wins the comparison with Linux but, as this feature from Linux Weekly News shows, the test itself has many technical flaws and is of dubious validity.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-16 17:48:45

Snippet: TechWeb By Mary Mosquera
complain about colleges signing exclusive contracts with Microsoft.
They seem to think that there should be some room for competition.
What’s more, they’re aware that working in this kind of environment
will ensure that they will not be trained to use anything but Microsoft
products. This begs the question–how can this be called “higher
By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-17 05:59:07

Snippet: The Miami Herald seems to have gone
beyond the empty talk of “innovation” and looked at Microsoft’s role in
development of technology over the years.

It still catches
us off guard when a conqueror brilliantly wipes away foe after foe,
then stumbles helplessly when there's no one left to crush.

If you're depending on that conqueror to be a leader, you can have a real problem.

more I watch Microsoft stumble over the next generation of its
operating system, the more I think we're watching that phenomenon in
action. I worry about all of us who are dependent on Microsoft to help
make our computers useful.

Microsoft: It’s one thing to dominate; it’s another to
by Dan Keating

Alas, it seems that the Miami Herald has removed the article. Until the
Miami Herald will release it to the public again, you can find a
copy-pasted version of it here.

Update 2: Roy found a new link to the article here: http://www.herald.com/content/today/business/columnists/keating/digdocs/018180.htmHe
reminded me that the “today” part doesn’t look as if one has time to
spare before looking at it. Furthermore, I didn’t get through.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-18 11:25:18

Snippet: This PC Week article doesn’t contain
anything that wouldn’t be placed in Microsoft’s “PressPass”, but it is
slightly interesting because it nicely illustrates the relevance of the
recent MindCraft incident.

Not surprisingly, one area
Microsoft wants to charge up on is marketing the platform's
capabilities. Formal studies that highlight Windows 2000's total cost
of ownership as well as performance statistics against competing
platforms will become more prevalent in the coming months.

Muth, program manager at Microsoft, said Windows 2000 performance on
two- and four-way servers needs to be highlighted. Allchin added that
performance on eight-way servers will be "stunning."

"Nail down the chickens," said Muth. "We're coming."

Allchin and Muth are talking about reports like MindCraft’s on the
performance of Windows NT versus that of Linux. The manner in which
MindCraft obtained the results that its sponsor desired has been
detailed nicely by Linux Weekly News (http://lwn.net/1999/features/MindCraft1.0.phtml ) and Linux Hardware’s Eric Green (http://www.linux-hw.com/~eric/mindcraft.html).

As for Muth’s closing remark, the fantasy world Microsoft employees live in keeps eluding me.

Windows 2000 home stretch in view

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-18 20:37:42

Snippet: Gates talk at Comdex was once more a
success. He told the crowded audience that Microsoft will release a new
mouse. Furthermore, Gates demonstrated that the problem that plagued
him last year when he presented Windows98 with USB to the audience has
now been fixed. Finally, Gates disclosed that Microsoft has sunk even
more money in Windows NT than IBM in OS/2, so the future of this OS
looks bright.

Gates, Torvalds vie for title of “developers’ developer”
by Mary-Jo Foley

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-19 23:52:10


Gates Comdex keynote skates over holes in Win2k beta

Valentine, the new Windows boss is best known for his pompous remark to
Business Week in February: “I have a nice perspective on what it means
to be in charge of the most important project in the history of

MS goes for broke with $60 Win2k beta offer

Valentine’s instructions from Ballmer were to get the product out of the door, whether it was ready or not.

Gates’ speech at the Spring Comdex, he discussed features of the
upcoming Windows 2000 Beta 3 which Microsoft is deploying as if it were
a finished product. In 6 months or more, the “gold” verion of Windows
2000 will be available and it will once again be upgrade time. Gates
carefully avoided making any promises on exactly what features will
appear in the “gold” release. Apparently, the current Beta 3 release
will help Microsoft figure out which features are ready for “gold”.
Meanwhile, with its “Cost Recovery Program”, Microsoft is collecting
its gold up front.

Update: An additional article from The Register shows that the Win2K Beta 3 release was obviously put together in great haste.
Microsoft’s world-wide subsidiaries have a spotty knowledge of the
programme and it is unclear whether paying $60 for the beta will
entitle one to an upgrade to the final Windows 2000 release.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-20 17:51:25

Snippet: Here is the game that Microsoft, Wall
Street analysts, and journalists have been playing for many years now:
Microsoft’s profits are above those expected by the analysts after the
reports of the previous quarter, Microsoft warns that this result is
exceptional and that it won’t keep up this pace, analysts and
journalists make a prediction, and Microsoft beats this expectation.

of this game is that a degree of certaintly is built in through
Microsoft’s moving of reserves in order to obtain the desired results
(Remember that Charles Pancerzeski, their chief internal auditor was
sacked after blowing the whistle on this.) Also think of Bill Parish’s
report telling how Microsoft pumps up profits through its payment in

Anyway, there is nothing new in Dan Gillmor’s article, but it is well-written and helps to solidify the presented view.

The Microsoft earnings charade
by Dan Gillmor

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-20 22:34:23


IDC slams press on reporting of NT ‘success’
By John Lettice

this report on a report, some in the media seem to taking at face value
reports of strong growth of Windows NT and abandonment of alternative
platforms, leading to a false conclusion that NT is becoming a
‘de-facto standard.’

Update:Here is a more detailed report from CNN with a nice observation:

Microsoft is to be congratulated in its successful marketing campaign,
IDC says the bottom line is that there is no single OS that fits the
bill for every application.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-21 17:46:52

Snippet: Microsoft is now widely touting the
results of the unscientific MindCraft report that sought to compare the
performance of NT 4.0 and Linux on a 4-processors system.

forgot to mention that it paid MindCraft for the report. Like
MindCraft, Microsoft generalizes beyond the findings of the tests:

The conclusion-Windows NT Server 4.0 significantly outperforms Linux, especially for enterprise systems.

the many tests by other parts of single processor systems that gave
different results, MindCraft and Microsoft should have concluded that
the results applied exclusively to – multi-processor – “enterprise systems”.

course, by now we know how MindCraft did not bring Linux to its “top
performance”. And indeed, the following claim can be seen as a
condition on the result that is not emphasized as such in the
conclusions. If better results could have been obtained by seeking
advice not codified in “instructions available in public documents and
benchmarks”, MindCraft should have been doing so. A silly result of the
criticism on MindCraft’s configurations is that its mistakes are now
being codified, with the direct result that MindCraft would obtain
better performance results for Linux if it repeated its tests today. Of
course, this shows that MindCraft’s methodology is faulty.

brought the operating systems to their top performance using
instructions available in published documents and benchmarks.

