04.10.07

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Novell and Microsoft E-mails: More Blasts from the Past

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Law, Microsoft, Novell at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As you may recall, the Comes vs Microsoft lawsuit never truly ended. This class-action case, which took place in Iowa, reached a settlement last year. The terms of the agreements were never disclosed and the Web site which contained court exhibits was immediately shut down. Reminds you of anything? It just might.

In May 2004, Judge J. Frederick Motz ordered Microsoft to investigate Burst.com’s claim that, in 2000, Allchin ordered Microsoft employees to destroy email after 30 days and not to archive their email, suggesting that this deletion policy might be an effort to eliminate material that would later be damaging in court. This case was settled out of court in March 2005, with Microsoft agreeing to pay Burst.com $60 million for nonexclusive rights to Burst.com’s media player software.

Why is Microsoft so afraid of E-mail retention? Read on.

The heap of antitrust exhibits remains largely unexplored. However, it is available in torrent form and it has even earned a home in a few mirrors. I took some time to fetch a couple of interesting E-mails which involve Novell and Microsoft. Judge for yourselves, based on Exhibit PX02839 [PDF].

[Microsoft:] “Company [Novell] will adhere to the following user interface guidelines: If the user interface is HTML based, Internet Explorer 4.0 must be set as the default browser… If the application is written in Java, the Microsoft Virtual Machine for Java will be the default VM, and AFC will be used for UI elements.”

For context, Microsoft sought to extend Java the ‘Microsoft way’. It also viciously fought Netscape, as the following video shows. Let it just remind you.

Finally, here is another nugget of information, from Exhibit PX02350 [PDF].

[Novell:] “It should be noted that these bugs, for the most part, are not problems with our software (the Win95 bugs are problems we addressed with Microsoft which they refused to fix).”

Microsoft refusing to fix bugs and leaving the burden for others to cope with? It is almost as severe as technical sabotage, which can be demonstrated using some other E-mails and memos (even Novell was a victim). It does make you wonder, does it not? Perhaps Novell should rethink its relationship with Microsoft.

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3 Comments

  1. gpl1 said,

    June 19, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Gravatar

    Roxann Conlin talked about how she believes spoliation (destruction of evidence) took place in Comes v. Microsoft and other Microsoft antitrust cases (some still ongoing):


    Once a company is sued or thinks it

    18 might get sued, if there’s a reasonable

    19 likelihood that it’s going to get sued, it

    20 needs to stop destroying documents and keep

    21 ones that are relevant to the lawsuit.

    22 You can see how this makes sense. If

    23 there wasn’t such a rule, parties would have an

    24 incentive to destroy or lose evidence that

    25 could hurt them at a trial.

    ….

    8 For some important topics and for some

    9 important people and for some important events,

    10 there are few, if any, E-mails.

    11 For many of these important topics and

    12 events, there should be many documents, and

    13 there are not.

    14 For some key people at Microsoft

    15 deeply involved in various things that are of

    16 importance, there are very few documents.

    17 We will prove that executives at the

    18 highest level of Microsoft intentionally

    19 destroyed evidence relevant to the claims in

    20 this case.

    ….

    1 All of the documents that were

    2 produced, or should have been produced, in the

    3 government cases and in some other cases such

    4 as the DRI and Netscape, Sun, they were also

    5 supposed to be given to us in this case. The

    6 conduct at issue in those cases is at issue in

    7 this case.

    ….
    9 Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO,

    10 deletes both incoming and outgoing E-mail.

    11 Several months after Microsoft filed a

    12 trademark lawsuit, Microsoft filed a lawsuit

    13 against the manufacturer of a competing

    14 operating system called Lindows.

    15 Mr. Ballmer engages in an E-mail

    16 discussion with Bill Gates about the Lindows

    17 operating system and also receives an E-mail

    18 from Mr. Allchin about the competing product of

    19 all the E-mails he has sent and received.

    20 He has a total of about 35 left on his

    21 computer on the date of his deposition in this

    22 Lindows case, but none of them are about

    23 Lindows.
    ….
    7 You will see that E-mails are

    8 deliberately and permanently erased from Bill

    9 Gates’ computer. Deleting E-mails is quite

    10 literally in the job description of Mr. Gates’

    11 technical assistant.

    Also, here’s another site that has some descriptions of some things from Comes, which can be a little easier to dive through: http://www.os2site.com/sw/info/comes/index.html “OS2 Site – Info – Comes Vs Microsoft”

  2. gpl1 said,

    June 19, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Gravatar

    Forgot to mention the document name for that Comes document: VolumeXIV-December82006.txt

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 19, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Have a look at Wikipedia. A lot has been said about the habit of deleting mail, which says a lot about ethics.

    “In May 2004, Judge J. Frederick Motz ordered Microsoft to investigate Burst.com’s claim that, in 2000, Allchin ordered Microsoft employees to destroy email after 30 days and not to archive their email, suggesting that this deletion policy might be an effort to eliminate material that would later be damaging in court. This case was settled out of court in March 2005, with Microsoft agreeing to pay Burst.com $60 million for nonexclusive rights to Burst.com’s media player software.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Allchin

    I have had other long discussions about this and there is further evidence that employees are forced (as a matter of policy) to delete mail or have it deleted unless they keep it apart from their main boxes.

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