Bonum Certa Men Certa

Billwatch Snippets Database - Part I

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

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2146359,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-07 22:36:46

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

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

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

You can find the full statement here:
http://www.aaup.org/pr102ms.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-07 23:46:37

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

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

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

(You'll need to register to gain access.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-08 21:40:46

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27313,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-08 22:19:29

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

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

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

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

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

NetAction's Nathan Newman (read his papers!) wrote an article about the matter: http://www.netaction.org/monitor/mon35.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-09 03:13:07

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

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

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

What is most notable is that more voices are heard in the press that at least something must be done. Microsoft's claims that its competitors were the driving force behind the whole antitrust case is beginning to lose its credibility.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-09 06:44:42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the article at:
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2147440,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-09 23:54:54

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

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

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

See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/msftdoj/TWB19981009S0014
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-11 17:23:59

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/076526.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 00:20:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/issue/0,4537,358663,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 10:56:10

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

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

Don't waste your time on these articles, expect if you are European and starved for news.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 21:07:02

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

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

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

See for yourself: http://www.sjmercury.com/columnists/gillmor/docs/dg101198.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 21:27:00

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

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

Anyway, see:http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2148805,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 21:43:43

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,4436,2148075,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-13 22:12:49

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

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

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctd639.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-14 21:22:20

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/043659.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-14 22:52:34

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_rc_display/0,3443,2148858,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-15 20:44:15

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

Microsoft's request for yet another delay of the trial has been denied. See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/docs/008672.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-15 21:16:11

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

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

See: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19981013S0008
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-15 21:24:19

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

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/news/0,4538,2149485,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-16 08:40:47

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

------
Gates: "We think it was a pretty obvious thing to get the browser capability built into the operating system," Gates said. We're very confident that kind of innovation is a great thing."
Observation by James Jones: "Hmm, how can something obvious be innovative?"
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-16 08:57:21

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

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

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

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

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

Updates and rectifications are invited.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-16 23:22:17

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

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

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

If you want to track what was requested in the first place, see: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f1900/1979.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-17 09:16:47

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

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

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

(Perhaps I should make a menu-button that leads to a "Mary Jo Foley" search at ZDNET.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-17 09:36:48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full editorial, see: http://www.mercurycenter.com/columnists/gillmor/docs/dg101898.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-18 15:47:24

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

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

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

So, here is my little piece of advice. Don't bother with the "middle man". Go to the sources directly, that is, the DOJ and Microsoft.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-19 19:49:59

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

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

Will the ladies and gentlemen of the press please note that - according to their own claims on OS pricing - Microsoft is charging money for this MSIE "component" instead of giving it away for free.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-19 22:51:50

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

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

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

The following Salon Magazine article touches this topic:
http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/rose/1998/10/16straight.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-19 23:01:25

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

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

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

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

Well, go find yourself some context to put the above in perspective. I got this information from: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/trial/breaking/docs/mstrial102098.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-20 22:13:27

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

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

See: http://www.sjmercury.com/business/microsoft/trial/breaking/docs/depositions102098.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-21 00:11:40

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

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

The mentioned "expected" date has meanwhile passed and it seems that the suit is indeed filed. I can't read Italian, but the following page seems quite serious about "IACT-Italia vs Microsoft": http://www.ogcs.com/iact-italia/sources/iact-ric.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-21 08:29:34

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

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

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

The Air Transport Association commented - among other points - that these online booking services compete directly with the websites of some of the airlines. Why would they raise the commission to the competition?
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-21 08:50:30

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

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

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

These guys are supposed to work for the public. File a complaint and ask that they work for you."
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-21 09:05:15

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

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

More here:
http://www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZE203195
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-21 09:07:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft's present questioning of Mr. Barksdale is not relevant to the matter for which Microsoft is in court: they have a monopoly and leveraged it to gain market share in several other markets. Nothing that Netscape did or did not do can undo that.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-23 01:18:06

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

Even in court, Microsoft's strategy to victory seems to be to give rude names to anybody who disagrees with them.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-23 08:49:35

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

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

See Mary Jo Foley's: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_rc_display/0,3443,2153066,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-24 21:38:22

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

If the government is indeed holding back Microsoft but not its competitors, Mr. Warden's own claims of the competive environment Microsoft operates in, should lead him to believe that technological development can perhaps be delayed for - supposedly slight - gap between Microsoft and its competitors, but most certainly not stopped or destroyed altogether as the claim of government Luddism implies.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-24 23:02:58

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

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

You can download it in PDF format from: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/033.pdf
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-25 15:29:59

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27849,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-25 18:26:54

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

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

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

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

For more on these topics, see: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27918,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-26 09:08:35

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2154975,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-26 21:09:42

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

See: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/9810/25/bork_intv/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-26 22:26:06

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

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

See: http://www.techweb.com/internet/profile/wrohm/interview
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-26 22:45:22

Snippet:Microsoft relegated Ms Rohm's book to the category of "fiction".