Also Microsoft misrepresents the availability of Apache and Samba on a Red Hat 5.2 system:

compared Windows NT Server 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 5.2, upgraded to Linux
2.2.2 kernel. Both systems ran on a Dell PowerEdge 6300/400 server.
Mindcraft equipped the Linux system with Samba 2.0.0 as its SMB file
server and Apache 1.3.4 as its Web server. Windows NT Server 4.0
already came embedded with file and print and Web server capabilities.
This class of system is what enterprise customers typically use for
their enterprise servers.

And the following I had to read twice:

Windows NT Server also comes packaged with a load of industry support.

“Packaged with industry support”? That meaning of “packaging” sure isn’t in my dictionary.

Windows NT Server 4.0 faster, more scalable than Linux as a file and Web server, tests show

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-21 20:38:36

Snippet: In the series of “independent”
benchmarking reports, HP now claims to have the world’s fastest
webserver on the basis of the Windows2000 operating system.

to indicate Microsoft’s involvement in the matter is the prominent
quote of Microsoft’s Windows NT product manager Ed Muth in the

The benchmarking doesn’t satisfy the conditions
for the used SPECweb96(1) benchmark, because it wasn’t done with a
production system, but rather with an “interim build of Microsoft�
Windows� 2000 Advanced Server”. The SPECweb requirement is adopted to
prevent OS builds that are specifically calibrated for this benchmark.

See: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/990420/ca_hewlett_6.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-22 14:07:47

Snippet: Folks, sorry if I repeat too much of
what was said here previously, but I am too lazy to rework things: here
is a copy of an e-mail I sent:

From: Case Roole
To: am-info@essential.org
Cc: john.lettice@theregister.co.uk, iwan@itweb.co.za, ianhat@microsoft.com
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 14:30:21 -0400

April 21st South-African ITWeb published a Press release by Microsoft
and its South-African PR firm Text 100 that summarizes the MindCraft
report. Like an announcement on the report at Microsoft's own website (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/dailynews/042199.htm),
this press release didn't mention that the report was commissioned by
Microsoft in the first place, nor that MindCraft's "independence" is
undermined by the regularity with which Microsoft employs it.

users that were already familiar with the weaknesses of the report were
outraged. The next day, ITWeb followed up the press release with an
editorial titled: "Outrage at Microsoft's independent, yet sponsored NT
4.0/Linux research".

By mouth of Microsoft South-Africa's Windows platform manager Ian Hatton a new volley of FUD is launched:

open-source systems you have to post on news groups or surf the Web to
get support. Even then, you do not get any guarantees on the kind of
support you are getting."

Note that MindCraft lauds Microsoft's
on-line help as the one source they needed to tune the NT system, while
Mr. Hatton seems to be intimidated by "surfing the Web".


type of e-mail responses we have been getting does not do the
credibility of the open-source industry any good either. While some
responses have been valid, others ranged from obscene to malicious.
Even our PR company has been warned that if the story is not removed,
it will be attacked with a virus infection."

How does the
"industry" figure in the reactions? Were any companies or people
officially speaking for companies involved? If not, this seems to have
been a consumer action and I don't see how this would affect the
"credibility of the open-source industry".

But Mr. Hatton also gives in, and this might well be crucial:

did sponsor the benchmark testing and the NT server was better tuned
than the Linux one. Having said that, I must say that I still trust the
Windows NT server would have outperformed the Linux one."

course, saying that "the NT server was better tuned than the Linux one"
invalidates the conclusion of Microsoft's press release of one day
earlier ("Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 out performs Linux"). It is a
weakness of ITWeb that it chose to highlight the less laudable
character of some of the received reactions and ignored of the accepted
on-topic criticism that was found in others.

In South-Africa,
Microsoft thus gave the report - that was supposed to be about
performance - a slant of being about documentation and support.

result - no doubt not pre-conceived is a two-phased approach: first
deprecate Linux performance, then - after this is invalidated -
deprecate Linux documentation and support.

If Microsoft repeats
this approach elsewhere, it runs the risk of being chastized for
presenting conclusions that it has itself - by mouth of Microsoft
South-Africa Windows platform manager Ian Hatton - invalidated, which
would hurt its credibility.


ITWeb publication of Microsoft/Text100 press release, 21 April 1999:
"Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 out performs Linux"

ITWeb editorial by Iwan Pienaar, 22 April 1999:
"Outrage at Microsoft's independent, yet sponsored NT 4.0/Linux research"

MindCraft report:
"Web and File Server Comparison: Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 5.2 Updated"

Best criticism of MindCraft's report

no one (with apologies to 'The X-Files') - How Mindcraft could have
made a better Linux file server" by Jeremy Allisson (Samba Team)

"A look at the Mindcraft report" by Linux Weekly News, April 15, 1999

"Mindcraft Reality Check" by Eric Green (Linux Hardware Solutions), April 15, 1999


the NT performance team ran their NetBench file/print test against a
recent Linux distribution. Results indicate that although NT slightly
outperforms Linux, Linux's performance is still quite acceptable and
competitive considering the years of tuning that has been applied to
the NT SMB stack."
- "Linux OS competitive analysis - The next JVM?" aka "Halloween 2", Vinod Valloppillil, Microsoft, August 11, 1998

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-23 00:55:06

Snippet: Visit to a Naval Carrier
UPSIDE by Larry Magid

that the modern Navy shares many of the same IT concerns as many large
businesses. He reports that there is an effort underway called “IT21″
which is designed to “link all U.S. forces and eventually even our
allies together in a network that enables voice, video and data
transmissions from a single desktop PC, allowing war fighters to
exchange information,” according Admiral Archie Clemins, commander in
chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Here’s the punch-line, they’ve decided
to standardize on Windows NT.

Perhaps salvation from this
potential disaster could may come from a technicality, no more Windows
NT. It wouldn’t surprise me if they would have to start all over again
to switch to Windows 2000, bureaucrats can be so darned literal, maybe
they’ll get better advice the second time around.

