Bonum Certa Men Certa

Billwatch Snippets Database - Part II

Snippet:Apparently, the DOJ is not on holiday just yet. They wish to re-interview Microsoft executive Jim Allchin over his sworn testimony given in September 1998. In it, he claims that he can make no representation as to whether Edward Felten's program really does remove Internet Explorer 4 from Windows 98 because the testing was incomplete. However, his testimony is dated after the date given with Microsoft's test results. Story is here:,4,30272,00.html?

Predictably, Microsoft claims their tests show Felten's program does not completely remove Internet Explorer and does not work properly. But, the point of Felten's program is not to completely remove Internet Explorer, but only to show that Internet Explorer can be disabled or replaced by another Web browser with no adverse effect on the non-Web browsing portion of Windows 98. Felten's program started mal-functioning only after Microsoft got a copy of it. Microsoft's testimony about the functionality Felten's program is perhaps technically correct but incomplete and highly misleading. So why did Allchin decline to engage in this particular word game? Stay tuned ...
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-24 02:24:52

Snippet:The South-Carolina Republican party received $20,000 - one of their largest contributions - from Microsoft, a company located at the other side of the country.

Sometime thereafter the South Carolinan Attorney General Charlie Condon dropped the case against Microsoft, giving as reason that the Netscape/AOL merger proves that competition exists for the Internet.

Unfortunately for the credibility of Mr. Condon and the South Carolina Republican party, the antitrust lawsuit is about abusing monopoly power to enter a new market. Showing that there are (large) competitors in this new market can not possibly show that no monopoly in another market is abused to gain marketshare in the new one. Not only is Mr. Condon wrong for the mentioned reason, also he is quite literally rehashing Microsoft's press-releases on the AOL/Netscape matter, which - given Microsoft's large campaign contribution - makes the integrity of his decision suspect.

An article on the matter:

You can track individual campaign contributions at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-29 03:49:49

Snippet:A Red Herring magazine article entitled "Standing Up to Microsoft" has an interesting interview with Harvard Business School professor . This is one of the authors of the book "Competing on Internet Time: Lessons from Netscape and Its Battle with Microsoft" who went to court to protect their confidential sources at Netscape from being used for Microsoft's anti-trust defence.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1998-12-30 01:36:01

Snippet:as "Vaporware of the Year".

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-30 12:08:01

Snippet:I can't make much of this news item at but consider it weird enough to be of interest.

Here's how Gates is alleged to use actors to polish his public image:

Update: The above article was written on the basis of an article in The Guardian. You can find a transcript here:

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-30 14:24:01

Snippet:Ridiculing their own criteria for factuality, Microsoft claims in their response to William Harris' testimony that the only "fact" in 50 pages is that "Intuit wishes to use its testimony as an attempt to circumvent competition in the marketplace by using the government and the courts against Microsoft". No doubt this "wish" is not made explicit, so by their own admission, Microsoft must have concluded the factuality of the wish from 50 pages that contain no facts.

Remember that these are the criteria by which Microsoft makes its statements the next time you read anything from them about "cold hard facts" or "setting the record straight".

Of course, for anyone who attempts to interpret Microsoft's statement about Intuit's "wish", it will be hard to imagine *how* Intuit can "circumvent competition in the marketplace" by seeking to achieve "operating system neutrality".

Those who have been around for some time will remember Microsoft's ancient claim of having a "Chinese Wall" between the OS and application divisions. Microsoft dropped the claim when it became too obvious that it wasn't true. Now that Mr. Harris seeks to revive something along this line, Microsoft rewrites history by analysing part of the testimony as containing an "entirely new and irrelevant concept Mr. Harris cooked up on his own - "operating system neutrality." Surely, they are giving too much credit to Mr. Harris.

As is customary in Microsoft's responses you will also find the usual self-congratulatory remarks and the ad hominem attacks. When you read the response you will note that Microsoft does not state what is is reacting against, only that it is "vague", "rampant speculation", "not focused on facts", and given by a witness who really shouldn't be heard as he is "neither an attorney, a software developer, nor an economist".

As with "factuality", Microsoft's criteria of "clarity" are very loose. When reading the following citation, you should ask yourself the question HOW?

"It's clear from this testimony that Intuit wants the government to repeal the laws of competition for Intuit. As the dominant manufacturer for personal finance, tax and small business accounting software, Intuit apparently wants the government to guarantee it a permanent lead in the marketplace without actually competing."

You can find the response at:

Update: William Harris' testimony is now available at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-30 21:00:24

Snippet:Isn't (Norwegian) Opera the victim of dumping of both Microsoft and Netscape? And what has trans-Atlantic politics got to do with it?

By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-31 00:21:36

Snippet:Once in a while, less often than I wish, I take up a book with culture criticism. This month I read Neil Postman's "Technopoly".

I won't treat you to a review, but restrict myself to a few citations. Mr. Postman writes on "knowledge monopolies":

"Those who have control over the workings of a particular technology accumulate power and inevitably form a kind of conspiracy against those who have no access to the specialized knowledge made available by the technology."

This aptly describes Microsoft's control over Windows, something that is growing both horizontally and vertically. Today Microsoft cashes in some 55 percent of all revenues made by public companies in the software industry and this percentage is steadily growing.

Mr. Postman emphasises the power of technology over our lives as something anonymous, something not unlike conventions. However, the "knowledge monopoly" in the software industry is radically different. Here we do not find uncontrollable conventions, but centrally given directives.

Two more quotes:
"Those who cultivate competence in the use of a new technology become an elite group that are granted undeserved authority and prestige by those who have no such competence."

"As for change brought on by technology, this native optimism is exploited by entrepreneurs, who work hard to infuse the population with a unity of improbable hope, for they know that it is economically unwise to reveal the price to be paid for technological change."

I am not against technology per se, but if the adoption of certain technology is to imply the replacement of what could be a competitive market with a centrally controlled system, I will resist it.
By:Case Roole
Date:1998-12-31 20:25:27

Snippet:Both Bristol's request for a preliminary injunction, and Microsoft's request to throw out the case altogether were rejected in the 30 December 1998 ruling of federal judge Janet C. Hall.

Microsoft's press release emphasizes the rejection of the preliminary injunction and ignores that the judge also ruled on Microsoft's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment, with a judgment that "The court DENIES the defendant's Motion in its entirety."

Of course, ignoring this element of the case makes it simpler for Microsoft to refer to their press release as: "Microsoft Wins Preliminary Decision in Bristol Lawsuit".

Microsoft's press release does not even mention that their own motion was denied. This information would throw a different light on their claims that: "The Court found that Bristol had not shown a clear likelihood of success on the merits of any of its fourteen claims. In its court papers and after five days of testimony Bristol failed to establish any factual or legal grounds for its radical claims."


"Microsoft looks forward to presenting a powerful case in defending itself against Bristol's baseless allegations."

Given that the ruling is known in Redmond, I conclude that Microsoft seeks to misrepresent the ruling to the public. By ignoring part of the information they reach conclusions that would be invalid when all the information were considered.

We find thus that we can not trust Microsoft with regard to representing all relevant information and including it in the reasoning that leads to their conclusions. This is a dent in their credibility.

Aside from ignoring part of the relevant information, Microsoft seeks to win acclaim by using strong language instead of arguing:

"Throughout this case, it has been clear to Microsoft that this litigation was an effort by a company to use a lawsuit and a long-planned public relations campaign to try to gain better terms in its contract negotiations with Microsoft." - Steve Aeschbacher, senior corporate attorney, Microsoft.

"Bristol elected to sue, not do business. We have offered Bristol contract terms like those agreed to by Bristol's principal competitor, Mainsoft."

Note that Mainsoft is the Microsoft partner that created the tools for porting MSIE to Solaris. Perhaps I missed it, but I have seen no support for Microsoft's claim that Bristol was "offered contract terms like those agreed to by Mainsoft". Given the combination of Microsoft's low credibility and the fact that Mainsoft is a Microsoft partner, I see no reason to believe this claim before I have seen the evidence.

You can find Bristol's press release here:

You can find Microsoft's press release here:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-04 15:12:05

Snippet:During the last couple of days I have been thinking about making Billwatch more effective. Given that I work some 55 hours a week, I have limited time left for the site so I have to make choices.

The previous item on the ruling and the press releases in the Microsoft-Bristol case represents my idea of what this site is all about. I'd rather present only one such item in three days, than refer to "hot" news in the media three times a day.

Expect my postings on billwatch to become less frequent but not less fierce.

But then, here's a link to a Mary Jo Foley article at ZDNet about which I have little to say, but which may interest you:,4586,2181525,00.html

Of course, Roy has his own agenda wrt his postings here.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-05 01:34:44

Snippet:You can find Franklin M. Fisher's 111 page testimony at:

Microsoft's response is at:

This reply is introduced as:
"Economist's testimony ignores the economic realities of the marketplace, contradicts his previous writings on antitrust, and relies on out-of-context information and hearsay."

From the contents I'd say that Mr. Fisher's testimony pretty much sums up the other testimony that was presented so far and places it in the economical framework in which antitrust matters are to be discussed.

I will comment on the testimony and the reply as soon as I have read those voluminous pieces.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-05 19:43:38

Snippet:All in all, Billwatch has been down for some six days during the last two weeks. I do not know what causes the problem, but if the advice of my local UNIX guru is correct, the machine on which the site resides should now at least reboot when it has a problem, instead of merely hanging until I get access to the cellar.

I apologise to all readers for this inconvenience.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-05 20:28:51

Snippet:After a call by the Chairman personally, guaranteeing not having to speak the party line, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Laboratory for Computer Science, agreed to appear in court as a technical expert giving testimony for Microsoft.

However, two weeks after his deposit, he was quietly dropped from the witness list. Microsoft claims that the reason is that the government altered its focus. Businessweek suggests that it might have to do with Mr. Kertouzos' nasty tendency to call a browser an "application" and generally an "independent" stance.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-06 01:17:16

Snippet:In this story at,4,30560,00.html

Intuit CEO William Harris admits that Intuit probably would have chosen Ineternet Explorer over Netscape on the merits. Predictably, Microsoft overgeneralises and says this proves the DOJ's case has no merit. The implication is that every Indepedent Software Vendor would have concluded that IE is the superior browser. If this were true, then no restrictions on dealing with Netscape would have been necessary and Microsoft could truly show the world that they put no obstacles to a consumer or ISV who happens to choose "inferior technology." Or do they perhaps have a bit too much experience with the success of the technically inferior Windows operating system?
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-06 07:40:08

Snippet:Sorry folks, but the machine on which Billwatch runs seems to be beset with problems. I had hoped to have a solution, but as such things go, I should have waited to see it work before postings that things were probably solved.

It now seems that there is a persistent hardware problem. Fortunately, I will have a couple of days off from work, so I will have time to find a solution. Most likely, I will once more maintain a static site on another machine.

Keep the faith.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-06 16:03:52

Snippet:It is about time for my yearly hardware update so I looked around for bargains. My eyes fell on a computer with the following specifications: AMD K6-II cpu 333 Mhz, 2.5 Gb ultra-ATA HDD 5.4 rpm, 32 MB SRAM, S3 ViRGE 4 MB PCI, Intel 430 TX chipset, Miditower ATX chassis, MS Windows 98, and a 14'' monitor.