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

See: http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl?/features/981026msfile.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-27 00:34:12

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27980,00.html?st.ne.ni.lh
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-27 20:45:07

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

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

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

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

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

My source is: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,27935,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-27 21:18:04

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2155796,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-27 21:34:11

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

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

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

For the article and some interesting quotes (including a very stupid one by a Netscape executive - well, I am not here to defend Netscape but to promote competition):
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28017,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-28 09:10:12

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

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2156160,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-28 20:47:09

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

Note that several repositories of legal documents are directly available from the menu on the left. I hardly ever check Microsoft's own list, but I trust that the media will keep me up to date in that regard.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-29 00:16:31

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

Assumptions of the report are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I am not defending software piracy, I am fighting misleading information about it.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-29 11:15:44

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

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

Anyone remember Stack? There is a pattern to Microsoft's "innovation".

See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/981029-000002.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-29 21:19:03

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28136,00.html?st.ne.fd.gif.d
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-30 21:21:42

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

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

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

If you are happy enough to have GNU software installed on your system the script might do you some good too:
http://main.billwatch.net/background/fetchdoj
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-30 21:46:07

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

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

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

Incidentally, Microsoft shot back that:

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

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

I heard rumors that Microsoft dropped Encarta and the GUI library MFC for the Mac. I welcome more information about Microsoft stopping to support key content, application and development programs for these "millions of customers".
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-31 10:29:09

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

Speaking of the exhibits, I made a minor change to the "fetchdoj" script (http://main.billwatch.net/background/fetchdoj ) to make sure that the PDF files that contain the testimonies are fetched, not just the HTML pages that introduce them. A new problem is that the DOJ makes available the testimony's in parts too. Right now the script fetches both the whole and the parts. As "fetchdoj" flattens the directory structure, the links in the HTML files won't work. Anyway, I wanted to get the PDF files and I don't care much about the HTML wrappers.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-10-31 14:26:57

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

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

One of Mr. Chardon's claims was that Linux lacks a wordprocessor with on-the-fly spell-checking. The following screenshot shows how WordPerfect 8 under Linux performs exactly this task by underlining some very dirty words:
http://www.zork.net/suite.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-01 17:05:33

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

To get a better impression of Microsoft's involvement with the cable industry you are encouraged to visit "The Whole Microsoft Catalog" (http://www.vcnet.com/bms/departments/catalog.html )at "Boycott Microsoft" to get an idea of Microsoft's investments in this area.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-01 17:22:53

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

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

See: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/halloween.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-02 08:25:10

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

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

Anyway, the following article tells that showing the video is for the moment limited to those parts relevant to the Apple testimony and also includes the interesting quote from Microsoft's senior vice president Paul Maritz:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28184,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-02 20:45:33

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

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

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

(I can't keep up with the exhibits. If you happen to know the right exhibit containing this quote, please make a link to it by pressing the article button under the discussion of this item and filling in the form or mail me.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-02 23:49:08

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

Mr. Bennett introduces the excerpts with:

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

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

http://www.essential.org/listproc/am-info/msg07751.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-03 08:54:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2158717,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 09:05:36

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

See: http://208.16.54.204/index.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 09:18:32

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

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

See: http://cgi.chicago.tribune.com/tech/frontpage/0,1714,3,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 09:34:28

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

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

http://www.callaw.com/stories/alm1102.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 10:38:42

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

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

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

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

Dan Peterson has his own story about being harmed by Microsoft's company policies. You can find it at Boycott Micrososft, see:
http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/harmed.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 19:11:49

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

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

Something different, according to the now familiar pattern Microsoft is not answering to allegiations in the testimony of Apple's Tevanian, but instead launching an attack on Apple's own business practices. Interestingly, they claim that Apple wanted $1.2 billion from Microsoft in the patent-issue. Now compare this one to Mr. Gates' statement that as far as he knew the deal with Apple was about "a patent cross-license of some kind." Microsoft claims at the same time that $1.2 billion was at stake and that Gates didn't know the details. Very credible.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-04 20:03:53

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

It is also amusing to see, at the end of the article, that Microsoft's attorney Theodore Edelman made the DOJ's point for them by demonstrating to the judge just how confusing it is to a novice to change the default Internet browser. The article is at "http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/1,4586,2160108,00.html".
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-11-05 04:42:23

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28367,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-05 09:10:30

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

Here are some excerpts from his letter:

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

See: http://oreilly.com/oreilly/press/tim_msletter.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-05 09:31:40