Microsoft Sacrifices Suits
UPSIDE by Mit Spears

a nostalgic look at Microsoft’s defense strategy. He has a way with
words: “Like Polynesian virgins marching up the side of a volcano, the
parade of Microsoft executives to the witness stand was wasteful and
horrible to watch”. I guess it all depends on your point of view. Like
a lot of these “Monday morning quarter-back” legal articles, he has
suggestions on how they should have conducted their defense.

when he says “Microsoft should have shown that its practice of
integrating technology acquired from other companies (such as Stac
Software Inc. and Symantec Corp.) has enhanced OS functionality and
lowered consumer costs.” He’s ignoring one small detail. Microsoft
integrated Stac’s technology illegally. They may have bought Stac
Software Inc., but that was after Stac sued them and won.

makes another claim that doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny: “Microsoft
should have argued that its insistence upon Windows-compatible
solutions has created an OS that has become more stable and useful with
each successive version”. Well, Mr Spears is a lawyer, I guess he
hasn’t heard the prevailing opinion that each successive version of
Windows is becoming more bug-ridden and unstable.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-23 22:19:25

Snippet: MindCraft claims to have been sending
messages to Linux lists to help them finding an optimal configuration
for their testing setup. Only one message seems to have been sent,
which was under a false name, but did describe MindCraft’s setup in

Someone seems to have been checking the full headers of
this message and found it came from Microsoft’s internal network. Uh,
oh, could it be MindCraft did their tests at Microsoft’s campus? Now
what benefits would this bring to an impartial comparison? Of course,
if they did not send this message, why was Microsoft sending a message
to linux lists mentioning MindCraft’s testing setup and what messages
did MindCraft send then? All this is not going to reflect nicely on the
credibility of MindCraft and Microsoft.

See explanation and forum at LinuxToday:

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-24 23:36:10


Computer conference draws international crowd
Chicago Maroon
By Geoffery Fischer

article gives a rather nice summary of this year’s Spring Comdex in
Chicago, drawing some comparisons with last year’s event. Gates’
keynote speeches then and now are worthy of note. It is also rather
interesting that Microsoft continues the pattern of bundling with
Windows programs which formerly had to be purchased separately from an
independent software vendor. This time the targets are media players
(competitor: RealAudio) and image enhancement programs (competitor:
Adobe Photoshop). Of course, Gates made no mention of a possible
settlement of the anti-trust lawsuit and, with these plans, seems to be
asking for further litigation.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-26 05:10:47

Snippet: FUD, FUD glorious FUD
nothing quite like it for boiling the blood.
(a tip of the hat to Flanders and Swan)

Free Software. Is it Worth the Cost
Microsoft Internet Developer by Douglas Boling
not hard to imagine that Mr. Boling’s paycheck is signed by Bill Gates.
That would explain the tone of this article. If your read between the
lines, he seems to be saying “we’ve got a good thing going here–we
sell crappy software and charge for the fixes, don’t rock the boat, get
on the gravy train.”

For some reason he ignores Microsoft’s own
commitment to free software. They’ll give anything away if it will
screw a competitor and preserve their cash cow.

Chicago Tribune by James Coates
Coates feels that with all the wonderful software that is already
available, there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Just thank God
that we have those good people in Redmond looking out for us all, so
just pay your money and quit complaining.

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-26 19:07:19

Snippet: Furthermore, it is rumored that *both* parties are going to make much of the AOL/Netscape/Sun deal.

Here is my reference, but don’t bother reading it as it contains no further details:

MS-DOJ trial resumption delayed a week

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-27 08:48:27

Snippet: Gratuitous API Changes Can Be Hazardous To Your Program.
byte.com by Robert Frantz

who’s been in the PC business long enough will recall the rumors that
at one time Microsoft’s mantra was “it’s not done till Lotus won’t
run”. There has always been speculation that Microsoft has sabotaged
other competitors products. The only smoking gun has been the warning
message that was produced by a beta of Windows 3.1 when running under
DR-DOS. That smoke hasn’t cleared yet, this is an issue in the current
Caldera vs. Microsoft litigation.

This article by a Robert
Frantz, a Windows developer who had to deal with a program of his own
that was mysteriously broken. Perhaps he hasn’t recovered his
objectivity–he thinks Microsoft is doing this on purpose!

By: Rick Fane
Date: 1999-04-27 14:55:08


By Andrew Leonard
Salon Magazine

saga of Mindcraft’s comparison of NT to Linux continues. With the poor
tuning of the Linux system acknowledged even by Microsoft, Mindcraft
has agreed to re-do the tests with input from Linux developers such as
Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox. The catch is that Mindcraft still has not
been very forthcoming with technical details of its setup and refuses
to grant on-site access to the Linux developers. Under such
circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to give relevant help and
impossible to give any independent verification of the test’s validity.
Expect the conclusion of superior NT performance to be “validated” by
the re-test “with input from top Linux developers.”

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-27 15:55:11

Snippet: Ed “nail down the chickens” Muth has
done it again. The latest from him is that Windows is really a kind of
grass-roots development:

Leadership is important in all
human endeavors, but Windows is bigger than any one person or even one
company. Windows is an authentic industry phenomenon with thousands of
software companies, millions of developers, dozens of high-volume,
sophisticated [original equipment manufacturer] developers that are
driving this forward.

So, how does the acclaimed “long-term roadmap” figure in this model?

- once more, reading the rest of the interview – how can Linux provide
serious competition and be definitely ill-fated at the same time? Any
takers for Redmond’s attempt to make us accept its “A and not A” axiom?

from bad axioms, Mr. Muth also presents several untruths: he claims
that releasing software as open source implies relinquishing
intellectual property rights, and that free software can’t produce
something “pervasively multilingual”, you know, like, eh, for example

Another mode of speech much favored by Mr. Muth is
insinuation. For example, he makes the implicit claim that free
software cannot combine forces with commercial software to accomplish
(reasoning from his own premises!) what Muth claims can’t be
accomplished by free software alone.

Linux “Lacks an Extraordinary Number of Features” of Windows

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-28 00:04:07

Snippet: After the torrent of criticism,
Mindcraft seems to be re-doing the tests it ran to compare the
performance of Windows NT 4.0 and Linux. It has contacted prominent
developers of the kernel, Samba and Apache and these have given some
advice. However, due to an Non-Disclosure Agreement, Mindcraft won’t
allow anyone from this party to be present on-site. Now how can an NDA
interfere with benchmark testing of publicly available software?

Samba developer Jeremy Allison used an SGI machine (his employer) to
repeat the tests and found that he could manage to reproduce the NT
results, but got much better results for Linux, actually just about the
same as NT.

By not retracting their original report and being
unwilling to allow people that can get better results themselves to
witness them repeating the test, Mindcraft is burning up yet more of
its credibility.

Will MindCraft II be better?

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-28 08:45:55


Microsoft trial: Packard Bell execs say software giant ruled
By James V. Grimaldi
Seattle Times

claims its actions, such as integrating a Web browser with Windows, are
done due to customer demand. Some recently unsealed testimony in the
anti-trust trial says otherwise. Jon Kies, senior product manager of PC
vendor Packard Bell, recounts:

Typically, when we ask
Microsoft for something, it needs to be for a very specific reason, and
we need to have a very solid understanding of what we’re going to do
with it. … When there’s no other competition or alternative to
Microsoft, the question that comes back – `Well, what is the benefit to
Microsoft?’ And if we cannot find or provide a solid benefit to
Microsoft, then there’s not much likelihood that the request is going
to be granted.

