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Iowa Memos Provide a Mouthful About Novell and Microsoft

The relationship between Novell and Microsoft has never been a healthy one. Some weeks ago we mentioned the newly-leaked memos, extracted through Comes vs. Microsoft (class action at Iowa and the most recent antitrust case).

What will you get out of a little bit of browsing through thousands of document which expose Microsoft's dirty tricks? Well, for one, Novell's involvement leads to some interesting finds. So, let us dive in and explore the relationship between Microsoft and Novell in the last decade, shall we?

In some of the following memos, Novell argued that Microsoft had refused to fix bugs and even hid/excluded necessary files, APIs, and documentation. I would like to thank 'Doug Mentohl' for extracting the text from the scanned exhibits, beginning with this one:

Novell Confidential No 6665

Product and Price Change Notification

Attached a copy of the standard business and financial plans.

Originator: John Bodine Ext: 2.7082 Mailstop: ORM D-167

Type of change

X Other Patch Disk

FCS Date 7/10/95

[...]

Patch Disk for WordPerfect and PerfectOffice

The Windowes Product Marketing team, in conjunction with developement has decided to produce a and distribute a "patch" disk for both PerfectOffice and WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. To reiterate, the reason we have decided to produce a patch is to address two main concerns:

1) Win95 compatibility

2) High priority bugs

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). In both cases, the patch will be limited to one diskette.

These patch disks provide updates to WordPerfect 6.1, Presentations 3.0, and the PerfectOffice 3.0 Desktop Application Director (in the PexfectFit directory). The patch disks address key complaints that technical services and large accounts are currently receiving, such as memory leaks, Support of DOS in a network environment (DuPont, 100,000 users), ODMA problems, temp files eating up hard disk space, problems with styles, DDE link problems, and printing problems with Presentations.

In addition some known problems with running PerfectOffice 3.0 on Windows 95 have been addressed such as prompting for network ID when opened, bad title bar display, Show Me problems with Coaches, and Grammatik GPF’s.

The time line for completion of the patch disks are as follows:

6/27 - Gold master candidate released to testing-testing continues throughout weekend

7/5 - First Article candidate released to MFG.

7/6 - Manufacturing to begin duplicating disks

The disks will be available for download off our Novell home page and over our electronic bulletin board services. The disk will also be available directly, via our 800 numbers. The disks are sent out free of charge.

[...]

Tota cost for this project: $11,500.00


An example of technical sabotage and missing documentation can IBM has been referring to can be found here.

From: Richard Jones To : Internet : yvesm@microsoft.com Date: 7/21/95 9:48am subject: A couple of issues

Hi Yves,

I wanted to check that you received our Alpha 11 CD early last week. I checked with our Beta administrator and it was sent to John Ludwig.

I have one issue that was escalated to me by our messaging group concerning MAPI. Here is the message:

"My MAPI service providers that used to work in the M7 time frame (January beta) no longer seem to work. Can we get documentation on the changes that have been made to the SPls (especially transport and address book) since M7.

Thanks,

Bruce Greerublatt"

Bruce had sent this request almost a month ago to NOVSUP and has received no response. Could you help us out please?

If there are any issues you need resolved with us, please let us know.

BTW: any more news on us getting a beta copy of "Maple’?

Thanks,

Richard Jones


Here is Novell's plea for missing header files.

Below is the text of 2 messages sent previously regarding header files and libraries for implementing a Windows 95 Password Provider. To date, we have had no response, but we need this information. Can someone please respond with the information we need?

[...]

We have the 950 DDK, and in the network.doc file, located on that CD, these same constants are mentioned, as are the API's we need to implement: PPGetPasswordStatusa and PPChangePassword.

[...]

In short, we have everything but the headers and libraries to actually implement this functionality. If the constants and API's have been removed, why are they so well documented? Also, if they have been removed, how do we integrated password changes with Windows 95.


These patterns and their intent can be summed up by once again quoting Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft manager.

[Allchin:] We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger... If you're going to kill someone, there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.

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