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

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

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

I welcome links to other European newspapers having specials on Microsoft.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-05 22:21:31

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

They can both be found at http://www.opensource.org/halloween.html .
There is much here that would be interesting for technically inclined people, but the two main points of interest are the memos bring up the ideas of subverting standard Internet protocols with Microsoft-specific extensions and of making more use of copyright and patent laws. In the latter, Microsoft is accusing Linux of taking ideas from NT but this position seems the height of hypocrisy given the number of ideas Microsoft has taken from other places.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-11-05 23:34:45

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

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

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

(This somewhat reminds me of Microsoft acquisition and later selling of SoftImage, in the process the company was transformed from being SGI focused to being Windows focused. Buy a company, transform their technology to Windows and then sell them for stock to the company that is your next aim.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-06 10:00:10

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

You can get a taste of the book at "Information Rules - the website": http://www.inforules.com/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-06 10:10:51

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28465,00.html?st.ne.fd.mdh
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-07 00:01:33

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

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

You can read the annotated deposit at: http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/quicktime_compaq.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-08 15:08:00

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

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

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

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

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

A lengthy discussion of the article can be found at: http://slashdot.org/features/98/11/08/006219.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-08 15:43:38

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

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

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

(Unfortunately, an article in the Boston Globe on the Halloween papers didn't get it.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-09 11:38:17

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

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

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

See: http://www.webcmo.com/linux/report/report1.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-09 12:10:25

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

See: http://www.performancecomputing.com/opinions/unixriot/981106.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-09 12:23:20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy: http://www.mercurycenter.com/opinion/perspective/docs/antitrust08.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-10 01:49:33

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

See: http://www.linux-hw.com/~eric/fud101.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-10 08:53:29

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/981109740E
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-10 23:50:51

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

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

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

Anyway, open source protagonists sense the danger. You can read Bruce Perens' idea on countering the danger in:
http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-1998-11/lw-11-thesource.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-11 20:36:06

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

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

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

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

(I wish Microsoft's press release had contained a link to this more informative page - it would have spared me the trouble of reading the press release in the hope of finding some real meat.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-11 21:11:39

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

For an article, see: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1998/11/11feature.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-12 22:34:36

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

Well, aside from getting to know that it was McGeady who leaked the Maritz quote on cutting off Netscape's air supply to the Yew York Times, I didn't learn much from the article mentioned here, but I guess its about all there is:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28692,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-13 10:45:25

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Please let me know if you find out more about this letter.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-14 23:10:43

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?CRN19981116S0215
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-16 10:24:06

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

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

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

See: http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/noinnovation.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-16 10:41:13

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

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

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

Come to think of it, it might be nice to create a compilation of Gates' philosophical exercises in the courtroom.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-17 10:39:33

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

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

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

I have no access to court transcripts so I can't say for sure, but as only the above is presented in the press it seems to me that Microsoft simply didn't answer the issues that Mr. Weadock touched on, that is, companies would like to have a choice.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-17 22:53:49

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line is that IBM supported Web browsers in conjunction with the operating system while not forcing it on their customers. Microsoft could and should do the same. A Web browser integrated with the operating system may provide benefits, but if the operating system is ubiquitous as Windows is, it only seems fair to provide the flexibility to remove the Web browser functionality if it is not desired or to provide for integrating any arbitrary browser like Netscape if this is desired. It is clear that right now, Microsoft holds Windows users hostage to further its own agenda.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-11-18 01:37:49

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28937,00.html
or: http://www.sjmercury.com/breaking/headline1/006869.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-18 10:59:22

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

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

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

Anyway, you can find the order re: Sun's preliminary injunction at: http://java.sun.com/lawsuit/111798ruling.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-18 14:24:06

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

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

In addition to the fact that this testimony provides the economic basis for declaring Microsoft to be a monopolist and, as such, is central to the anti-trust case, this is a very readable and detailed document. It ties together a lot of the testimony and evidence seen elsewhere in the case.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-11-19 06:31:56

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

I wish the DOJ had also released the relevant excerpts of the depositions mentioned in Avadis Tevanian's testimony.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-19 09:58:39

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

See:
http://fool.com/cashking/1998/cashkingport981118.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-20 01:47:06

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

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

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

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

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/longterm/microsoft/stories/1998/microjapan112198.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-21 14:08:24

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The memo is available as an exhibit at the DOJ's site and you are very much encouraged to read it. See:
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/365.pdf
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-21 20:24:57

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

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

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

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

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

See the following memo in the government exhibits: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/343.pdf
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-22 17:20:24

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

http://transcripts.procompetition.org/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-22 18:15:42

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

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

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

See: http://www.macintouch.com/msfrontpage.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-23 10:44:30