Packard-Bell is one of the few PC vendors to
take advantage of Judge Jackson’s contempt of court order and ship PC’s
without Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Apparently, a court
order is what it takes for Microsoft to “grant” a legitimate customer
wish which does not benefit Microsoft.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-28 16:17:55

Snippet: As Microsoft claimed that just about
any document coming from them was “confidential”, it was difficult for
Caldera to present their case to the public. Apparently, Caldera now
managed to blow the seals from a significant number of documents and
the result is a filing in which they offer a chronology of events and

Not auguring well for their position, Microsoft uses
faulty argumentation to defend themselves. From spokesperson Jim
Cullinan we learn that Microsoft considers quantity of proof a
determining factor for its validity. The amount if supporting
statements may be a determining factor in marketing and totalitarian
politics, but not in logic. Also, Mr. Cullinan treats us to Microsoft’s
stock defense that the context will prove them right (and what context
they see this time!) while they are unwilling to provide this context.

(at Caldera) take a handful of documents from millions of Microsoft
documents and say, `This proves our case,'. But their case is feeble.
The fact is when these documents are taken into context they show the
exact opposite: That there was competition in the software industry.''

Caldera unveils evidence in Microsoft case

Caldera’s $1.6 Bln Antitrust Suit Opens Microsoft Documents to Scrutiny

At the time of writing I couldn’t get through to Caldera’s website, but the filing is supposed to be available here:

Update: See also Mary Jo Foley’s article:
Caldera battle still looms for MS

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-04-29 10:06:59


As one of the parties to the legal
maneuvering to open the deposition process of the Microsoft anti-trust
trial to the public, ZDNN is hosting an archive of the depositions.
Microsoft fought to keep the depositions under seal (as they have done
in the Caldera anti-trust suit), but the appeals court ruled for
opening the depositions and Microsoft declined to appeal to the Supreme
Court. More information can be found in this introduction by Mary Jo Foley (curiously, one of the links to this is entitled “Netscape feared Microsoft would nix merger”.)

Update: New stories, such as MS kept OEMs on short leash, have been added and the link to the Netscape feared Microsoft would nix merger story has been fixed.

Additionally, there is an article entitled MS’s Allard: ‘Could you define Web?’ containing a rather surreal exchange where Web browser is alternately defined as graphical user code for rendering images or simply Internet Explorer.
The first definition would have it that the original MacIntosh system,
MS-Windows v. 1.0 and other systems such as Amiga, Atari, etc. are all
Web browsers. The latter implies that programs such as Netscape
Navigator, Opera and Lynx are not Web browsers. Allard’s two
definitions introduce confusion by being overly broad or overly narrow
all while he claims to avoid using the term ‘Web browser’ to reduce
confusion. Anyway, after overcoming my intial amazement, I could only
shrug and call US DOJ Special Counsel Boies correct when he said “You
should find nothing new here …”

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-04-29 15:54:15

Snippet: Earlier I announced the availability of
Caldera’s 188 page “Statement of facts” on their antitrust case against
Microsoft. At the time I couldn’t get through to it, but now I have
fetched and read it.

The statement is extremely lucid and
contains supporting references to exhibits and judicial records. Here
is a quote from the introduction that I haven’t seen before, or in any
of the press articles on the statement:

In 1916, Judge
Learned Hand resolved the antitrust dispute pending in United States v.
Corn Products Refining Company, 234 F. 964 (S.D.N.Y. 1916). The
government charged that a starch producer had engaged in illegal
monopolization. In evidence were typewritten memoranda from company
executives, who had a custom of communicating with each other in this
fashion. Judge Hand wrote: "The documents were never intended to meet
the eyes of anyone but the officers themselves, and were, as it were,
cinematographic photographs of their purposes at the time they were
written." Id. at 978. A witness's attempts to contradict the validity
of these memos, Judge Hand wrote, "served only to affect the general
credibility of his testimony." Id.

Like the executives in Corn
Products, Bill Gates and the senior executives at Microsoft never
expected that their e-mail and other internal reports and
communications would be produced and reviewed as a record of their
anti-competitive conduct.They were wrong. Those internal communications
tell the story of Microsoft's predatory actions, contradicting in every
material respect the "legitimate business justifications" put forth in
Microsoft's various summary judgment motions. Judge Hand's conclusions
over 80 years ago apply perforce today to a new industry dominated from
its inception by Microsoft:

In the face of these memoranda,
which for some strange reason were preserved, there can be no question
in my mind of the continuous and deliberate purpose of the Corn
Products Refining Company, by every device which their ingenuity could
discover, to maintain as completely as possible their original
domination of the industry.

I’d say that this is a
beautiful justification for following the trail of e-mails of Microsoft
executives in which they laid down their intentions.

Caldera statement of facts

some earlier time I was apt to read Microsoft press releases, but I
consider this activity rather a waste of time now. At the trial
Microsoft declared the notion of credibility irrelevant. They are no
longer committed to at least attempt to be truthful. What passes for
argumentation by Microsoft consists mostly of language games,
adjectives and strong language. Whatever relevant claims they still
make, they fail to support by citations or references.

though Caldera’s statement is by no means cast in neutral language,
you’ll notice a difference when first reading its text and following it
up with a reading of Microsoft’s public reaction:

Caldera’s Pulp Fiction

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-01 09:32:14

Snippet: In this follow-up of Ralph Nader’s
original conference on Microsoft in 1997 the issue was to make explicit
how the Microsoft situation could be improved.

An attendant of the conference, Ryan Park, has put up his notes:

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-02 09:49:04

Snippet: Microsoft sponsors ACT and ACT
sponsored Stan Liebowitz to write a report concluding that the
Microsoft monopoly is good. As I said of the Mindcraft report: “Expect
more reports like this.”

Liebowitz spoke at Appraising Microsoft
and his conclusion was uncritically propagated by the press. From the
notes of Ryan Park (link in previous news item):

said that there would be many costs in splitting Microsoft up. He made
the assumption that Microsoft would be split into three entities, each
of which developing their own competing version of Windows, without any
interoperability standards or agreements. Therefore, when companies
introduce new applications, they'd have to port it to three different
operating systems. Liebowitz (and, presumably, research assistants)
directly contacted executives at a number of large software firms (he
didn't say how many firms). He specifically refused to talk to
assistants, but rather only to executives. He asked them how much they
expected their R&D, tech support, and sales budgets to increase, if
they had to support three OSs rather than one.