The list price is Dfl 1375.- (where $1 is about Dfl 2). My dealer would take off Dfl 189.- if I would take the system without Windows98. Thus Windows makes up over 13% of the cost of the PC.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-07 02:47:13

Snippet:After most of the media and one general attorney uncritically accepted Microsoft's claims on the relevance of the AOL/Netscape merger for the trial, it is refreshing see a sign of critical thinking.

This article "explains" Judge Jackson's moment of weakness in accepting Microsoft's account. (I don't like such attributions, not from Microsoft and not from the Washington Post.) What is interesting is that the Judge seemed to have referred to the article in court and suggested that the lawyers of both parties take it to heart.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-07 13:32:17

Snippet:You can find the latest transcript fragment of the Chairman's testimony at:

Even though he was shown to have been informed on the status of affairs, the man presently knows nothing about any controversial action of Microsoft. What's he doing in that chair?

You can get a sample of Mr. Gates' testimony at The Register:

PS. I am not generally interested in US politics, but I find it noteworthy, to say the least, that American Republican politicians find so much fault with Mr. Clinton's testimony while being so eager to defend the Chairman and his cronies. Given the similarities in the relation between statement and fact in both cases, it seems to me that Republican politicians apply different standards to different persons. My conclusion is that their "standards" don't amount to much.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-07 23:41:05

Snippet:MIT economist Franklin Fisher is winding up his testimony, with closed-door testimony with confidential OEM pricing to be given on Monday. Story is here:,1051,SAV-9901080309,00.html

I note at the end of the article, there is reference to a survey given which indicates most consumers feel that Microsoft is good for consumers and the anti-trust suit was brought only to help some of Microsoft's competitors. At least the latter is true, since by helping some competitors, the principle of marketplace competition is upheld and consumers are better served. In any case, the spin of this survey is suspicious and it is interesting to note the Microsoft spokesperson displays confusion about whether the survey received funding from Microsoft.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-08 16:21:13

Snippet:To evaluate the value of their poll, it isn't relevant that the CSEF appears to be a Microsoft partner, given the links to MSIE and MS Frontpage on their home page.

Also, it doesn't matter that they seem to be quite biased, as is indicated by the fact that their research director, Wayne T. Brough wrote an article "Microsoft and Monopoly" that seems to be more closely related with Microsoft's press releases than with Microsoft's actions. See:

What does matter is what they tell us about the preferences of those that are polled.

I won't comment on CSEF's press release extensively, but here are some things to watch out for.
  • No reference is made to the questions asked. Results can easily be biased by giving only certain options or only asking certain questions. Another tool to influence the outcome of a poll is to suggest answers by using suggestive introductions.
  • The press release contains no real poll results, only interpretations of poll results. And these interpretations are mixed with comments from CSEF executives. An example is: "Four out of five Americans polled (81%) believe Microsoft is good for consumers. The government is just wasting taxpayer dollars pursuing a case that the court of appeals has already rejected." Only the first sentence has something to do with the poll, the second is a comment from CSEF's executive vice president. Through concatenation it is suggested that the comment is endorsed by the earlier mentioned 81% of the polled Americans.

By replacing the actual poll results by their own interpretations and comments, the CSEF people display very little respect for the opinions of those they have polled.

You can find the press release about the poll here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-08 20:53:30

Snippet:The following article:,4586,2184567,00.html

dexcribes some negotiations between AT&T and Microsoft for the purchase of, among other things, Microsoft Network. AT&T apparently is not interested in the purchase at this time, but Microsoft claims talks are ongoing. And what if this deal does go through? You can bet that Microsoft will loudly cry that this changes everything and the DOJ should drop the anti-trust case.

But, even more than the AOL-Netscape-Sun deal, an AT&T acquisition of Microsoft Network has no bearing on either Microsoft's operating system monopoly or on the predatory conduct Microsoft uses to maintain and extend that monopoly. In fact, the divesture would strengthen Microsoft since MSN is not yet profitable. It appears to be another desperate attempt by Microsoft to create a distraction in hopes of diminishing the DOJ's strong anti-trust case.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-08 21:08:53

Snippet:Mostly based on Joachim's Kempin's famous memo to Bill Gates - trial deposit 365: - several consumers organizations wrote a report on Microsoft's pricing and relate this to its monopoly position. The report, "THE CONSUMER COST OF THE MICROSOFT MONOPOLY: $10 BILLION OF OVERCHARGES AND COUNTING", is pretty much a heavily annotated version of Joachim Kempin's memo to the Chairman. Kempin is Microsoft's senior vice-president of OEM sales, which makes him the highest authority on this subject.

The organizations are: Consumer Federation of America, Media Access Project, US Public Interest Research Group. The report can be found at the website of Consumer Project Technology, at:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-09 02:53:11

Snippet:Nowadays Microsoft spokespersons are eager to tell the public that the "economics of network effects" is at best misguided. Another popular item with them is that market dominance is transient as a result of fast moving technology.

Things were different in Redmond when the Chairman wrote his auto-hagiography "The Road Ahead". In that book the successes of Microsoft are explained by "positive-feedback effects", while IBM's loss of market power is claimed to be caused by the egalitarian effect of other companies being able to adhere to the same standards by buying the crucial components from Microsoft and Intel. Interestingly, companies that sought to compete with IBM on technological merits are chastised as they didn't adhere to the all-important standard.

The difference between IBM then and Microsoft today is that IBM had "compatible" competition, whereas Microsoft hasn't. The fast movement of technology wasn't what broke IBM's monopoly power. What broke it was that IBM adhered to standards that were open to other companies.

The Chairman understands this, and that explains why he forbids his crews to adhere to any standards that are open to other parties.

Here are some quotes from "The Road Ahead" with my annotation:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-09 22:45:06

Snippet:Perhaps Microsoft employees can tell their superiors of irregularities, but doing so by a means that is traceable by the government is not appreciated. This is what chief of internal audits Charlie Pancerzewski did by e-mailing to his superiors CFO Mike Brown and chief operating officer Bob Herbold.

Mike Brown wrote to Pancerzewski: "[I]f you disclose any confidential issues in a non privileged context, you will be doing the Company a great disservice. All of the audit reports you have created so far would generally be discoverable in the US . . . and could be fertile ground for an astute litigator."

Well, Pancerzewski got thrown out shortly afterwards and filed a lawsuit. As we see in every case, Microsoft tried to have it thrown out completely with a summary judgment, won on several items where evidence was lacking to support Pancerzewski's claims, but lost on the item of moving its reserves to "income", which leads to an illegal representation of its performance.

Microsoft settled, allegedly paying its former employee $4 million. In customary fashion, part of the settlement included a condition of secrecy (think e.g. of the AT&T settlement over NT source code that nobody ever heard of again).

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-10 12:21:31

Snippet:Dan Gillmor wrote a column that pretty much reflects how I see Microsoft today. What matters is not so much Gillmor's prediction about the outcome of the case, but rather his frank evaluation of the "Microsoft culture".

"[T]he [Microsoft] culture [of hard work and talent] also radiates contempt. It rejects the norms of behavior that most of us take for granted. This part of the culture is ugly and paranoid, like a dictatorship that can survive only as long as it crushes all dissent."

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-11 10:21:48

Snippet:At the end of each week Microsoft briefs their pick of Wall Street analysts. Just the folks they like and no press.

Of course, the exclusive character of the meetings isn't popular with those not allowed to be present. Microsoft spokesperson Tom Pilla commented: "The information we provide to analysts is no different than what we provide to the press and public throughout the week."

Are we then to believe that the invited Wall Street analysts hear only what they have already read in the papers earlier during the week? If we are to believe Microsoft, the analysts have time to waste.

Of course, the press is not allowed to be present either.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-11 20:38:08

Snippet:It seems that Mr. Fisher is doing better when writing about economical phenomena than when being asked about esotoric software technology or about specific numerical data.

Of course, Microsoft's emphasis on the latter doesn't make the former less relevant and the latter more so.

Anyway, you can get an impression of the court session from Graham Lea's article here:

(Generally, gives frequent and regularly good counterweight to the major media.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-12 01:26:24

Snippet:The one thing that Microsoft doesn't talk about when trying to show that its operating system prices are "fair and competitive" is the prices of competing products.

Given Microsoft's eagerness to present Linux as an alternative, and their accusations of incompetence to economists that speak of Microsoft's market position while not being aware of Linux, one would expect Microsoft to give a price comparison of Windows and Linux. But no, in Redmond a "competitive price" seems to be an absolute.

Take notice of the last section where Microsoft claims that "Nearly all economists agree that the ability to charge different customers different prices is not indicative of monopoly power." It seems to me that any economist that doesn't consider "setting a high price and insisting that anyone pay it" - the situation of the monopolist - as a sufficient condition for an "ability to charge different customers different prices" should be kicked out of the profession. Things would, of course, be different if the "ability" to settle at differnt prices were partly up to the customers, but that is not what Microsoft claims.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-12 10:36:17

Snippet:From the quality and extensive character of the testimony it is clear that the testimony is a well-funded team-effort. That is a good things, as it is more rewarding to find fault in the best possible defense of one position, than in a couple of loose slogans.

Given that the testimony happily offers newspaper clippings (isn't that "hearsay") to show the success of Linux, refers to the list of "OEM's" shipping Linux. (Question: name five major OEM's and guess for each whether they are in the list.)

It is interesting to see how Mr. Schmalensee comes up with relevant testimony on the one hand, such as the price of Intel's processors having risen from 3% of a complete system in 1990 to 13% of a system in 1996 - that is, the same rise that Microsoft's operating system made. Of course, this opens the way for critics that point at Cyrix and AMD processors that are plug-compatible with Intel's, while there are no plug-compatible products to point at to show that Windows is "competitively priced". To circumvent such criticism, Mr. Schmalensee hastily points out that the software market is different from the hardware market.

Actually, the software market is quite unique in having a "sequence of category leaders" and that competition consists in others waiting for a chance to take over. Next thing you know is that junta rule with regular coups is a democracy.

Anyway. Mr. Schmalensee makes many remarks that are to the point. However, he ignores certain data, includes controversial data as fact, and comes up with a new theory of sequential competition that we should be happy with.

Saying that: "Eminent economist Professor Richard Schmalensee PROVES that government witnesses relied on defective data and flawed economic analysis of the software industry." is preposterous.


Microsoft's introduction:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-12 10:55:29

Snippet:Once in while I refer to the Microsoft special of the Law Journal Extra. I may not always agree with the articles, but at least they are produced by the application of the mind instead of copy-and-paste.

I really should look there more often, it's worth the effort.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-12 12:29:24

Snippet:An outline of what Microsoft's defence is likely to be is here:,1267,8297-8298-21466,00.html

The main point Microsoft will present is that its position is vulnerable because software is a rapidly changing market with low entry barriers, unlike capital intensive markets like steel and oil. The claim is that, due to the nature of software, it is impossible for any company to have a monopoly in this industry. Without a monopoly, it is legal to be nasty and brutish in business.