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

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

Milton Friedman has now distanced himself from his earlier stance that an unregulated private monopoly can be a true menace and he his opposition against antitrust laws is now dogmatical. I wonder if he has looked into Microsoft's regulatory role in the industry. Anyway, his speech is mentioned in: http://www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZD2168153&pic=Y'
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-23 21:49:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.techweb.com/internet/columns/fwdthinking/fwdthinking.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-26 00:51:50

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

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

One thing I notice is that, as part of the cross-examination of Apple's Tevanian, the Microsoft lawyer claimed Tevanian did not have the background to make an expert judgement on whether Microsoft is a monopolist. In the current cross-examination of the DOJ economist Frederick Warren-Boulton, Microsoft is now claiming that he does not have the technical expertise to say whether an OS like Linux can be a real competitor or not. Tevanian never claimed to be an economist and Warren-Boulton is not claiming to be a technician. What reason is there to refute claims that were never made other than to cause a distraction and to drag the trial out further?
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-11-26 20:05:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incidentally, the only sane remark in the press that I have found on Microsofts' ridiculous contention that the deal has changed what the antitrust lawsuit is about was made by Sun's Scott McNealy: he calls it a "joke". (http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/121990.html)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-26 22:56:26

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

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

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

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

For the decent article from which I picked the data (it was written before the buyout became official), see:
http://cgi.chicago.tribune.com/tech/frontpage/0,1714,coates,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-27 01:08:11

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

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

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

See: http://www.ljx.com/newswire/stories/112498b.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-28 23:21:13

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

See: http://www.dallasnews.com/technology-nf/techbiz26.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-29 19:39:29

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

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

See: http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/monopoly.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-29 20:29:54

Snippet:The media widely distributed excerpts from Microsoft's press release "Microsoft says government should end antitrust lawsuit".

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

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

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

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

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

The following article provides some urgently needed background information on the deal: http://www5.mercurycenter.com/business/top/060057.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-11-30 01:48:25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/micr_113098.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-01 15:01:56

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

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

See: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-912462425/p_article.view
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-01 19:06:44

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

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

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

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

Read the C|Net article for the quote: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29374,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-02 00:45:36

Snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find a feature article (right now on the collapse of the government's case by the incisive questioning of Mr. Warren-Boulton by Mr. Lacovara) and a menu with links to information such as mentioned above at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-02 08:13:21

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

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

Unfortunately, I didn't find the email itself, only a report on it: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29415,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-02 08:58:11

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

Good reading.

See: http://www.news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,26685,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-03 01:25:52

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

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

See: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/12-2vaccine.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-03 01:52:13

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

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

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

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

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

On the basis of the reasons given in http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html we can now say that by Microsoft's own standards they have been "lying with statistics".
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-03 02:20:03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Perhaps Ms Foley belongs to the latter category.

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

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

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

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

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

Based on Microsoft's actions, they felt compelled to introduce an "improved" version of Java which would work best under Windows to the exclusion of Java's cross-platform goal. It may be true that Sun made mistakes which limited Java's cross-platform abilities, Sun oversold Java and even that Microsoft's Java is faster and runs more Java apps, but to bill it as "giving consumers a choice" when its explicit goal is to make Windows more attractive is not a complete accounting. After all, the Trojans were given a choice to accept an attractive wooden horse too.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-05 02:38:48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29612,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-07 23:14:43

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.procompetition.org/quizes/revenue.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-08 01:37:00

Snippet:

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

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

I understand that Microsoft claims that it should be permitted to include any software it chooses in its Windows product so long as some efficiency can be articulated as a result of the "integration" of that software into that product. But if that standard were adopted by this Court, then any application could be bundled into Microsoft's Windows product -- regardless of the ability, inherent in the nature of software described above, to achieve that efficiency without combining the applications into an ever larger bundle of software which includes not only operating system functions but operating environment functions and applications. Taken to its logical extreme, that standard would mean that Microsoft could bundle together all its existing and future applications with its current (already massive) product sold as Windows 98. Windows 98 (or whatever later version of Windows) could become the one and only universal software product, and only Microsoft could develop software for Intel-based personal computers. For example, Microsoft could next claim that, because there are some functions which overlap between Windows 98 and Microsoft's suite of applications called Office, now sold separately, those applications could be bundled into one product to achieve some "efficiency". But there is no such "efficiency" which cannot be achieved by the same separate distribution of those applications and their "integration" by an OEM or retail end user when the applications are installed (as is now the case).
Even if we grant Microsoft's notion that integrating a Web browser into the operating system produces efficiencies, why is it necessarily true that only their Web browser (Internet Explorer) can be integrated in? Dr. Gosling has mentioned in his testimony that, with a properly designed interface, any Web browser could be substituted. This would be a way that consumers could gain the "benefits of an integrated Web browser" while preserving competition in the market for Web browsers. Presumably this would also handle the case of customers who want no Web browser at all. Microsoft has already shown they can take this path (i.e. with their Java Virtual Machine on the Mac and Unix versions of Internet Explorer), but it is disappointing that it takes litigation for Microsoft to make the right decision for consumers.