Liebowitz then
multiplied these numbers by overall industry revenue figures. He
determined that R&D costs would increase by 78%, technical support
costs would rise 46%, and sales and marketing costs would rise by
5-10%. He then decided that his overall projections were too high, so
he divided the end result by three. (I'm not making this up!). He
finally came to the conclusion that software costs would rise about
6-and-a-half percent, or $30 billion.

From a techweb
article I understand that Liebowitz presented the *assumption* that
three different OSs would develop as them being as different as
Windows, Mac and UNIX. A rather wild assumption, given that the latter
two OSs are generally sold with specific hardware from the same vendor
and that the three OSs lack the common origin that the different
Windows versions of the assumption would have.

Mr. Liebowitz
seems to have failed to explain why his assumption would be more likely
than an alternative situation after splitting up in which the three
companies started cloning from one another which would lead to
basically homogeneous products with extras just like AMD/Intel, “100%
IBM PC compatibles”, and DR/MS-DOS.

Let’s do a little theorizing
ourselves. After the split-up Windows-3 is wildly different from the
other two that are merely slightly different from one another. If
specific features of Windows-3 make it especially attractive, the other
two would have copied them and the gap would be bridged. If not,
developers would be confronted with a cost penalty for supporting
Windows-3 and this would drive them to opt for supporting Windows-1 and
Windows-2 only, which would make it interesting for Windows-3 to
develop closer to the other two.

Another option would be that
the three versions are popular with different target groups and remain
equally viable, even though they are functionally different. Games
would run best on Windows-2, Office stuff on Windows-3, and Windows-1
would run well on cheap hardware. The question then becomes: why port?
If you want to have your program run on all versions, you can write it
in java; if you want fast gaming or use a fat office suite, you can
write it specifically for the machine and target group. Consumers will
have a choice and developers have no reason to write three versions of
their applications.

Oh, well. I’d better stop arguing until Mr. Liebowitz paper “Breaking Windows” is made public.

it appears now, he makes an unsupported and unsupportable assumption
and it is a shame that the press (I have seen ZDNet, Reuters, Techweb)
propagates this assumption as a necessary situation.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-02 10:25:33

Snippet: Perhaps a secret Market Development
Agreement under a Non-Disclosure Agreement was part of Microsoft’s
present of a building to MIT as the following “interview” by MIT’s
Michael Dertouzos does look all that spontaneous.

As you may
remember, Dertouzos was the potential witness that Microsoft made
quietly disappear from its list, allegedly because he seemed to think
“marketable functional unit” when pronouncing “browser”.

always, Gates’ talk is meaningless and regularly needs very favorable
interpretation to not be called lies. Giving away software is bad when
you do this under an open source license, but good under a more
restrictive license. Open source is charming, but only proprietary
software can become a standard by virtue of being proprietary. The
result of a common standard is “enormous choice for consumers”,
something that applies to Windows but – not mentioned in the interview
- not to java. There is no such thing as “network-effects” in software,
but still: “For any software to gain widespread acceptance and
use-to be popular with consumers and corporate customers-it has to
possess the infrastructure and support that make it efficient and easy
to deploy. So just as the car became popular only when there was a
network of gas stations, repair shops, dealerships, paved roads and so
on, the same is true for software and most other products.”.

And to go on after an empty line to give you a break: “corporate customers find it hard to stay current [with open-source software] as each version is customized” and yet: “Regular upgrades are clearly necessary in an industry that is changing as fast as the software business” plus “upgrades will increasingly be carried out transparently and automatically, without users having to do anything.”

am not trying to give an deal exhaustively with the contents of the
interview, I am just illustrating that Gates is not willing or able to
act coherently and that makes his speech meaningless.

Even though Gates’ statements are meaningless, they may help us to understand what Microsoft is up to.

Dertouzos’ introduction is as insightful as it is ridiculous:
is ironic to me that in the United States, the bastion of capitalism,
where people have given of their work lives and capital to create a
huge industrial economy, we are now asked to surrender the very same
factors of production-our labor and our capital-to develop software
that will be open and free for all. I do see some qualified benefits to
open software, but I wanted to get your views on the big picture before
going any deeper.”

(Read that last sentence again to get an impression of the personality of Michael Dertouzos!)

and in other recent publications, we find that Microsoft (c’mon,
Dertouzos said it, but I doubt it would have appeared here if Gates
didn’t approve of the question) are seeking to implement ideological
regulation of the ways in which people make money by writing software.
Expect a vast “grass-roots” effort to bring this message home to the

“Titans Talk Tech: Bill G. and Michael D.”

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-03 21:51:00

Snippet: According to a ComputerWorld story, EDS
is going to upgrade to Windows98 because Microsoft was unwilling to
resolve remaining minor issues to make Windows95 Y2K compliant.

I do not know where truth lies in this matter, but I think Microsoft’s approach to the matter is relevant:

the March 29 story about EDS, Microsoft issued an internal market
bulletin to its sales staff to eliminate what it described as
"confusion" generated by the Computerworld story.

Among other
things, the bulletin told salespeople that "the Computerworld article
is very misleading," and despite the article's suggestions,
"Microsoft's position on Windows 95 Year 2000 compliance has not

Yet under a section titled "Facts Regarding... Year
2000 Compliance," the company tells its salespeople that "Microsoft is
providing a software update for Windows 95 to resolve the outstanding
minor issues."

When questioned by Computerworld reporters,
Microsoft officials couldn't specify any incorrect or misleading
information in the March 29 story.

So, whereas Microsoft
claims on the one hand that the article was “very misleading”, they are
on the other hand unable to come up with any incorrect or misleading

Windows 95 Y2K fix was kept from users

me of a rumor I heard. A major news organization was approached by
Microsoft because their coverage of the trial was, well, misleading and
incorrect. The news organization was concerned and helpful, and asked
Microsoft to specify any misleading and incorrect details, so they
could publish a rectification. They never got a reply from the company.

like intimidation to me, and that again reminds me of their threatening
a boy selling T-shirts featuring “Bill the Borg” with a lawsuit. Such
is Microsoft.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-03 22:31:48


By Lisa M. Bowman

US vs. Microsoft anti-trust trial is set to resume soon. Microsoft has
recalled MIT economist Schmalensee to the stand to salvage some of his
earlier testimony. While Microsoft commissioned another economist at
the recent Appraising Microsoft conference to say (to guffaws from
other economists in the audience) that Microsoft has a “temporary
natural monopoly”, Schmalensee is expected to repeat his earlier
assertion that Microsoft does not have a monopoly.

Microsoft also
plans to call AOL’s David Colburn as a hostile witness in hopes of
shoring up its assertion that the Netscape/AOL/Sun deal proves there is
healthy competition in the software industry. This is unlikely to be
successful since Judge Jackson has earlier indicated that he discounts
the importance of this deal.