For anyone tempted to agree with this position, may I recommend reading "Information Rules", by Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian? The barriers to competing with Microsoft are not so low as they might seem due to "network effects" and "positive feedback." A good summary of this is that, for any software to provide effective competition in the markets where Microsoft is entrenched (whether it is application or operating system software), the software must be either revolutionary, very compatible or somewhere in between (i.e. perhaps significantly better with good compatibility would be sufficient.)

Competition would be hard even without Microsoft's interference in the form of exclusionary OEM contracts and dumping of programs with similar functionality with their dominant software platform. This is a high-risk business where large up-front investments are required and the winner tends to take all. As things stand, the playing field is not a level one. With these characteristics, it certainly does seem that anti-trust laws have a role to play in the software industry.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-13 04:06:29

Snippet:The following press release indicates that not only the US DOJ was overly happy with the Consent Decree. The EC was just as please with the settlement. Well, since my first two machines, with respectively DOS 3.3 and DR-DOS 6 pre-installed, I've always been able to circumvent the tax and install Linux on a virgin computer.

Has Microsoft lived by the agreement? Anyway, one need only walk into a computer store to see that the agreement was without the desired effect.

For the press release, see a message by CPT's James Love to the on-living "appraising-Microsoft" mailinglist:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-13 21:55:22

Snippet:In a follow-up on his earlier message on the 1994 EC agreement with Microsoft, James Love points out that:

"A review of these types of issues appears to be anticipated in the 1994 agreement, and EU consumers have a right to ask the EC to explain what if anything has been done to monitor the success of the agreement."


Being more of a programmer than a legal expert or a consumer activist I am pretty much at a loss when dealing with the EC bureaucracy seems to be in order. Some personal stimulation might help to motivate me to give more attention to possibilities in this area :-).

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-14 14:00:48

Snippet:Microsoft's first witness started out by testifying contrary to his earlier "expert" testimony in the Bristol case. A nasty result of Microsoft's overwhelming vertical and horizontal presence in the software industry is that they pretty simply become a competitor.

Whereas Mr. Schmalensee was earlier convinced that Bristol could not be a competitor of Microsoft, his conviction today is that with java Sun competes with Windows. Perhaps Mr. Schmalensee should follow an elementary course in logic and learn to draw Venn diagrams.

Just as Mr. Schmalensee attempts to escape the term "monopolist" by coining "category leader", meaning just the same, he attempts to get rid of the monopolistic Windows market by pointing to a "paradigm shift" in the software industry. Perhaps, Mr. Schmalensee should take a look at Microft's revenues in the OS market, because claiming that the industry has "shifted" away from it.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-14 20:20:39

Snippet:I don't know if I quote John Maynard Keynes correctly, but Mr. Schmalensee reminds me of the quote.

Mr. Schmalensee has an interesting conception of monopolies. In effect, he claims that they don't exist. Actually, his claim is to apply only to the software industry, but it applies equally to any other industry. Mr. Schmalensee claims that the concept of monopoly is irrelevant because the situation is apt to change in the long run.

For quite some time economical theorists have claimed that a monopolist may have the power and the inclination to use the economical power over buyers that is derived from this position to enforce contracts or behavior to help deny entry to new parties. This is bad as it denies choice to consumers.

Mr. Schmalensee's theory is that a monopolist cannot possibly deny entrance to potential competitors. If there are no competitors, it cannot deny entrance, and if there are competitors attempting entry in the market, their very existence shows that there is no monopoly.

Another theory of Mr. Schmalensee is that there are only markets where there are competitors. It doesn't matter that Microsoft is has a monopoly, oops, is "category leader", in desktop operating systems, because in other markets there are competitors. Although the competition is still in need for a desktop operating system - note for instance that Sun is more supportive of their JDK for Windows than for their own Solaris server operating system - this is supposed to be irrelevant as the focus of competition has shifted. Whereas it is part of Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science that the result of a "paradigm shift" is that the old framework is wholly dropped in favor of the new one, we don't see something like that here: there is no indication that the situation in which every computer will need an operating system is about to change.

The last theory of Mr. Schmalensee is a supposed generalization. Mr. Schmalensee thinks that the software industry has a history of niche players becoming major players at some time and that it follows from this that Microsoft is continously threatened by small players that may grow big any moment. To indicate the danger, he points to the Linux and Be operating systems. However, Mr. Schmalensee's claims are based on less than scientific rigor. So far, small players have only become big in new markets, which the old operating system market is most certainly not. Another facts that Mr. Schmalensee ignores in his eagerness to plead for his party, is that after growing somewhat just about every former niche player is driven back into the niche to make place for Microsoft. The result, in every single case, is that Microsoft is then entering the market and driving the former niche player back into the niche. Microsoft's market share grows towards one hundred percent, and it has in no single instance grown decreased. Mr. Schmalensee doesn't even observe this, so how can he start to explain it?

Incidentally, Mr. Schmalensee let himself be coached during his testimony, just a week after a Microsoft executive used a lunchbreak to coach the testimony of Intuit's witness. These are violations of court proceedings.

My respect for MIT has just received a serieus dent.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 00:16:41

Snippet:After finishing its part of the testimony, the DOJ has published some 500 additional documents. Among these the complete testimony of the Chairman.

Reading Gates' words is not such a waste of time as one may think on the basis of the evasive testimony made public so far. On the basis of my recent reading of part of Gates autohagiography, "The Road Ahead", I have come to believe that Gates merely says whatever suits the major majority's taste of the moment and that truth is not among his intentions. Thus I found that Gates is a major popularizer of the ideas behind the economics of "network effects" that is today ridiculed by his lawyers and PR departments.

You can look for some more skeleton's in Gates' testimony at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 00:28:14

Snippet:The protagonist of Dostoievski's "Crime and Punishment" believes that special persons need not adhere to the law, nay, they *should* not adhere to the law.

Similarly, Microsoft will happily sing praises of standards and "compatibility" - witness many fragments in Gates' "The Road Ahead" - but as soon as "standard" is something that they can't change unilaterally, they are dead against it and plead that it restricts their oh so necessary freedom.

Well, they have appealed the injunction requiring it to modify Windows and Internet Explorer to adhere to the java standard.

You can find their press release here:

The motion for appeal is here:

(The folks in Redmond seem to confuse the different cases, as they put it in the "doj" directory.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 00:40:14

Snippet:Just as Microsoft makes using Internet Explorer and therewith Microsoft's polluted version of java a pre-condition for using its monopoly Windows product, it forces developers to make a similar move.

For developers on the Windows platform it is essential to have access to beta versions of Windows in order to be ready to ship when the final version comes out. Microsoft used access to beta versions to force such developers to become a distribution channel for Microsoft's polluted java.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 10:39:48

Snippet:Microsoft has been and will be claiming in court that their internal emails of employees - up to the highest level - give no insight in the actual motives for the actions of the company.

Remember how they originally tried to get rid of the "Special master" Lawrence Lessig in the consent decree trial last year? He wrote a personal letter to a personal friend in which he complained about Microsoft's browser. Microsoft argued that this indicated that he was pre-disposed, which would make him unfit for the job.

Today Microsoft is claiming that emails are irrelevant in finding out about the motives of persons making up company policy. The emails at stake are not personal emails to personal friends, but emails during working hours to colleagues discussing company policy.

Consistency is a rare virtue, at least in Redmond.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 10:50:05

Snippet:Graham Lea exposed some of Microsoft's pricing practices.

Why would Microsoft sell DOS for $6 to certain OEMs when the US retail price is $199? Because these OEMs used equivalent (or better) DR-DOS and predatory pricing could be used to "cut off the air supply" of OS competitor Digital Research.

Why would the price of the older product Windows95 go up today? To force OEMs to sell Windows98 with the welded in Internet Explorer.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-15 11:00:55

Snippet:Some time ago, I hypothesized about the ways in which the results of a poll can be influenced by specific phrasing of questions and introductory texts.

Gates commissioned a poll and specified results to be targeted. Regarding another poll, I read in The Register (they have a DNS problem, but you can find their IP number below):

"A memo from a Microsoft researcher at the time (February 1998) said that the survey was "not entirely unbiased," and shouldn't be referred to as an opinion poll. The text of the question, she said, should also be kept out of the hands of the press."

If poll results can't stand up to scrutiny of the poll texts, keeping the poll text out of the hands of those who are made to believe the results is a deceitful act.

Microsoft has been guilty of such an act.

Aside from the resulting dent in Microsofts general credibility, the result of their past behavior is that people valueing their own opinions now have good reason not to accept poll results coming from Microsoft (possibly through political subsidiaries like the "Consumers for a Sound Economy Foundation") without a specification of the used methods and text.

Incidentally, Microsoft regularly employs the firm Hart and Teeter to conduct their polls. Beware when that name is mentioned!

For the article by John Lettice in The Register:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-16 11:43:48

Snippet:Both at home and at work my systems are Microsoft free. However, while I could have obtained the machine without any operating system at all, I chose to buy my desktop machine with an OEM version of Windows NT 4.0 Workstation.

This weekend I bought myself a new desktop machine that is nearly twice as fast as the previous one, and has twice as much video- and working memory RAM. I went for cheap and bought the system without a keyboard, monitor, mouse, CD-ROM drive, and OS. I have all those and they work fine, and my old machine is going to be used as a Linux webserver to host billwatch, so it won't need these components.

It seemed like a good idea to be broadminded and install software on the new system to turn it into a dual boot machine. I paid some Dfl 480.- (about $240.-) for Windows NT, so why not install it on my spacey new harddrive just in case I want to test something that only runs on Windows.

During the installation, however, I was confronted with the text of Microsoft's EULLA which tells that the OEM OS may not be used on another system as the one with which it came. Whereas I can insert any component in a machine I buy to into other computers when it suits me - be innovative, help yourself, make the most of a buck - Microsoft's license doesn't allow me to do this with Windows.

I chose to use a different OS with the machine Windows came with and thereby I forfeited my use of this copy of Windows altogether.

If my new computer had come pre-installed with a Windows NT Workstation it also would be been version 4, as Microsoft has trouble to come out with a new version of Windows for years now. Effectively this means that people who upgrade their hardware are prohibited from re-using old software: they have to buy the same version again.

Incidentally, I decided not to violate the law and consider the Dfl 480.- to be lost due to the overly restrictive licensing of a greedy company.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-19 00:41:45

Snippet:In my previous postings I described restrictions in Microsoft's licensing for an OEM version of Windows. I actually used the OS to play around a bit (but got bored quickly kept to Linux from then on). Therefore I have no right to the refund mentioned in the EULA:

"If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, PC Manufacturer and Microsoft are unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, and you should promptly contact PC Manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused products(s) for a refund."

People who use a non-Windows system exclusively on systems that came with Windows pre-installed are clearly encouraged to ask their money back. I very much hope that they do so.

This can be quite a hassle, but it makes a good story:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-19 01:30:18

Snippet:I was fairly amused to read this article:,5859,2188593,00.html

where Charles Cooper (Coop) of ZDNN apologises to the Redmondians for the way the press is covering the anti-trust trial. An unnamed Microsoft executive laments that he wishes the press owuld cover the trial in excruciating, boring detail. Instead, the press covers it like a boxing match or a baseball game (hey, Coop does that!) and focussing on the racey details like Bill Gates' sullen, resentful and evasive deposition or the fact that the only part of the price of a PC that has risen in recent years is that of the Windows operating system.