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

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

Here is the complaint:
"The government and Microsoft's competitors are trying to turn this case into a PR spectacle, probably because they know they have a weak case," Charles Rule said.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Interestingly, "regulation" is suddenly orphaned.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-09 03:43:23

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

ProComp published "Who got the Microsoft money?" (http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-913161376/p_article.view) and at C|Net you can find a table with political spending of several computer and software companies (Hola, it's not in the menus any longer, seek for yourself.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-09 03:54:52

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29712,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-10 01:50:41

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-10 10:46:22

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote this on the basis of my own regular visits at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ and http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/trial and the following article:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29762,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-11 01:56:25

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

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

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

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

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

For sources see: http://www.businessweek.com/microsoft/updates/up81209a.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-11 02:42:06

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

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

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

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

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

It is noteworthy that - contrary to the previous responses - this one does not contain derigatory remarks on the witness.

As always, Microsoft is not arguing on the basis of structural analysis, but by using - inappropriate - analogies. This time the Windows/MSIE combo is not a clockradio or an AM/FM radio, but a body with an arm.

Like socialist governments, Microsoft argues that they should be the sole providers of customer demands, as the market place cannot be trusted to do so:

The Government appears to envision a world in which any computer manufacturer has the right to modify Windows source code as they please, notwithstanding copyright laws to the contrary. If the government had its way, consumers would quickly be confronted by dozens or even hundreds of incompatible versions of Windows. In effect, Windows would cease to exist, and software developers would be forced to create custom versions of their applications for each version of Windows or only make use of functionality that they believed (at their peril) would be included in all versions of Windows.

Why would customers be confronted by "hundreds of incompatible versions of Windows"? Wouldn't the market place be able to sort this out? Microsoft is claiming that unless they have the power to regulate software, chaos will result.

Compare Microsoft's present statements on "incompatible versions" of Windows with their argumentation earlier this week for introducing an "incompatible version" of java. Consistency seems to be an unknown virtue in Redmond.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-12 16:17:59

Snippet:Microsoft's exhibits consist for a large degree of articles in trade rags, e.g. to - given java's speedy development - ancient reviews of JVM's, and marketing material, such as pages from Apple's website.

The DOJ's evidence, on the other hand, focuses on communication between Microsoft's executives on the one hand, and the economical situation - by means of the testimonies of experts - on the other.

It seems to me that the DOJ is on the right track, as they seek to display the relation between actual decision making, economical power and economical effect. And that's what antitrust is all about.

Only with respect to java, did Microsoft show us about Sun's internal decision making. Admittedly, I haven't read up on the matter much. From the press I understand that Microsoft claims that Sun expected Microsoft to create a non-standard version of java because top Sun executives seem to have expected that Microsoft would write its own JVM. However, the latter doesn't preclude the former: Microsoft could have written its JVM for Windows from scratch while still adhering to the standard. However, Microsoft chose instead to wage a standards war to prevent the commoditization of the development platform.

To return to the title of this item, Mary Jo Foley wrote on the different sorts of evidence that Microsoft and the DOJ use. See: http://www.zdnet.com/sr/stories/column/0,4712,2174223,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-13 05:18:48

Snippet:The information on Microsoft's lawsuits against C|Net writer Dan Goodin, Caldera for allegedly leaking sealed documents, and two professors for having tapes with testimonies of Netscape executives that Microsoft wants to have, was all featured here at the time. Note that Microsoft sues Caldera for leaking documents that were used in Wendy Rohm's "The secret Microsoft file" while at the same time claiming that this is a work of "fiction".

Wendy Goldman Rohm presented the big picture in a most readable article published at Mercury News and Boycott Microsoft: http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/rohm.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-13 16:50:52

Snippet:Once more, Microsoft has grabbed the release of a beta product as an opportunity to discredit their competition. Earlier they generated an error message in Windows 3.1 when DR-DOS was used as underlying operating system.

This time, they ship the latest Beta of MSIE with an Outlook Express version that discards Blue Mountain greeting cards. What coincidence that this happens just when Microsoft has entered the market for greeting cards itself.

You can find the full complaint here: http://www.bluemountain.com/home/bluemountain_vs_Microsoft.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-13 20:54:36

Snippet:For once, Microsoft had to find in court that the construction of analogies can be done in various ways, not necessarily positive to them. Mr. Felten compared MSIE with a "screwdriver". It might well be useful, but that is insufficient reason to glue it to one's hand.