AOL’s business is on-line services
and they primarily acquired Netscape for the Web portal business which
they emphasised after Microsoft forced them to give away their client
and their software business dried up. Netscape’s software business is
of secondary importance to AOL and AOL brought in Sun to dispose of a
unit that otherwise did not fit. Sun’s primary interest is to sell its
hardware. In short, the deal amounts to the disposal of Netscape’s
software business with a questionable impact on competition in the PC
software industry. One could equally well assert that the
Netscape/AOL/Sun deal proves there is unhealthy competition in the PC
software industry.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-05-04 05:38:14

Snippet: In his testimony Paul Maritz proclaimed
that Microsoft believes that cable operators will have a determining
say in the distribution of software. No doubt, the intended result was
to make hearers believe that this weakens Microsoft’s strength.

reality, we see that Microsoft acts on this belief and buys heavily
into one cable company after another. (See Mitch’s “Whole Microsoft
Catalog” for details.)

AFAIK, the latest deal is the biggest of
all: a $5 billion deal with AT&T that effectively guarantees that
AT&T will become an exclusive “partner” of Microsoft.

Some fragments of a C|Net article:

expected move links the world's largest software company with the
industry's largest long-distance telephone service provider.

deal is intended to keep Microsoft in the middle of the broadband boom,
since AT&T, following its proposed acquisition of MediaOne, will
become the largest cable company in the nation.

already owns a $1 billion stake in Comcast, the No. 4 cable operator.
Earlier this week, Comcast opted not to counter AT&T's $54 billion
cash-and-stock bid for the cable operator.

Under the agreement
announced today, both companies said in a statement that AT&T will
use Microsoft software in its television set-top boxes and also said
they will work together to showcase new digital cable services in two
U.S. cities.

Ma Bell said it will increase its use of
Microsoft's Windows CE operating system software in set-top devices
from its current license of 5 million to cover an additional 2.5 to 5
million set-top devices, under the deal.

In addition, the two
companies said that AT&T agreed it will also license Microsoft
client/server software that supports a range of digital services, such
as email and interactive television entertainment. The two companies
said they plan to deploy Microsoft's television software in two cities
by the second quarter of next year.

Anyone care to
speculate on what this tells us about the “overnight change” of the
power structure in the software industry as a result of AOL’s buying of

See: http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36186,00.html

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-07 01:32:04

Snippet: As a little aside an article on Gates
divestiture of Microsoft shares. Now why would he do this if Microsoft
shares are doing so swell? Give the other folks a chance to get in?

Gates to cash another $260 million MS stock
by Graham Lea

single most far-reaching aspect of Microsoft’s corporate strategy today
is that it is buying its customers. It controlled OEMs and ISPs with
the carrot and the stick, but right now it is outrightly buying parts
of cable companies in agreements that directly translate to Microsoft
market share. Next time you hear a Microsoft spokesperson speak of how
easy it is to write an OS to compete with Microsoft, think of how the
young entrepreneur is going to cough up $5B to buy part of AT&T in
order to get it to allocate a slice of the market to the OS.

MS to take $5bn stake in AT&T
by Tony Smith

MS spends $5 billion to boost CE cable presence
by John Lettice

MS taking more slices of UK cable business
by Graham Lea


Will cable spending spree turn MS into Ma Bill?
by Graham Lea

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-07 11:46:53

Snippet: A couple of days ago an interview of MIT’s Michael Dertouzos with Bill Gates was published. In it we read:

...Companies and individuals in rich countries will have to contribute
technology and cash to kick-start a truly global Information
Revolution. I am a big believer in philanthropy, and I'm excited about
the impact it can have. I think it is also important to consider
priorities. I have chosen to focus on making sure that children in poor
countries get access to vaccines so they can live a healthy life. This
has to come before making sure they have access to computers. I have
put more than $6 billion into my two foundations because of my
enthusiasm for taking the great advances in medicine and information
technology and giving more people access. We can do some great things

(Dertouzos) I wish other people and
organizations would follow your philanthropic lead. And thanks for this
enjoyable and informative discussion.

So what are we to make of Microsoft senior vice-president James Allchin’s statement:

The profit motive will end up ruining and tarnishing the altruism people use to promote this [free software/Linux] thing.

Microsoft gives away something it is called “philantropy”, but when
someone gives away software source code, it is called “altruism”. In
the former case, it serves to advance the state of the world and people
are encouraged to follow this “lead”, in the latter case, Microsoft
claims that it is irrational behavior that will soon be “ruined and

Endless doubletalk.

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-07 22:58:01

Snippet: The Mindcraft affair presents an
interesting image of the way Microsoft deals with the press.
Originally, Mindcraft’s report on NT and server performance indicated
in smallish script that it was “sponsored” by Microsoft. This was not
mentioned in MindCraft’s press release, nor in Microsoft’s articles on
the report. Those reports did mention that Mindcraft was an
“independent” lab.

Some investigation by the Linux community
brought up a radically different picture of the situation. Mindcraft is
not so much an organization or lab, as it seems to have the functions
of president, engineer and phone operator combined in the single person
of Bruce Weiner. Furthermore, Mr. Weiner did the tests on location at
Microsoft under a non-disclosure agreement. He claimed to have
requested for help with tuning through the usual internet channels, but
the only e-mail found that applied to the tested configuration was sent
from an e-mail alias that seems to hide a Windows NT performance

Mr. Weiner is now attempting to restore his damaged credibility, and the story is still continuing.

LinuxToday has catalysed much of the investigations on Mindcraft and now it has brought together its articles:

Special Report: Mindcraft

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-10 11:32:09

Snippet: Following its strategy of vertical
consolidation and extension of its software markets by buying network
infrastructure, Microsoft has taken a $600 million stake in Nextel
Communications to create a co-branded wireless portal based on MSN
services to be reached through Nextel phones.

The wireless
portal is designed to work with handheld devices, cellular phones, and
interactive pagers via its MSN network of Web services, and users will
be able to access their online information from wherever and whenever
they want through the wireless MSN portal, the Redmond,
Washington-based company said.

For example, Microsoft said
that more than 40 million users of MSN Hotmail will shortly be able to
access their email, use their online address books through their cell
phones, and track news and weather.

The wireless MSN
portal will be accessible by devices using microbrowser technology,
such as Pocket Internet Explorer for the Windows CE operating system
and wireless Internet access. Microsoft said that on top of working
with Nextel, it plans to build relationships with other leading
wireless carriers to promote its new wireless strategy.

said, given that it is already clear that buying network infrastructure
to push their software is a recognized strategy of Microsoft’s, it is
no surprise to hear that Microsoft “plans to build relationships with
other leading wireless carriers”.