All of these details, which according to Coop are somehow less relevant because of their newsworthiness, tend to support the government's case. I suppose his idea of more balanced coverage would be for the press to write up all the exhibits Microsoft's Sullivan and Cromwell lawyers put into the record. Ah, but then the press would also have to cover all the evidence Microsoft wants excluded from the case. In truth, the coverage is fairly balanced. We even see the Mark Murray quotes such as "the government's argument would imply that the Chicago Bulls should have been disbanded after winning their 2nd NBA championship because they are just too good." With grandstanding such as this, it is no wonder we don't hear more from Microsoft's point of view these days.*

* - Microsoft is not prevented from distributing this drivel, for the reader can easily download it directly from .
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-19 21:55:27

Snippet:For $6.7 billion, about one-and-a-half times the price AOL is to pay for Netscape (or rather, its portal, as AOL is getting rid of its software as fast as possible), cable company @Home, a Microsoft partner, bought portal Excite!

In the context of this news, it is nice to read Microsoft's press release on the "overnight change in the software industry" that allegedly resulted from AOL's buying Netscape.

For Microsoft's comments on AOL's buying of Netscape for two-thirds of the price that @Home pays for Excite! see my ancient annotation:

For an article on the transaction, see:

I find it interesting that CNN doesn't mention the consternation surrounding Netscape in its prsent newscasting.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-20 05:05:55

Snippet:As mentioned earlier, Microsoft's "End User License Agreement" includes a statement that those who do not agree with it and decide not to use the software before using it, are entitled to a refund from the OEM that bundled Windows with the hardware.

Those running Linux, FreeBSD, OS/2, Netware or perhaps Be after wiping Windows off their harddisks will be interested to obtain what they are entitled to. They should be able to chose what operating system is to be delivered with their hardware or at least to buy their hardware without any operating system.

Second best is to get their money back. Obtaining a refund is a long and tortuous road as Geoffrey Bennett's story indicates. However, it is worth it. In the short run those entitled to it will get their money back. In the long run they might stimulate OEM's to stop tying Windows to every hardware system.

To help people organize in their efforts to obtain what they are entitled to, a "Windows Refund Center" has been set up. Aside from creating a central repository with information and success stories, the refund center hopes to stimulate people to massively ask for a refund on February 15th.

You can find the Windows Refund Center here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-20 12:44:19

Snippet:I consider it quite funny that Dell moved to keep Microsoft's agreements with OEMs secret. There is no open market for computer operating systems as Microsoft is the only vendor seriously considered. It is a public secret that Microsoft uses price discrimination to obtain some degree of control over OEMs marketing and hardware decisions. Apparently, Dell managed to get a bargain and intends to keep its competitors from learning about it.

The trial sessions on OEM agreements has been secret, but from the remaining testimony some things can be gleaned.

Check out Graham Lea's article "What is it Microsoft wants the court to keep secret?":
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-21 01:52:31

Snippet:One of the arguments, perhaps from OEMs, perhaps from Microsoft itself, for *having to pre-install* Windows is to fight piracy. The idea is that people who don't pay for Windows will steal it and hence all buyers of computer hardware must pay for Windows also.

There is nothing new about the problem of a "free ride" in economical theory. It means that if most of the users pay for a service, some - too many! - may benefit from it without paying for it. "No thank you, I don't want to have the street swept and I won't pay for it."

For Microsoft there is a dire implication to the argument: claiming that not buying Windows for a new computer will in all, or most, cases be followed by stealing it, is an admission of Windows' monopoly.

Aside from that there is of course an issue such as my having a paid for copy of Windows NT 4.0 that I can't use on my new machine, while my old machine is getting a Linux server function. Indeed, Microsoft's OEM license tells me that I can't install it on new hardware and I agreed to it. Remains the fact that Windows is tied to computer hardware as no other component in the computer is.

Claiming that this is a necessity contradicts Microsoft's claims that they operate in a competitive market.

My request: does anyone know where to find, or have actual citations from OEMs or Microsoft itself containing the "piracy argument"? I'd like to have it.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-21 10:51:49

Snippet:Starting with Richard Schmalensee's "testimony" Microsoft has discovered the word "paradigm shift". To be very brief, the concept means in Kuhn's philosophy of science that one conceptual framework is completely replaced by another - no stone is left unturned, so to say.

This greatly appeals to Microsoft: if such a shift away from Microsoft's position since the early eighties would be possible, it's monopoly would look more innocuous.

The great example is the shift away from IBM's mainframes to personal computers. Nowaydays, but not in earlier accounts, Microsoft spokespersons conveniently ignore that IBM's position in PC's was dominant as it was in its core market, but that it allowed the PC to be "commoditized". It was far more important for the loosing of control by IBM that others could create "compatible" products than that the PC represented something entirely new that could in time replace the old.

Once more Microsoft - and its MIT representative - are evading the terms of economy in which an antitrust discussion should take place. "Monopoly" becomes "category leader" and the $260+ B company is continuously on the verge of being completely destroyed by every computer science student in the world.

I can't help wondering what happened to empirical science. The shift from mainframes to PCs may have been a "paradigm shift", but the main influence on the role of IBM was not the shift in technology, but commoditizing its product and thereby opening the road for relatively small competitors. What are the other "paradigm shifts" and did they indeed influence the organizational dynamics of the computer industry?

Mr. Nielsen, Microsoft manager for developer relations, takes the rather extreme position that "paradigm shifts" take place every six months. Given Microsoft's lone position during the last 12 years, we can conclude that it lived through some 24 of these paradigms shifts and does so with more ease every time. If the "paradigm shift" were a one-time danger - like a meteor driving dinosaurs to extinction - it would be difficult to discredit Mr. Nielsen's remark. However, given that he implicitly claims that Microsoft has a very long record of growing bigger through all these shifts, it is difficult not to learn the lesson from this that history is pretty predictable in the computer industry. When seeing Microsoft's index at Wall Street, I believe that I am not the only one.

Given the above remarks and Mr. Nielsen's answer to Redhat's Mr. Young's claims, I believe that Mr. Nielsen uses forceful words without being able to support them. Mr. Nielsen is not an honest man.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-22 01:40:39

Snippet:In this story, read about Microsoft's reaction to the Windows refund campaign:,4586,2191274,00.html

Note the statement by Microsoft spokesman Sohn that OEM's are free to load any operating system on new PC's. While it may be true that "nothing in the OEM contracts says the OEM can't ship anything else", it certainly is misleading. After all, if the OEM has tried to get the best price for Windows and pre-paid for a copy of Windows for each of a particular model of PC, that OEM certainly has an economic disincentive to load any other operating system on that model. Generally, the PC models in question are the lower-end consumer oriented models where price competition is intense.

Also, spokesman Sohn says that Microsoft plans no counter-campaign and that OEM's need no hand-holding or instruction from Microsoft on dealing with the campaign. But the campaign for refund of the Microsoft Windows tax exists solely because of Microsoft-directed discriminatory Windows pricing. This is a problem created by Microsoft, but they say it can only be resolved by the consumer and the OEM.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-22 17:41:48

Snippet:After initially claiming that Linux was essentially by a single person - a mere student - to show how simple entrance in the OS market was (read John Warden's early interrogations, Microsoft's "Setting the record straight paper that introduced their position in the trial, and Microsoft's general manager in France who claimed that development of Linux has just about stopped since the student-originator moved to the US to work on a real job), the latest claim from Redmond - by way of the testimony of senior vice president Paul Maritz - is that more developers are working on Linux than on Windows NT.

Another funny aspect of Mr. Maritz testimony is his listing of "formidable competitors" (none of which sells or supports this Linux thing). The reason why they are "formidable" is that they are big and do something that might cut into Microsoft's markets. Given that they are big, they are supposed to be big as competitors. However, that doesn't necessarily follow.

Perhaps Mr. Maritz should learn to draw Venn diagrams in order to restrict his points to relevant markets. Sun is primarily in hardware and does java on the site (given that java is a commodity language - many vendors can produce it - sun won't ever make money from it in the way that Microsoft makes money from Windows on which it has a monopoly); Oracle is primarily in services and software (that order!); and IBM is in hardware, services, and software (that order!).

Paul Maritz's testimony is quite, er, bloated, and I restricted myself to the testimony here:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-23 01:52:43

Snippet:Graham Lea wrote a very readworthy article on Richard Schmalensee's testimony. You can find it here:

After reading in the news that most of Microsoft's profits were made in its OS division in the latest record-setting quarter, it is a bit hard to swallow that Mr. Schmalensee has now idea what Microsoft makes its money on. He claims that Microsoft does its accounting with pen and paper. I guess they must wonder why people buy their software.

Update: Here's another one: Schmalensee trips on DoJ banana skins.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-23 01:57:59

Snippet:Readers will no doubt know about Microsoft's original licensing of "Internet Explorer" from Spyglass. By giving the browser away, Microsoft evaded having to pay royalties to Spyglass and thus made the company change its line of business as the other licensees (some 182 from the top of my head) stopped licensing the product in a market where Microsoft was dumping. (A Robin Hood variation: the big one takes from the small one and gives to everybody.)

Naturally, Spyglass attempted to get something back from their investments and development efforts and they got a sum of money from Microsoft after settling out of court.

I can't help wondering if Microsoft represented the position of the browser in its case versus Spyglass in the same way as it does vs the DOJ today.

Did Microsoft tell Spyglass that the licensed browser was an integrated part of the Windows operating system? If so, the Spyglas settlement is usually incorrectly represented by the account that the browser is an individual product that was given away for free by Microsoft.

However, if the browser was indeed an "integrated" part of Windows, revenues should be allocated to it from the revenues of Windows in the same way as happens with bugfixes. Spyglass should have received royalties on the basis of an appropriate percentage of the price of Windows.

If Microsoft did not represent the case like this to Spyglass, it has committed fraud.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-23 02:49:38

Snippet:Senior vice president Paul Maritz is Microsoft's group manager of software and platforms. He is the highest ranking Microsoft executive climbing on the witness stand.

I annotated some fragments from his lengthy testimony.

You can find the result here.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-24 17:35:05

Snippet:Microsoft has long used its position to force exclusive contracts upon OEMs and later ISPs in order to raise barriers to competition.

The emerging networking markets, however, that might open opportunities for new software companies to rise and therefore at sometime even to build desktop systems and office tools to challenge Microsoft's own markets, are less likely than the OEMs to enter exlusive deals with Microsoft.

The solution is to apply the traditional way of denying entrance to the competition: you buy up the channels.

Today it was announced that Microsoft has taken a $500 million dollar share in NTL, the U.K.'s No. 3 cable company, to speed delivery of high-speed voice, video and Internet services in Britain and Ireland (See:,4,31351,00.html? Earlier, Microsoft has bought into ComCast, the 4th largest cable company in the US for $1 billion which gave them a 11.5% share (1997); started for $50 million a joint venture with QualComm to form a new wireless communications company (1998); bought 10% of Roadrunner, which does highspeed cable and internet access (1998); has some cross-agreements with TCI - TCI gets 20% in MSN and will use Windows CE (1998); bought UUNet and WebTV; and bought for $1 billion into US West which is into cable operations (1997).