Felten wrote a program to disentangle MSIE functionality from Windows98. Not good enough, according to Microsoft as what matters is not functionality, but specific lines of code.

The MSIE-less version of Windows98 that Felten created worked fine according to this statement. Under cross-examination Felten was asked to confirm that Microsoft's special Windows update site didn't work with the MSIE-less version. Felten's answer was that actually it did work, except for a short period in December when the site was changed, something that Felten could work around in his fix. Could Microsoft have prepared itself for this cross-examination by changing the functionality of their update site?

See Will Rodger's: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2175958,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-15 10:03:19

Snippet:After their long fight to obtain the original interview tapes and transcripts from academic authors David Yoffee and Michael Cusumano, an Appeals Court denied Microsoft access to these resources.

This is quite relevant as it supports the idea that academic research doesn't have to pass its sources on to some interested and dominant party.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29968,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-16 04:32:02

Snippet:Goldtouch alleges that it to have Microsoft license its ergonomic mouse design. A year later Microsoft brought out its "own" ergonomic mouse, closely resembling that of Goldtouch, thereby allegedly infringing Goldtouch's (pending) patent.

You can read GoldTouch's press release - including pictures of the respective mice - here: http://www.goldtouch.com/media/rel121598.htm

The original complaint is here: http://www.goldtouch.com/media/complaint.htm

At first sight, the case somewhat resembles that of Microsoft's "using" of the design of Go's pen-based operating system. A highly significant difference here is that Goldtouch claims only to have had a single two hour meeting with Microsoft. A rather small basis for a damage claim of $1 billion.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-16 14:19:50

Snippet:

Here is a brief article on the upcoming Microsoft anti-trust trial testimony of an Intuit executive:

http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29982,00.html

Enforcing evidence heard from companies such as Apple, AT&T, AOL and Disney, Microsoft once again leans on a partner to exclude support for a competing product. Windows desktop placement is a powerful motivator even to a party like Disney who otherwise would be technologically agnostic. Microsoft attempts to defend itself in the usual spot but neglects to mention that Disney is not free to promote material it develops for Netscape.

Update: A more complete account of the Intuit testimony with references to DOJ exhibits can be found here.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-16 17:09:25

Snippet:Not be be confused with Mitch Stone's "Boycott Micro$oft" site, Matt Welsh recently set up a "Boycott Microsoft" site in his home directory at UCB.

Emphasis of the site is to keep the world open for alternatives, especially of the open source variation. You are encouraged to read his essay on the dangers of Microsoft technology to get a better idea of Matt's motives.

If Matt can do for this site what he did for Linux documentation much can be expected :-). Hm, I'll start thinking about "sharing" information.

See: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~mdw/boycott/
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-17 01:51:40

Snippet:Microsoft held out pretty long in not accepting the tcp/ip networking protocol of the Internet. When the Internet took off without them, they were simply forced to follow.

Such a situation does not apply to java. Where tcp/ip was established and supported by vendors of servers - that Microsoft couldn't yet deplace - java is a standard that is still to be developed and it doesn't have the protection of an already existing and difficult to remove environment with very strong "network effects".

Java cannot replace Windows - so it is no competitor despite what the media tell you. However, it could lift a major development platform out of Microsoft's control so that competiting operating systems can co-exist with Windows. This co-existence would imply a commoditization of the OS and thereby drive the prices down.

For this reason, to use their own words, Microsoft sought to "undermine", "piss on" and "steal" the java language, just as they considered themselves to be engaged in a "jihad" against Netscape.

The destruction of any form of standards is a standing strategic rule in Redmond. Their market position is their main weapon to further control the otherwise unarmed software industry, and any court rule that has the effect of curbing that power will be fought tooth and nail.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30023,00.html?st.ne.lh..ni

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-17 10:11:38

Snippet:Apparently, Microsoft got a break from Judge Jackson when he allowed their attorneys access to confidential information the DOJ has on the AOL-Netscape deal. In reality, the judge is only being fair. I am somewhat curious about what may come of this, but I am also certain that if we hear no more about it, then there is no substance to Microsoft's assertion that this deal "proves there is vigorous competition in the software industry." Otherwise, Microsoft will surely trumpet its findings loudly.

Apart from fairness and amusement value, it is hard to see what effect the deal actually has on the anti-trust case. After all, AOL-Netscape still does not change the fact that Microsoft has, for no legitimate reason, hard-wired their Internet Explorer Web brwoser to their monopoly Windows operating system and that this harms consumers by forcing those who choose Netscape to carry an unwanted browser on their system.