The article doesn’t mention
whether WinCE will actually be used in Nextel’s cell phones. Also, the
matter of exclusiveness is not mentioned: if Nextel users can access
MSN, can’t they access other internet sites as they wish?

Microsoft, Nextel in $600 million deal

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-11 02:59:16

Snippet: Gates and wife are giving $50M for a health program aimed at preventing maternal death and disability.

sketches the context by claiming that Gates’ Microsoft share is worth
some $79B and that “Gates is considered (sic) the world’s richest man”.
Given recent press coverage, I think I am not much off the mark much
when estimating that Gates total wealth now equals some $100B. Thus the
magnanimous gesture would come down to some 0.05% of his wealth.

am quite pleased with my own welfare, but based on what I have in the
bank and my insurance policy, I couldn’t have a haircut for this
percentage of my wealth. (Exercise: find your own illustrations after
doing 0.0005*YOUR_WEALTH.)

Reuters is more impressed and sees a
clear link with Gates’ claim that he wants to give away most of his
fortune before he dies. Given that the fortune is still growing with
multiples of what Gates is giving away, I think that Reuters is overly
complimentary regarding the effectiveness of Gates’ gesture.

Gates gives $50 million to health program
by Reuters

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-11 03:24:04

Snippet: As mentioned shortly ago here, it is
Microsoft’s most basic strategy today to buy its customers instead of
winning them. Here is another step.

MS to spend another $4bn on UK C&W deal?
by John Lettice

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-12 14:20:28


In more news along the lines of money talks and the cable networking deals with AT&T, C&W and Nextel , Microsoft also wants to invest in Deutsche Telekom, buy a Swedish mobile device networking firm and buy a 27% stake of a WebMD,
a Web site for medical professionals. Microsoft has failed to gain
critical mass with MSN and Windows CE, so it is agressively pursuing a
“if at first you don’t succeed, buy, buy again” strategy in hopes of
regaining lost ground.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-05-13 02:53:51

Snippet: Apparenty, “you read it first in The
Register” is not an empty claim. Today they wrote that Microsoft has
published a report on NT vs Linux, something I hadn’t seen on
LinuxToday, that is very keen on following the affair. The report was
dated May 8, but last updated May 12.

The report pretty much
consists of two parts. In the first a list of test results for
different tests by different test organizations is presented. The
second part consists of a feature-by-feature comparison of Linux and NT.

the first part, Mindcraft numbers are happily published alongside
numbers from PC Week and PC Magazine. I would like to see results
posted by an organization that doesn’t depend on Microsoft – as PC Week
and PC Magazine both do, for both information and advertising money.
They happily ignored price/performance tests and I consider that
sufficient reason to believe that they were eager to get results
conforming to a pre-set goal.

The feature list that makes up the
second part is pretty screwy. After mentioning that there is “no
formalized field training” for Linux in one item, they mention in the
next that Linux needs “highly trained system administrators – usually
require developer-level skills”. Gee, I am a Linux system
administrator, but I never considered myself to have “developer-level
skills”. Thanks for the compliment! Anyway, if all those Linux boxes
are maintained by people with “developer-level skills”, there must be
an awful number of potential contributors to the further development of
Linux. This looks good!

I had a good laugh about the following
point in the NT column: “Why don’t we address the int’l and
accessibility point?” Sloppy. It shows us what criteria the writers of
this report used for mentioning an item. I trust that this remark will
not return in the next version. And yes, we find in the corresponding
Linux column: “Open questions about internationalization, access by
people with disabilities.”

Well, numerous items are beyond my
technological competence to assess. I do note, however, that the report
regularly introduces insinuations (“broad language support, including
java” for NT, vs. “poor support for Java” for Linux”), uses woolly
language (as in the “open questions” mentioned above), and mentions
irrelevant categories whereas the relevant ones are not mentioned (OEMs
“guaranteeing” uptime, vs actual uptime numbers). I look forward to see
the rebuttals.

‘Show you can beat NT’ – MS declares war on Linux

Update on Windows NT Server vs Linux Performance and Capabilities

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-13 16:04:51

Snippet: The Register noticed the “Why don’t we
…” remark in Microsoft’s report, published it, and speculated that it
would disappear quickly. It has. By now, the report says that it was
published May 12 (no longer 8) and was last revised May 13.

thinking about it, it struck me that Microsoft’s analogy of the Linux
community picking on the messenger (Mindcraft) instead of the message,
might backfire: who sent the messenger on his way with the message?

indication of the actual role of Mindcraft is that Microsoft claims
that the Linux community was slow to respond to Mindcraft’s request for
new tests. Now what does Microsoft has to do with that? Wasn’t
Mindcraft an independent organization?

MS marketing spin leaks into attack on Linux
by John Lettice

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-14 01:12:34


Digital ChosunIlbo:English Edition
By Hwang Soon-hyun

this news item from Korea, the combination of the crackdown on software
piracy and the high retail price of software is causing friction. With
the low incremental cost of software, Microsoft and resellers can
afford to offer discounts anywhere from 70% to 95% to offices and
educational institutions. Individuals have no such luck and demand
lower prices. Also, with a recent licencing change, separate office and
home software licences are now required for the office worker who wants
to use her home machine to do work where, in the past, the office
licence sufficed for this purpose. Will we see the fruits of a healthy
market economy here and lower prices or will individual buyers continue
to choose between piracy and paying the prices of a monopolist?

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-05-14 02:49:09

Snippet: One of the most encouraging aspects of
the defense against Microsoft’s increasing barrages of FUD against
Linux is that ever new persons stand up to write a rebuttal.

tried to make it appear that criticism on the Mindcraft report came
primarily from well-known Linux developers including Linus Torvalds.
Indeed, Samba’s Jeremy Allison and stable-kernel-tree-maintainer Alan
Cox have done their due. However, the main thrust of the criticism has
been given by relatively unknown persons writing at different websites
and informing journalists about the matter.

I have never heard
of Larry J. Blunk, but he has written an even-handed answer to
Microsoft’s latest “update” on comparing Linux and NT. (As The Register
noted, this report has been revised twice due to the sloppiness of the

The voices raised against Microsoft don’t come from
companies or even organizations, they come from a large group of
loosely connected individuals. As there is no company to betray the
“enthousiasts” this time – such as Apple or IBM – it is quite difficult
to conceive how Microsoft can counter so many voices without either
paying hard for support or raising their integrity.

LinuxToday: Response to Microsoft: PC Week benchmarks reveal Mindcraft failings
by Larry J. Blunk

The Register:

MS marketing spins and respins in Linux attack

Tests cited by MS prove flaws in Linux study – Linux Today

Can Linux avoid Microsoft’s NT trap?