Conclusion: don't expect a level market for the Internet appliances that Microsoft is so loudly afraid of when in court.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-25 20:28:39

Snippet:At a time when it is alleged in court that AOL might at some undefined time in the future start distribution and should henceforth be considered a formidable opponent of Microsoft, AOL itself is about to start a massive distribution by *snailmail* of its own version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Earlier, Microsoft lawyers intimated that the DoJ might have prodded AOL to extent its MSIE contract. I wonder who they think is behind this scene.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-25 22:15:32

Snippet:Whereas a normal procedure for a cable company would be to support whatever software its clients have, UPC, Europe's largest privately held cable television and television company, has decided it needed a particular software partner.

Guess what: "There simply is no more qualified player for us in this effort than Microsoft." Apparently, UPC is not interested in supporting different platforms, but rather in an exclusive deal. Barriers to entry are rapidly mounting in the software industry.,4,31429,00.html?

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-26 18:33:37


In this John Dodge column:,5859,2192748,00.html

read about how the Microsoft Office suite, at anywhere from $499 to $999, is 'unanimously' perceived to be overpriced. Actually, this is not much over some of their competitions' prices, but also worthy of note is: "Those sentiments are understandable, given that 40 percent of Microsoft's $4.94 billion in sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was pure profit."

This large profit margin might also be due to the situation of PC OEM's who are economically compelled to force a sale of Windows with each new system they ship. It is difficult to get a refund on the possibly unwanted Windows software and, despite the fact that Microsoft wrote the contract, Microsoft denies responsibility for this situation. I thus bring your attention to this excellent post by David Cardinal and this link to the Microsoft Boycott Campaign Web site. It is up to the educated comsumer to make the market work for them, but this certainly would be easier if companies such as Microsoft would act ethically and responsibly.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-26 21:27:44

Snippet:Procompetition did some research on Mr. Maritz' relevant utterances in the past that seem to contradict what he tells the court in his testimony.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-26 23:25:44

Snippet:You can find some numbers on Microsoft in the following ProComp article:

An additional number is that Bill Gates is now at $85B, so extrapolating the past and having no reason not to we can expect him to hit the $100B sometime this summer and most surely before the new millenium starts.

Gates personal wealth suffices to buy AOL/Netscape, Sun and more than half of Oracle. So much for the "formidable competition".
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-26 23:32:58

Snippet:With its market value recently climbing above $400B, Microsoft is now worth 100 times more than Netscape. Such numbers put Microsoft's claim of Netscape being a "formidable competitor" in some perspective.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-27 08:45:49

Snippet:Microsoft has played a video in court on which Vinod Valloppil, the author of the infamous Halloween memos, presents the ease of use of the "Caldera operating system". What Mr. Valloppil fails to mention (and the DoJ most surely didn't notice) is that we are looking at a branded version of Linux with the KDE desktop. Apparently, the folks at Microsoft feel that something can have the "integrated feel" even if both parts are separately available and functional. Could it be that the advantages of integration can be accomplished without having one component fail whenever another component of the same vendor is not present?The text of the video is included in the trial transcript.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-27 09:55:53

Snippet:In yesterday's anti-trust trial proceedings, Microsoft executive Maritz admitted under questioning by Judge Jackson that Microsoft's goal in welding Internet Explorer to Windows was to increase its browser market share. As late as July 1997, consideration was given to selling an "Internet Explorer upgrade" to Windows '98. The arguments that integration of Web browsing functionality into Windows '98 was technologically motivated and "for the good of the consumer" are looking shakier by the day.

Full story is at:,1051,SAV-9901270364,00.html
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-27 17:40:31

Snippet:Microsoft's next witness on the stand is Jim Allchin, you know, the one from "leveraging the operating system" to get browser market share.

You can find it at:

First comments are available now by the vitriolic hand of John Lettice (pity that the HTML italics didn't match):
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-27 23:43:59

Snippet:The "International Alliance for Compatible Technology" ( released an "action letter" concerning Compaq's limitation of Altavista's Discovery section to Microsoft software.

It is laudable to experiment with new technology, even when that restricts readership to a specific platform, but Compaq fails to mention - aside from a little "requirements" item that says WindowsXX or NT - that the site does not conform to Internet standards.

I know nothing about IACT, but this makes good sense to me.

You can find the letter at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-28 00:18:37

Snippet:As mentioned a few days ago, Microsoft has taken a $500 million interest in British cable company NTL. What wasn't mentioned then is that NTL had announced a week before that it would launch NTL TV-Internet, its new interactive television service, using NCI's (Network Computer) software. Given Microsoft's history of exclusive contracts, be they with OEM's, with educational institutions, with Apple, and with just anybody that ever enters into a business agreement with them, we can safely presume that NTL has now dropped from the software market as a potential buyer. In this context one is also urged to remember that WebTV was an early adopter of java, but they shedded support for the language after having been bought by Microsoft.

Another cable company mentioned a few days ago was UPC. Then the news was that they entered into a technology agreement with Microsoft. The news now is that Microsoft will take a $300 million part in the company.

It looks like Microsoft is closing the markets for software as AT&T closed the market for telephones.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-28 19:59:16

Snippet:Australian biologist Shane Brooks found a solution to give consumers options that Microsoft denies them:

"98lite is a unique application I developed that breaks the tight integration between Windows98 and Internet Explorer, opening up a range of new possibilities for configuring Windows98. These possibilities are realised by implanting the leaner and faster Explorer shell from Windows95 onto the improved core of Windows98. You keep all the great Windows98 improvements to the hardware support, drivers, memory management, Fat32 and improved networking, but the Explorer95 interface is considerably faster and consumes fewer computer resources."


If you're in the mood, check out the Sm@rt Reseller article about it, that concludes:

"Windows 98 without Internet Explorer 4 is a working operation system and Internet Explorer 4.0 is not an vital part of Windows 98."


By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-29 01:14:29

Snippet:"[O]n 13 February 1998, Imatec filed a suit against Apple alleging the company had infringed three patents it holds for device-independent colour management software. Imatec claimed Apple's ColorSync software contained its technology. Imatec is seeking $1.1 billion in damages."


I find it somewhat interesting that Apple is hit with a patent suit with a damage claim of about the same size that Microsoft alleges Apple claimed of them ($1.2 billion).

If I am not mistaken, Apple is worth a couple of billions of dollars altogether, and Microsoft about a hundred times as much and it has $18 billion in the bank. Given their sketchy accounting, Microsoft wouldn't even notice a billion more or less. And yet, senior vice president Paul Maritz testified the following (sorry for the uppercase, I lifted it straight from the transcript):


Strange, isn't it? $1.1 billion may be a fortune to Apple, but doesn't mean much to Microsoft (the profit of a month or so). And yet, Mr. Maritz claims that Microsoft was utterly fearsome of a patent lawsuit by Apple, even though they thought they were right (no skirmishing with principles in Redmond this time).

(News agencies don't seem to have caught on, but Maritz' testimony is really worth reading. His basic claim with regard to Apple is that the agreement specifying that MacOffice will be shipped if and only if Apple will make MSIE its default browser was just an irrelevant afterthought that got bundled with an agreement that was overwhelmingly about settling the patent matter. The transcript from which I quoted is:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-29 01:53:31

Snippet:I enjoyed an article by Karen Donovan of the "American Lawyer Media News Service" that was published by "Law Journal Extra".

Apparently, I read the transcripts of the session with Paul Maritz too fast (read: I skipped parts), because it was new to me that David Boies subtly asked Maritz if Microsoft represented WebTV as a competitor when it bought that company of which Microsoft today calls its products competitors to Windows.

Aiks, rewriting history becomes more complicated when people are allowed to ask you nasty questions.

See: (I have no permament location for the file.)

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-29 02:48:36

Snippet:To get in the mood for Microsoft's next witness on the stand ProComp has listed some of the already familiar quotes, such as: "We need to smile with Novell when we pull the trigger" and "[Windows98] must be a simple upgrade, but most importantly it must be a killer on OEM shipments so that Netscape never gets a chance on these systems."

Nice reading to get in the mood:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-29 20:43:21

Snippet:At the DoJ's side one can find the transcripts of all of Gates' deposit testimony since the end of the first part of the trial.

Microsoft managed to keep the public uninformed about the deposits, even though the law allowed it access. Although Microsoft sought to keep the public from getting all information, they regularly complained bitterly about out of context "snippets" of deposits being presented.

Now that a federal Appeals Court has ruled that the public is to be allowed to know what the law grants them, all parties can be satisfied. I'll patiently wait until Bill Gates' testimony will appear on the shelves of the local video-store.


(By the way, Gates spoke to Associated Press about the deposit and said the following:
"I answered every question, completely, truthfully through many, many, many long days. The fact that they're taking snippets out of that and holding them up without having me there because they chose not to call me as a witness, I think, is quite novel." -- Huh, "novel"? If so, has Gates any objections to "innovation"?)

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-29 22:27:41

Snippet:Earlier I mentioned that Microsoft presented KDE in court and called it the "Caldera operating system". Now they go further and introduce software as competition of which the makers - the list of developers now says there are ten in all - say:

"All KOffice components are still in alpha stage. This does not mean, that the applications crash every minute, but it means that not all features are already implemented. So, some of the components are more useable than others, but the developement happens very fast, so all KOffice applications will reach an useable state soon. If you already want to test the KOffice, you can download daily source and binary snapshots. It's also mentionable, that some KOffice parts were already used very successfully."

Okay, so we have software in alpha stage here. When looking at the site we find that ten developers are working on the package.

Let's have a fragment from John Warden questioning Paul Maritz in court:





Somebody ought to inform Microsoft's senior vice-president of platforms and applications about the value of a screenshot.

You can find the relevant websites at the following locations: and

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-30 23:26:22

Snippet:I just re-read Dean Schmalensee's prepared testimony. I find the following quote interesting:

"All successful software packages have high profit margins. The fact that Microsoft, as a company, has a high margin reflects the fact that it has many successful software packages. It has created what the public wants and regards as valuable." (emphasis in the original)

I wonder how Mr. Schmalensee and Mr. Maritz think to combine the categorical statement that "All successful software packages have high profit margins." with their claims that free software has a very real chance to be successful. "The knowledge that serious competitors for the operating system category can emerge from nowhere places substantial pressure on Microsoft and other software companies to innovate and price low. Microsoft does not act competitively because Linux is there now. Microsoft acts competitively because threats like Linux are always out there."

To be more explicit: If it is a necessary condition for a "successful software package" to have a "high profit margin", then Linux, nor KOffice, nor AbiWord, nor Wine, can ever by successful. If they cannot be successful, then they do not constitute a threat to Microsoft.

By the way, WordPerfect8 (for Linux at least) can't convert the Word file containing Schmalensee's testimony. Apparently, there is more to conversion than Microsoft's videos in court show.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-31 15:18:29

Snippet:Apparently forgetting that Microsoft is today buying into cable companies in a big way, Paul Maritz explained in court that cable companies can provide an important channel for competition and that whoever controls them has a "strong influence on what software you choose to download onto your computer".