Story of the judge's ruling is here: http://chicagotribune.com/business/businessnews/ws/item/0,1267,8297-8298-20272,00.html
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-17 16:56:51

Snippet:I found it an interesting idea that Intuit might have agreed to sell out to Microsoft in 1994 because it feared that Microsoft might bundle an alternative product with Windows. This was expected to do to Intuit what we have now seen happening to Netscape.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,29982,00.html?st.ne.ni.rel
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-18 22:15:21

Snippet:While all bugs would be harmful for those producing them in a market situation with many competing vendors, they can serve as a powerful deterrent to market entry in the hands of a monopolist.

Microsoft's knowledge monopoly over Windows makes it possible for them to use bugs against competitors. Also, it locks people into their technology: if you have a problem, nobody can help you but Microsoft. This might not be much of a problem for the US senate - when a Microsoft bug brings down their mail system, they'll get help on short notice. However, less conspicuous consumers won't receive such first class support.

Due to Microsoft's monopoly, ISV's cannot escape from Microsoft's power once they have accepted it's operating system as a standard. If one doesn't like Sun's implementation of the java standard, one can find another vendor, such as HP, Microsoft or even the open source (TM) kaffe JVM. No alternative implementations exist of what Microsoft calls the "Windows standard". The result of this is that Microsoft can selectively use their implementation as a weapon against competitors that write applications on top of the operating system. This is something that Sun can't do with java.

For this reason it is appropriate to call selective bugs and lack of support from Microsoft "sabotage". You can find a list of such events here: http://www.procompetition.org/xp/p-headlines/i-current/a-913843401/p_article.view
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-18 22:58:03

Snippet:Who can better speak on the topic of browser integration than the person responsible for Internet technology at Microsoft at the time? Philip Barrett testified that no work got underway on the integration of the browser in the period between april 1994 and september 1994, after which he left.

The excerpts of his testimony is rather length and if you want to jump to the cheesiest bits directly, they start at page 16. See: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/barrett1.pdf

A media packaged account of the testimony can be found at: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/micr_121798.html



By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-18 23:44:47

Snippet:Did you believe Microsoft when it told you that they are going to comply within the demanded 90 days with the injunction resulting from the java lawsuit? Foolish.

It is to Microsoft's advantage to perpretrate their present behavior while waiting for the follow-up in an Appeal's Court. Now they asked for 120 days instead of 90. How long are they going to stall compliance?

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30146,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-19 12:09:39

Snippet:You thought it could help to write letters to the DOJ and to Microsoft? So far 2,286 messages have been received by the DOJ and ten times as many by Microsoft. The letters to the DOJ are in support of its action almost 3 to 1, while those to Microsoft are 75% positive for the company (hey, that's also a rate of 3 to 1).

Note that the DOJ had to make the emails it received public under the Freedom of Information Act, and it released a CD-Rom containing them.

Thus the DOJ is in no position to diminish the value of negative letters they receive.

Things are different in Redmond. The 75% positive message are called a "vast majority" by Microsoft spokesperson Adam Sohns. He continues that "Sometimes we get mail from people who want to register negative opinions" and doing some arithmetic this "sometimes" refers to 1 out of 4 cases (compare with "sometimes my computer crashes). Given that the relative numbers are the same, we could say by Microsoft's standards that "By and large the vast majority of the emails to the DOJ is positive" and that only "sometimes [the DOJ gets] mail from people who want to register negative opinions".

Not only does Microsoft belittle the number of people writing to them to "register negative opinions", also they belittle what is actually written to them. Mr. Sohn continued his sentence thus - the first part included once more: "sometimes we get mail from people who want to register negative opinions, but that is the beauty of the Internet." I am familiar with the value of the freedom of speech for a democratic society and that long preceded the Internet. Microsoft is merely getting rid of the responsibility to take critics seriously by changing the topic to aesthetics. Perhaps they "listen to customers", but they make very plain they don't and won't listen to critics.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30123,00.html

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-19 12:35:19

Snippet:What political interest has Encyclopaedia Brittanica? Perhaps its editors have personal preferences and most likely they also want to prevent too much divergence with prevalent opinion. But otherwise, the answer to the question is "None".

This is different with Microsoft. In the past and in the present the company has sought to control other companies (by using its monopoly power to force them), politicians (by buying them - which is called "campaign contributions"), and the public (by buying up or partnering with media organizations (I wonder what "leverage" Microsoft's enormous advertising budget gave and gives them over content), by amassing an enormous wealth of information about persons (through software registration and buying companies that have marketing information - FireFly, LinkExchange), and by massive propaganda campaigns).

Microsoft's problem is that sooner or later misrepresentation is going to be brought to light by comparing present statements with history. To undercut this, Microsoft seeks to control history by rewriting it in their publications Encarta and Bookshelf.