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-14 18:04:19

Snippet: If $5B share of AT&T buys Microsoft
a 2.5 million units CE market, what do they pay per unit? And how does
this buying of market share relate to Microsoft’s claim that they have
always won their markets buy virtue of quality and price and like it
that way?

Bill Gates’ set-top boxing

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-16 13:46:59

Snippet: The purpose and justification of
copyright and patent laws is to stimulate original production. If such
laws do not exist, as was the case with patent laws for software in
Japan en Europe, one would expect them to come into being only after an
independent investigation has demonstrated their economical benefits.

is not what we see today. Japan has already yielded to intensively
lobbying efforts of multinationals with large patent portfolios and
European legislators have planned to be next.

Although big
names such as Oracle, Adobe, etc. had claimed that patents on software
are more harmful than useful, the US law system has allowed for a
decade the filing of patents for elementary software processes. The
30.000 software patents filed every year are now used to attack and
eliminate independant software publishers or free software authors.


June 24 and 25 1999 in Paris, France, the member states of the Munchen
convention are planning to legalize software patents in Europe. No
study has been made by member states about the economic impact of
legalizing software patents for independent software publishers and
developers. Such a decision would create a lot of juridical
uncertainty, playing havoc with the whole european independent software
industry, obstructing competition and, in the mid term, slowing down
innovation and investment in the software industry.

You can read more – including a reference of who to write to – at:
Free Patents – Protecting Innovation & Competition in the IT Industry

Richard Stallman wrote an editorial on the matter:

Saving Europa from software patents

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-17 09:32:04

Snippet: Despite the market share of dwarf AMD,
most microprocessor revenues still end up with Intel. Furthermore,
Intel got hold of a number of processors that it didn’t develop itself,
such as former Digital’s Alpha and the StrongARM.

No doubt Intel
is dominant. However, whether it is because they are careful with
antitrust matters or whether they are afraid of blackmail through
non-support of Windows (the possibility of which is of course one of
the reasons why there are antitrust laws), Intel is actively supporting
non-Windows operating systems such as Linux and BeOS to run on Intel

The shared dominance of the desktop is still there, but the “WinTel duopoly” is no longer acting as a unit.

AT&T. Through acquisitions AT&T presently holds some 60% of the
American cable network. Now it is combining with Microsoft on the issue
of what software is going to be used to connect to the network. Black
phones again, and their name is Windows.

ABC news: War of the Wires

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-17 09:48:32

Snippet: Pro- and contra talked remedies in Washington at April 30.





You can now find the full transcript of the workshop at:

The general page on the conference is at:

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-17 23:31:26


MS trial may resume next Monday
The Register
By Graham Lea

article speculates on when the US DOJ anti-trust case versus Microsoft
may resume and muses on what a further delay may mean for both sides.

MS denies it’s buying users with its billions
The Register
By John Lettice

Further anti-trust investigation may ensue from Microsoft’s latest round of acquisitions and deals with broadband providers.

U.S. Judge Says Microsoft Trial To Proceed

the judge in the Bristol anti-trust case denied Microsoft’s motion for
a delay, the trial is set to resume on the 2nd of June. Interestingly,
the judge also gave permission for Bristol’s lawyers to exchange
information with lawyers in the DOJ and Caldera anti-trust cases.

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-05-18 04:20:56


An article entitled “Is free software worth the cost?”
recently appeared in the Microsoft Internet Developer publication
which, not surprisingly, trotted out the Microsoft party line that
programmers really ought to charge for their work and retain the
benefits for themselves. After all, programmers have to pay bills too.
This was roundly criticised by the open source community as not
addressing the real benefits of open source software.

Microsoft has come out with a follow-up article which pretends to
address the criticism. It even makes some reference to Richard
Stallman’s GNU Manifesto and philosophy of free software.
But then the focus is neatly twisted from the “free speech, not free
beer” analogy back to the economics of free software and what they
imply would be lower pay the programmers would get for their work.

mentioned is that, if a programmer decides to keep the source code of
her work and license binaries, the rules of the game favour Microsoft.
Indeed, if the program is successful enough, Microsoft will no doubt
buy the producer out or integrate its own version with Windows.
Microsoft’s reply also ignores the real benefit to the software
community of retaining control of the source code so that bugs can be
quickly fixed and new features added by anyone with ability and desire.
There lies the true freedom of “free software.” The intangible benefit
of a greater sense of community among hackers is also not mentioned.

Here is the article, dubbed by an upped version number in typical Redmond style:

Free Software 2.0
Microsoft Internet Developer, June 1999

By: Roy Bixler
Date: 1999-05-18 04:29:52

Snippet: For at least the third time, Bill Gates
has invited some 100 industry and government top executive. One can
only guess what is said at these meetings as the press is not welcome.

Fortune 1k CEOs mass for Bill Gates love-in


an article that looks like a Microsoft press release, the Wall Street
Journal (re-published by ZDNet) presents a more extensive list of
attendees. From the list it looks like government officials were less
welcome than they were last year.

Microsoft’s CEO summit draws bigwigs

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-19 15:24:42

Snippet: Hangul, Samsung and Microsoft have all
drastically dropped office productivity software prices in Korea. In
the wake of the piracy crackdown – with governmental and educational
institutions scrambling to buy licenses – Microsoft has dropped the
price of its office suite with 90%.

Earlier Samsung dropped
prices with 70% and Hangul – facing bankruptcy – to a level that is
still a fifth of Microsoft’s and a third of Samsung’s after these had
dropped prices.

Hangul & Computer Co. expressed its
willingness to file a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on
the issue, and now Ministry of Information and Communication officials
are looking into whether Microsoft violated the fair business rules for
mass market software.

From the article it seems that Microsoft
is only giving the price reductions to Korean educational and possibly
governmental institutions, Samsung was having a very low introductory
price to gain first-time users, and Hangul & Computer Co. tried to
raise cash in its near-bankruptcy that it couldn’t raise at its
original price.

Only Microsoft strongly reduced prices in a
specific market to keep it at its high levels in other markets. Sounds
like dumping to me.

BTW, I’ll happily call “college deals” a
dumping scheme. The goal of these schemes is to keep competitors from
thriving that can offer products at a significantly lower price -
perhaps of lesser quality, but still worth its money. If students are
so eager to have expensive goods then let them pay for them, not
collaborate in dumping schemes to keep competitors from finding another
price equilibrium.

Hangul & Computer Corp. to File Dumping Charge Against Microsoft

By: Case Roole
Date: 1999-05-20 09:08:10

Also see:

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