Maritz said:
"Clearly we are very concerned about what could happen here. It puts the people that are providing you with that access to the network - the high-speed network - in a relatively strong position to have quite a strong influence over what software you choose to download on your computer. So we believe that the cable network providers and other companies, like AOL, who have provided Internet access to large numbers of users could have a much greater say over the software that people run in the future."

As reported earlier, Microsoft has sunk billions of dollars into several cable companies: $500 million in British NTL, $300 million agreed to sink into UPC, $1 billion in ComCast, $1 billion USWest, 10% of RoadRunner, $50 million joint vendture with QualComm - that is now rumored to be about to drop its e-mail client, cross-agreement with TCI to have this cable company push Windows CE.

Mr. Maritz' statement makes clear that Microsoft's buying into cable companies is relevant with regard to its monopoly position.

The fragment came from the transcript of the 28 Jan 1999 am session of the antitrust trial.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-01-31 16:56:04


As seen in Chairman Gates' book "The Road Ahead", the Microsoft vision is a PC in every home. Of course, with the introduction of technologies unforseen by Gates such as the Internet and cable TV network connections, this is subject to revision as seen in the 2nd edition of his book. The unstated assumption is that all of these technologies will use Microsoft's software.

We see this vision with the current anti-trust case against Microsoft. Not long into the cross-examination of the government's first witness, Netscape's Jim Barksdale, the Microsoft attorney attacked him for causing the Department of Justice to bring this case to enforce Netscape's "God-given right to 80% market share." This theme comes up again when MIcrosoft's Allchin says in his written testimony that "Netscape does not have the right to dominate the Internet." On the same token, one would think that Microsoft or any other company has no "God-given right to 80% market share" and no right to dominate the Internet. However, it is clear through Microsoft's actions in themarketplace and their claims in the trial that this is an issue of keen importance to them and that Microsoft believes it is somehow different in that it does have the right to a dominant market share. This hypocritical attitude speaks volumes about why government regulation is necessary in Microsoft's case.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-01-31 18:49:22

Snippet:Always the first to trumpet about the protecting of their own copyrights, Microsoft turns out to have no qualms to stamp their own copyright notice on the trial transcripts as published at their site.

For an example you can just pick the latest transcript published at their site as of writing this item:

At the bottom of the transcript you'll find:
�1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-01 11:40:46

Snippet:Graham Lea seems to have spent the weekend with the transcripts of the trial sessions with Paul Maritz. The prolific result is spread all over the front page of The Register:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-01 16:01:58


The testimony of Microsoft's Dr. James Allchin is supposed to demonstrate that there are real benefits to consumers and developers in the integration of Internet Explorer with Windows. But, as Boies uncovers in cross-examination, those benefits are also present if Internet Explorer is sold separately. Fuller coverage is here:,4586,2198376,00.html

If Microsoft chose to sell Internet Explorer separately from Windows, it would preserve competition in the browser market and they would be competing on merits since tighter integration with the operating system is a feature that some consumers might prefer. Making Internet Explorer a mandatory part of Windows is anti-competitive and actually results in a less efficient, less stable operating system. A leaner and more stable package like Windows '98 Lite could also be a benefit consumers would want.

Finally, I can assure Dr. Allchin that it is entirely possible to completely remove the Web browser from any Linux installation with no adverse effect on efficiency or stability. I suspect the same is true of BeOS. Has Dr. Allchin not done his homework or is he reluctant to admit to yet more facts that don't support Microsoft's position?

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-02 05:23:09

Snippet:Always a good showman, Sun's CEO makes for good quotes during the "World Economic Forum"'s annual meeting where Chairman Gates also spoke to the public (World *executives* forum?).

"Microsoft is a planned economy. Left unfettered, unscrutinized, unchecked--monopoly power can be leveraged into other businesses."

"If they are allowed to use that leverage before the world moves to this new network economy, they can establish dominant and stifling positions in these new architectures."

"What they are trying to do is leverage their Windows monopoly through acquisitions, bundling time, predatory pricing, illegal, anticompetitive behavior left and right."

It seems to me that McNealy is quite right, but he could and should have built a stronger case (it could be that he did, but that the journalists missed it). Microsoft tells Apple, Intel, Digital and Netscape who is to produce what and it tells OEM's what to sell and what not to sell. That sure sounds like "central planning" to me.

(I'll leave the quotes on the importance of not-breaking up Microsoft as an exercise to the reader.)

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-02 08:18:58

Snippet:To emphasize how much Dr. Felten's modifications harmed its performance, Microsoft presented a video to the court. Unfortunately, the opposition there noticed an irregular cut in the tape. Apparently, Microsoft's supposed proof was forged. David Boies aptly remarked: "How in the world could your people have run this program? ... You do understand you came in here and swore this was accurate?"


Related: the government still doesn't seem to have caught on the existence of 98Lite or still hasn't managed to sufficiently evaluate it. It is great fun to compare Dr. Allchin's testimony with the reality of 98Lite.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-02 21:48:29

Snippet:While one group of Microsoft lawyers is telling the court the the browser is part of Windows, another group has been telling the patent office that: "It should be understood by those skilled in the art that a Web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer, ... is separate from the operating system."

The first group - that has the most executive clout - is now telling that the second group was speaking of non-Windows operating systems only.


(Courtesy of Richard Fane.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-02 21:56:54

Snippet:The article contains no acquisitions not mentioned earlier here, but I'm glad to have my list confirmed by another party (Hmm, there is one numerical difference.)

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-03 00:27:17

Snippet:William Neukom, senior vice-president of corporate affairs and law: "This is a tiny, tiny part of a very long tape and it doesn't stand for anything more than things can happen with software." (This compares with "a tiny, tiny" bit pregnant. "Things can happen with software" - This has nothing whatsoever to do with software as technology, but solely with filming something that was set in scene. Now that it turns out to have been tampered with, it is very hard to conclude that the tampering was not intentional too.)

Microsoft spokesperson Mark Murray called the affair of "essentially nit-picking an issue like video production."
(What does he mean "nit-picking" - Microsoft tells that it displays one thing, but it shows something else. If they call saying one thing while showing something else "nitpicking", they clearly give no value to the notion of evidence.)

The video-affair was bad for Microsoft's credibility. What is far worse, however, is that several spokespersons, including their senior-vice president of law, have bagatellised the very idea of giving truthful evidence.

The quotes are from:,4,31808,00.html?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-03 10:00:05

Snippet:Shortly after filing with the SEC that he wants to divert himself of 3.5 million Microsoft shares, Bill Gates today enters talks with Holland's prime minister.

Could this be purely coincidental?

No kidding. Gates is going to advise the government on the introduction of computers in education. Thus, instead of seeking neutral advise, the Dutch government is embracing as adviser a party that is here to sell its own products and nothing more.

I can't help being reminded of the local "Lockheed Affair" when the husband of the former Dutch queen - accepted money from the company to plug their planes. What is Gates' doing in the prime minister's office if not bypassing normal buying procedures?

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-03 11:44:14

Snippet:You can find the testimony of Michael T. Devlin, president of Rational Software Corporation at:

In his testimony Michael Devlin touts the importance of the presence of Microsoft's Internet Explorer on their customers computers:
  1. Rational relies on the presence of IE system services to ensure that all our customers have access to the latest in technical support information. ("Other browsers may be used to get this information, but since we know that virtually all customers with Windows 95 or 98 have Internet Explorer available we can be confident that most of our customers will have access to the technology to obtain our Web-based information.")
  2. Our customers prefer that Rational does not redistribute Internet Explorer components whenever possible not to do so. When different application developers each redistribute potentially different versions of the same components, conflicts will inevitably arise.
  3. The open architecture of Internet Explorer, with ready access to all of the key APIs, has allowed Rational to deliver increased value to our customers at lower cost much sooner than would otherwise be possible.
  4. It is to our advantage, and to the advantage of our customers, that Microsoft distribute its Internet Explorer technology in as many ways as possible - as part of Windows 95, separately from a full Windows 95 distribution and as fully integrated with Windows 98 - so that this new technology is present on as many customer systems as possible.

What is interesting about Mr. Devlin's arguments is that they all apply if the browser was not tied to the operating system. As for Internet Explorer's "open architecture", that is not related to grafting it on the operating system. Aside from this "open architecture" argument, all of Mr. Devlin's arguments would be equally fulfilled when Netscape would obtain a monopoly on browsers and be bundled by every OEM as Microsoft's Internet Explorer is today.

For those interested, Mr. Devlin has provided a list of those libraries categorized as browser functionality that are used by software products of Rational. Again, this is really irrelevant, as they could have been unbundled and provided by a third party.

Coincidentally, I visited the "Rational '99 Worldwide Software Symposium" yesterday. What really struck me is that Rational is very much a Microsoft-only platform - when they say: "This product supports all platforms", they mean: "This product supports Windows95, Windows98 and Windows NT". Another thing that struck me is that no demonstration computer had an icon to Netscape's browser. When I saw the icon on one computer, it turned out that the browser was indeed used to demonstrate how slow it was with a certain java applet.

So, what is Microsoft to Rational? Although Mr. Devlin states in his testimony: "The resulting IE APIs are publicly available (including being available to Rational's competitors), like all of the Windows APIs.", I found in the document "Alliance between Microsoft and Rational expands market for visual modeling tools" ( the following fragment:

Our relationship with Microsoft hasnot only helped increase product sales for Rational, but alsoprovided us with the access to Microsoft technologies weneed to best meet the demands of Microsoft developers.
Apparently, having an "alliance" with Microsoft gives "access" to sources not open as "IE APIs are publicly available".

If you have now reached the understanding that it is Mr. Devlin's claim that anything that is to be used by all of his customers is to be included in Windows, you will find the following fragments from puzzling:

On the tool side, Rational and Microsoft have worked together to provide powerful integration between the tools from both companies. One example of this is Microsoft Visual Modeler developed jointly by Rational and Microsoft. Further, Rational Rose is the leading tool for visual modeling and component-based development and it is tightly integrated with Microsoft development environments for Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Visual J++.

Microsoft and Rational have a strategic partnership aiming at providing software developers with an integrated tool suite automating major portions of the software development process.

Rational Summit also supports the definition and automation of task life cycles, and is integrated with MS Project and MS Excel.

Rational SoDA extends MS Word(tm) and provides a way to automatically generate quality documentation from a variety of information sources, including both Rational and Microsoft tools.

RequisitePro is a unique, Windows(r)-based requirements management tool that is integrated with Microsoft Word(tm), Rational Rose(r) and Rational's SQA Suite(tm).

Clearly, Rational manages to "integrate" with many Microsoft applications, e.g. MS Word, Visual Studio, MS Project, and MS Excel. If you go back to the reasons Mr. Devlin mentioned for including the web browser in Windows, you might agree with me that these would be equally valid for including MS Project, Visual Studio, MS Word and MS Excel into Windows. Strangely, Mr. Devlin does not complain that such an inclusion of applications that his customers need to use Rational's applications, just as they need MSIE, has not been carried out.

For this reason I consider Mr. Devlin to apply a double standard.

This is also visible in his attitude towards java. Whereas standardization in Windows is considered of primary importance, he is actually against seeking such standardization in java. Mr. Devlin considers it better to have java develop as UNIX did: let is splinter over different platforms. Mr. Devlin explains to us why splintering UNIX had adverse results, but he lauds splintering java.