Whereas Encyclopaedia Brittanica has little to gain from rewriting history in its own image, Microsoft has. For one thing, Microsoft's version of history contains a hagiography of the Chairman, something not uncommon in political systems where history is written by those in power. For another, the technological exploits of Microsoft are described in much detail upto halfway 1998, whereas those of other companies in the same business that Microsoft claims to be formidable opponents, simply stops in 1993. And this is what the public uses as reference material and what children are taught with in schools.

It strikes me as incredible that people can still hail computing technology as a way to free themselves from central power. Instead of looking up at their teacher, schoolkids nowadays look at their screens. Whereas there are teachers of many denominations, the content of the information on their screens is more and more limited to one source: Redmond.

Well, perhaps you'll enjoy Karlin Lillington's article published in Salon Magazine better than my hasty editorial. See: http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-19 14:17:37

Snippet:Visitors of ZDNet and MSNBC "talk-back" sections of articles on Microsoft's monopoly might well have come across one or more comments of Lewis A. Mettler, Esq.

You can find his website on the Microsoft matter at: http://www.lamlaw.com/ It seems to me that his editorials much resemble those that you find at Billwatch.

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-20 21:36:46

Snippet:Just some thoughts on reading an article here.

Did you think economical laws amounted to anything? They say: if there is a market economy with free entry, high profit levels will be driven down by new entries. Why doesn't this happen with Microsoft? Eh, well, because people at Microsoft are extremely intelligent, all with an IQ of at least 130 and they are so eager to work that thet sleep under their desks. What should strike anyone as strange is that people are supposed to be less intelligent outside Microsoft than inside the company, work less hard outside the company, and these extremely intelligent people working at Microsoft don't leave the company to start for themselves to make even higher profits by competing with Microsoft. And why don't we see the same phenomenon in other industries? The account so popular with Microsoft employees might be satisfactory to their own vanity, but it isn't as the explanation of an economical phenomenon.

Another item of thought is that Microsoft employees eagerly point to smaller companies to say that these are most willing to act as brutally as Microsoft does. Others lack the power that Microsoft has, but according to Microsoft's employees they should be considered to be just as mean. Of course, what these 130 IQ thinktanks at Microsoft don't tell us is that the point is not "who is mean?", but "who does what to what effect?" Normally, one would explain such misrepresentation as incompetence. However, given that Microsoft employees claim to be extremely intelligent, I am prepared to attribute it to an immoral attitude that allows them to act in wilfull deception.

You can get a belly-full at: http://spyglass1.sjmercury.com/breaking/docs/000384.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-20 22:47:29

Snippet:Although Mr. Oliver doesn't tell us anything new, I appreciate hearing the arguments coming from a person with a certain stature.

See: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/355/oped/No_monopoly_for_Microsoft+.shtml
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-22 01:43:06

Snippet:

Microsoft does not possess monopoly power in the server market as of yet, but interestingly the government is closely eying their pricing practices for Windows NT. Specifically, there is a product called "Windows Terminal Server" which was originally developed by a Florida-based company called Citrix. Citrix's market got a bit too lucrative, Microsoft threatened to bundle a rival version of their product with Windows NT and, for now, Microsoft gets a cut on each Citrix sale of "Windows Terminal Server". The discrimatory pricing comes in where Microsoft adds a fee for those who want to use "Windows Terminal Server" but have clients which do not run Windows NT. Microsoft is once again innovating as they do best.

Details are here:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/cte029.htm
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-22 06:02:38

Snippet:"Judge Robert Baines of Santa Clara County Superior Court ordered the software giant to work with Blue Mountain Arts so its electronic greeting cards pass through spam filters found in Microsoft's new Internet Explorer browser. The filters, which must be switched on, are intended to block junk email."

Indeed quite different from the original claims made by Blue Mountain, but perhaps such exageration is necessary nowadays to be heard.

See: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,30205,00.html




By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-22 10:56:57

Snippet:Microsoft's statistical mis-representation of prices of operating systems was discussed here earlier in http://main.billwatch.net/annotated/price_critics.html

One of the mis-represented parties was Be Computers. Recently, Microsoft claimed that non-Microsoft operating systems are pre-loaded by major OEM's. Thus they claimed that Dell pre-loaded Linux (but forgot to mention that payment for a Windows NT license is included in Dell's price of Linux) and that Gateway pre-loads BeOS.

Be Product Marketing Manager Michael Alderete finds fault and responds: http://lists.essential.org/am-info/msg07416.html

Is this how Microsoft "sets the record straight"? Another dent in their credibility.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-23 01:04:51

Snippet:This article pretty much sums up what Microsoft is all about nowadays: http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/1998/rulemaker981221.htm
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-23 11:07:47


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