About being asked by Microsoft to testify, Mr. Devlin states:

"We [Rational] concluded that my agreeing to testify would be, on balance, neutral to our business interests, and I agreed to testify because I felt it was my duty to do so as a citizen."
I hope to have shown above that Mr. Devlin's testimony is not internally consistent and that the reasons he gives for having MSIE being included in Windows are not backed up by demands to have other Microsoft applications for which the same arguments can be made be included in Windows as well.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-04 02:27:51

Snippet:By mouth of spokesperson Mark Murray:
"One of the great things about the software business is that if there are some bugs in a first version of a product, you can go back and fix them. So Video 1.0 apparently had a few things that became confusing, so both sides agree we will be doing Video 2.0."

In other words, if it is pointed out that Microsoft's evidence is not what it should be, Microsoft considers it normal procedure that they get the opportunity to come up with other evidence to produce intended effect. From this it follows that Microsoft does not consider itself bound to provide truthful evidence at all times.

Quote from:,4,31913,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-04 09:53:08

Snippet:(Posted by Mitch Stone to am-info="appraising Microsoft" mailinglist.)

Name: Michelle Bradley
Location: null
Occupation: X MS employee

MS issues marching orders ...

I can safely tell this now, since I 'retired' from Redmond last week. A verbal memo (no e-mail allowed) was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee's to post to Z-Net articles like this one.

The theme is "MicroSoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom. The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. period. The 'memo' suggests we use fictional names and state, and to identify ourselves as students."

It is interesting to count the postings that do exactly this.

Most interesting, indeed.

Name: Wm. Paris
Location: Redmond
Occupation: MS Employee

Marching orders? I'd refute that.

First, I'm a test manager for an Internet related feature and have heard nothing.
Hear say is worth little.

Secondly, this board is not carpeted with drek as suggested. MS employees are results driven. If they had orders, they'd execute and you'd know it.

Honestly, the word from Management is focus on your work and deliver product.

Disclaimer: My thoughts may or may not coincide with anyone else's including my boss, my boss' boss, etc.

Name: Tom Thumb
Email: null
Occupation: MS employee

MS orders confirmed.

I can confirm Michelle's statements above. I am still an MS employee. And, yes, the posted name is not my real one. I can't afford to get fired right now. And I have heard something very similar to what she talked about.

But frankly, I did not interprete the thing as 'encouraging us to post'.

It was more like 'Do it! And do it a lot!'

And as Mr. Paris points out, "If they had orders, they'd execute. And you'd know it." As evidenced by Mr Paris's own post. A lot of people around here are very unhappy about this. And we are increasingly embarressed by what is going on. We employee's with any remaining shread of integrity and honor are getting as much BS piled on us as the outside world is. And very few of us any more are getting stock options to shut us up.

Update: Wired tried to trace the author of the first posting. Interesting. See:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-04 10:01:03

Snippet:You can find Graham Lea's extensive account of the video-affair here: and here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-04 13:50:31

Snippet:Microsoft has now for some time claimed that every "modern operating system" contains an integrated browser.

Jean-Louis Gass�e writes about the claim:

Our thanks for the plug, but alas, our NetPositive browser isn't integrated. In fact, we're doing our best to let other browsers -- BeOS versions of Opera and Mozilla, to name two -- flourish on the BeOS platform without playing games with OS features, or with commercial relationships. Our browser is an application, just like a word processor, and it is removed just as easily. I recall us jokingly referring to it in one of our press releases as "DOJ-approved."

When you remove the NetPositive browser, all you lose is the ability to read HTML documents locally or on the Web. One might object that other applications, such as a mail client, are affected. If you remove NetPositive, clicking on a URL no longer takes you "there." Right. If you remove the printer, the word processor no longer prints. This doesn't mean the printer or the driver is "integrated" in the OS in the sense that removing Explorer would cripple Windows 98.

In Microsoft Word, you can paste a "live" Excel document into your text. But that doesn't mean Excel is integral to Word. If you remove Excel it doesn't cripple Word -- it just stops you from doing a "live" paste of a spreadsheet inside your text document.

For the full article, see:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-04 20:27:51

Snippet:In this story:,4,31986,00.html

suspicions about the authenticity of Microsoft's video demonstration of degraded Windows '98 performance caused by Felten's Internet Explorer removal program are confirmed. Microsoft admits the video was a simulation. Do they know the difference between marketing hype for public consumption and sworn court evidence?

Interestingly, here

we learn that Dr. Allchin at one time wanted Internet Explorer separated from Windows for quality and performance reasons. He was overruled in that decision and now Microsoft wants us to believe the Orwellian-sounding proposition that a more complex operating environment (Windows with integrated Web browser) gives better quality and performance than a simpler one. That is highly improbable but, even if we grant this, it certainly gives consumers less choice in their Windows "Web browser experience."
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-05 06:17:50

Snippet:More of Microsoft's strategy for the World Wide Web comes into focus with the news that Microsoft has a patent on the idea of Cascading Style Sheets. This is an element of the newer versions of the standards for the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) under the auspices of the W3 Consortium. Microsoft is a member of the W3 Consortium and took an active role in promoting the idea of making Cascading Style Sheets into a standard. Curiously, they did not mention their patent on this idea. Yet the patent itself:

explicitly refers to the W3 Consortium's standards document.

Right now, Microsoft claims they will give a "free and reciprocal licence" to anyone who wants to use this element of HTML. There is nothing to stop them from charging for this license in the future. Unfortunately, there is nothing new in Microsoft trying to convert another organisation's standard (i.e. HTML, Java) into their own proprietary standard. Taken together with Microsoft's attempt to dominate the market for Web browsers, their plan to seize control of the Internet is clear.

For more details and discussion of the Microsoft patent on Cascading Style Sheets, see the Slashdot story at
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-05 06:54:41

Snippet:Who would ever have imagined that the Internet doesn't transport data traffic at constant speed? Not Microsoft's engineers at least. They proposed to do a performance test directly over the Internet. This can be done to some degree by a statistical analysis of the test data. But that was not Microsoft's intention.

Microsoft proposed to repeat a test that was to show that Windows98 with Felten's modification was under some circumstances up to seven times slower than Windows98 with Internet Explorer. This was their claim in court and they brought a video in as evidence. When it was discovered by the plaintiffs that the video was forged, Microsoft claimed after some confused detours that the presented video was a "simulation", merely meant to illustrate the test results. In other words, the video was a "docudrama", not a "documentary". Effectively, this means that Microsoft admitted that it misrepresented the nature of the video as "evidence", whereas it was not.

To the public and to the judge, Microsoft sought to defend its blemished credibility to repeating the test when witnessed by observers for the plaintiff. But the test now failed.

Says spokesperson Tod Nielsen:

"Each time we connected we got a different performance. It would have been unfair to either side to compare one machine at one rate and another machine at a different rate."
Giving up after four times? That doesn't sound like they were looking for statistical evidence. Why didn't they call directly into Microsoft's servers at Redmond instead of letting the connection run over the jammed Internet? And why didn't they just install a WindowsNT server with a copy of the Windows Update site locally? Microsoft hasn't been exactly forthcoming in looking for a reasonable test methodology.

Was Microsoft sorry that it couldn't back up what it had brought into court as evidence? Not in the least. I quote from a C|Net article:

Nielsen argued, though, that the Internet speed issue was not the primary part of the video demonstration, which showed that the government witness' browser-removal program "doesn't remove Internet Explorer and breaks Windows...The [Internet] performance was an additional thing that it did," he said.
If the "Internet speed issue" wasn't important, Microsoft shouldn't have brought it in as evidence. Effectively, they are now claiming that some of their evidence is truthful and some is not.

This attitude is not restricted to Microsoft's engineers. It goes up to their senior vice president of law and corporate affairs, William Neukom:

Call me old fashioned, but I want to invite each of you to take just a minute today and think about my assertion that what you just witnessed this morning isthousands of times more material and substantive to this controversy and the PC software industry than this sideshow of melodrama about four minutes of tape.

Could it be that Mr. Neukom refers to the fated attempt to repeat a test under conditions that are bound to fail as a "sideshow"? Could it be that Microsoft devised test conditions that were bound to fail, in the hope of being credited for the attempt, while being able to blame the failure to the circumstances?

Seattle Times: (Not visible for the popular "Konqueror" browser.)

Update: You can find pretty much the same point as made above in an article by John Lettice that additionally contains a chronology of the evolution of Microsoft's claims about the video:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-05 11:27:53

Snippet:As noted earlier, the Dutch government has been hanging on Bill Gates lips to learn how to introduce computers in education. Meanwhile, the scene has repeated itself in Germany.

What is the status of these visits? Is Gates acting as a neutral technology adviser? Or is his presence accepted as a Microsoft salesperson? In case of the former, the governments are deluded in believing that Gates has no interest in the outcome of his own advice. In case of the latter, I would like to learn what other salespersons have been received by the respective governments. If none, the politicians are walking the slippery slope of corruption.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-05 18:04:36

Snippet:Paul Crowley sent a message to the am-info mailinglist that I wanted to reprint here. If you won't follow all links, I suggest you pick at least the Web Standards Project press release. Here is the unabridged message:

Steve Cohen writes:
> Is this a new develoopment? If so, I've heard nothing about it. What
> patent? Please go on.

It is new; the patent was issued 12 January, but the fuss broke out when the Seybold Report covered the story on 4 Feb. Seybold is only available if you pay the pricey subscription fee, but lots of other people have been covering it since.

Wired coverage:

Slashdot coverage:

Web Standards Project press release:

The patent itself:

This is pretty bad stuff. First, it covers standards ratified by the W3C that standard browsers all have to implement; Microsoft took part in the standardisation process but did not reveal that they were applying for patents on key technologies that were part of the standard. Second, there's prior art dating back to the sixties; it seems that Microsoft will give a free license to anyone who can afford to mount a legal challenge (read: non-Open Source projects).

Stallman save us!
/ o /
/__/ Paul Crowley Upgrade your legacy NT machines to Linux /~

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-07 02:10:53

Snippet:On Bill's current European trip, he gives an interview to Denmark's national radio. A transcript can be found at

The interview is revealing in that it belies the talk in the anti-trust trial about how Linux is a great competitor to Microsoft. When the question about Linux is first posed, Gates' first reaction is to laugh. He goes on to say that Linux is "Unix as defined 20 years ago" and that Microsoft "sets out to solve a different problem" with Windows. In other words, he says Linux is obsolete and irrelevant. Finally, he does concede it is his job to fear potential competitors such as Linux. Clearly, it is also the job of the Microsoft defence lawyers to draw up paper tiger competitors in hopes of fooling the court into believing Microsoft has any serious competition.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-07 06:26:27

Snippet:In an effort to extend the W3C XML standard with a standard for storing and sharing object programming and design information, OMG members such as Unisys, IBM, Oracle, Platinum, Fujitsu, Softeam, and Daimler-Benz, and supported by Rational Software, Sprint, Sybase, Xerox, MCI Systemhouse, Boeing, Ardent, ICONIX, Integrated Systems, Verilog, NCR, and NTT, have created and accepted the new XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) format.

Microsoft, recently in the news for obtaining a patent for the one technology for which it seemed to support vendor-independent standards (CSS), is not going to play along and accuses the multitude of companies that sought a company-independent standard of waging an "attack on Microsoft".

Rule of thumb: Microsoft supports company-independent standards if-and-only-if they are not company-independent and they own the relevant patents.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-07 22:22:11

Snippet:After it was found out that a video that Microsoft presented to the court as factual material was in fact edited from video-fragments that didn't represent the actual testing, Microsoft on the one hand started calling what it earlier submitted as proof an "illustration", and on the other hand requested for an opportunity to remake the video.

To the surprise of Microsoft's engineers, it turned out that connection speeds over the Internet vary and that it is therefore not possible to obtain the kind of non-statistical facts necessary for producting a video. Given that they originally seemed to have thought that such a test over the Internet helps us to estimate the technical competence Microsoft's engineers.

Even though Allchin wasn't able to repeat the test that he set out to repeat, Microsoft's spokespersons contacted the press to tell them that the test had successfully proved the software company's major points.

Retrospectively, these claims seem to be founded in those tests that showed that if one removes the browser, browser functionality is absent (Major point, isn't it?). However, the tests showing that non-browsing functionality is also damaged - which were forged on the video and the primary reason for re-creating the video - could not be repeated.

Thus the initiative of Microsoft's spokespersons to contact the press and inform it that the test was a success, while the issues brought out in court could not be repeated, is yet another attempt by Microsoft to mislead the public.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-08 02:42:21

Snippet:Graham Lea has once more spent a busy weekend with the trial transcripts. You can find the results all over the front page of The Register:

Update: Last week's coverage of The Register included numerous article with titles like "Maritz on...". As these are now unlinked from The Register's own pages, I'll now add links here for future reference:

Coverage of the Microsoft video-affair in The Register:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-08 17:43:07

Snippet:ProComp wrote an article on Microsoft's present witness on the stand, William Poole. Mr. Poole is Senior Director, Business Development and Personal Business Systems Group.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-08 23:14:11

Snippet:If you like to read articles that depict Microsoft's present situation as not very happy, you might enjoy a couple of San Jose Mercury New articles:

Update: Richard Fane sent a reference to another good beating: And the times they are a changin' by John McCormick for Inter@ctive Week.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-09 10:34:55

Snippet:The taboo on critizing Microsoft seems to have been broken now. This seems like a landslide, but it is really only a start.

Despite the claims that several large OEMs are supporting at least one non-Microsoft operating system, the universal per-system agreements that Microsoft has with OEMs still hold: you can try it yourself. Also, these same OEMs will not touch third-party software like Sun's "Jini" as this would displease Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is one of the biggest global players in the cable-industry and is also encroaching in the wireless communications industry. Generally, we see that Microsoft is extending its reach vertically, often clearly to support the promotion of its own software in specific markets to the exclusion of the competition.

The following two articles give differing views on the important matter of how the Microsoft situation is now and what should be done about it:

ProComp: (article by Alfred Foer, President American Antitrust Institute)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-10 03:31:39

Snippet:People at ProComp seem to find delight in introducing the next Microsoft witness before he (never she in this trial) takes the stand.

Shortly, Cameron Myhrvold is Microsoft vice-president of the Internet Customer Unit. He is going to explain to us why Microsoft's regulation of ISPs - backed up by its desktop monopoly - was, and is, "pro-competitive" because it reduced Netscape's dominant market share.

More in the ProComp article:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-10 11:36:56

Snippet:Eric Bennet wrote an overview of articles indicating the development of critical coverage of Microsoft by the press to the am-info mailinglist.

You can find it here:

In an addendum he mentioned the hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the structure and power in the computer and software industry:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-10 13:11:46

Snippet:Many a company has showed its technology to Microsoft in the hope of being considered complementary and useful, and therefore worthy of the support of Microsoft's vast wealth and power over software markets

As illustration you can think of the fate of 'Go' and of the small company - sorry, forgot the name - patenting an ergonomic mouse that got branded by Microsoft after it had been shown to them, while no royalties were being payed.

It is considered normal that companies present their work to Microsoft, think e.g. of Intel's work in software and of Netscape. Microsoft support can be obtained only if you pass your secrets on to them and hiding your research and development from Microsoft is considered an affront.

In 1996 a small Scottish company tried to gain favor with Microsoft by showing them their product and the expected happened:

"A Scottish Lemon Dog has seen off Microsoft's Rocky the Dog, in a trade mark dispute. Inner Workings, a Glasgow-based interactive games developer, found that Rocky, an assistant in Office 2000, bore a strange similarity to its Lemon Dog character. Coincidently, IW had shown its trademarked dog to Microsoft at a September 1996 trade show in Frankfurt."

Once in court, Microsoft launched an army of seven lawyers and three executives against the two lawyers of the Scottish firm. An estimate was given what the costs to Microsoft would be if it would have to comply with a preliminary injunction, with the implied threat that the Scottish firm would have to pay for all of this in case it would later loose at the full hearing. In a similar situation, Sun had to deposit $15 million to be able to finance Microsoft's losses for the preliminary injunction in the java case. Such a condition would be prohibitive for a small company like Inner Workings, but fortunately the law is a bit different in Scotland than in the US. As one of Inner Workings lawyers stated: "In Scotland you are allowed to be poor and right." (Slightly paraphrased - read the article for the correct quote.)

Fearing yet another courtroom disaster, Microsoft gave in.

For the full story in The Register by Graham Lea, see:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-11 00:45:45

Snippet:Microsoft now contends in court that their exclusive agreements with ISPs merely reflect agreements in the software industry and even any industry. According to Microsoft, Netscape sought no less exclusive agreements, so Microsft can not be guilty of any crime in doing this.

This is wrong. What matters is the conditions of the agreements. Microsoft used its monopoly position on the desktop to support its position versus ISPs. Such pressure could not be exerted by Netscape. In other words, whatever the merits of MSIE, Microsoft didn't reach these agreements by the virtue of MSIE alone, it reached them by exercising its market position on the desktop.

An argument like the above won't easily be found in the coverage of a news agency like C|Net that derives a highly significant share of its advertising revenues from Microsoft. Thus you'll have to apply the above argument yourself when reading articles like:,4,32254,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-11 01:02:48

Snippet:"As Vice President of Marketing, Personal and Business Systems division at Microsoft, Brad Chase leads client and server marketing strategy and business development for the Microsoft� Windows� operating system."

From what I've glanced so far Mr. Chase's testimony doesn't seem to included a comparison of Windows+MSIE with all those other modern operating systems that integrate web browsers, but rather on the application market in web browsers, essentially limiting the discussion to MSIE vs Netscape Navigator.

Mr. Chase attempts the impossible in showing the MSIE is so much better than Navigator, that the usage of the dominant market share of the Windows operating system was entirely irrelevant to the outcome of the process of competitive weeding out. I'll happily grant that the componentized MSIE makes for easier ISV application development, but that is merely part of the story. It's the other part for which Microsoft is in court.

The summary, containing a link to the entire testimony, can be found at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-11 02:23:59

Snippet:Another Microsoft witness has just made the DOJ's point for it. Microsoft Internet Customer Unit Vice President Cameron Myrhvold admits that Microsoft was late in presenting its browser and that, if consumers were given a level playing field to choose between Internet Explorer and Netscape, he was afraid that Microsoft would not be able to dominate the market for browsers. The context of this testimony is vis a vis the exclusive deals that Microsoft made with ISP's to distribute Internet Explorer at the expense of Netscape. However, it also fits nicely as an explanation for why Internet Explorer is not a removeable part of the latest Windows release and cannot be excluded from Windows by OEM's. This admission of the desire to curtail consumer choice in browsers is an important one, since anti-trust cases are normally brought expressly to preserve consumer choice.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-11 07:31:08

Snippet:As soon as the trial started ZDNet started a scorecard. It gave points, but no explanations and was therefore not attractive to those who would like to do the counting themselves.

Fortunately, they have now (for some time) revised the presentation. On top of the page is a table with "runs", "hits" and "errors" of the respective parties and below they are explained on a day by day basis. Quite nice.


By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-11 11:40:12

Snippet:The "Citizens Against Government Waste" has some 600,000 members and less than one percent of their 1998 funding came from Microsoft. Everything they say seems to follow from the premiss that anarchy-enterprise-style is the ideal mode of existence.

Under the title "National taxpayer watchdog group condemns government meddling in high-tech industry", the CAGW has presented a press release on a report title "The government assault on high-tech" condemning government regulation in the high-tech industry. Whereas many a person can think of many forms of government intervention, the CAGW's press release is completely focused on the Microsoft trial. Dazzling application of argumentation.


Press release:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-12 01:41:25

Snippet:John Lettice of The Register read the the press release, the testimony and the transcript and wrote his own remarks. I liked them ;-).

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-12 01:46:28

Snippet:Microsoft allegedly pushed Internet Explorer by actually paying for its dissemination and requiring that Netscape's Navigator was not also distributed by the payed party.

Cameron Myhrvold claimed that the allegation is false, but hinted that the rumor may have been caused by a sweetheart deal with British UUNET Pipex. He also claimed that this deal was not related with IE. Unfortunately for Myhrvold's testimony, he exchanged emails with a British Microsoft employee on the deal. After this person, Geoff Hughes, suggested to make the payment conditional on UUNET Pipex's shipping of IE to its customers, Myhrvold replied: "I actually think tying the payment to their shipping IE is a great idea, though I would not do this formally."

Such a reply makes one wonder how much more Microsoft didn't do "formally".

You can find the article from which the above is lifted at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-13 12:01:05

Snippet:Gary Connors sent me a link to an article in the LA Times discussing Microsoft's position. I was pleased to find that IBM's old monopoly position is described as a hardware monopoly and that hardware differs from software. The difference seems quite obvious, but there are plenty of parties that claim on the one hand the especially the government is backward in understanding technological matters, while at the same time claiming that IBM's position in the past is akin to Microsoft's position today.

Anyway, I welcome suggestions for reading. I will not a regular basis scour the net myself, but I'll gladly cooperate in a distributed effort by posting what people send me.

LA Times article:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-13 12:16:07

Snippet:No doubt you are familiar with the Windows Refund Day that is to take place February 15th. You can find information at:

As for Europe, I only checked the Dutch refund site and the French one. The latter is particularly interesting. Aside from referring to the fragment of Microsoft's EULA where the refund is mentioned, we find references to both French and EU law prohibiting the tying of products. It is illegal to make buying of one product conditional for buying another - I guess that is why the EULA claims that Windows is "integrated" with the hardware. (If that were true, Microsoft would have a serious problem explaining how there could be any competition.)

Furthermore, we find a reference to Microsoft agreement with the EC about allowing computer vendors to ship systems without a Microsoft operating system without having to fear retaliation. This is the European counterpart of the "Consent Decree".

Actually, I have always been able to buy systems without an operating system. I expect that European law has something to do with that.

French Refund site:
(Guess what, it is written in French :)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-14 22:08:35

Snippet:This is about the DR-DOS case planned for this summer (remember how Microsoft wanted to delay it another 120 days?)

As with Sun about java and with the DOJ Microsoft claims that the case is groundless. By mouth of Tom Burt: "There is simply no factual basis for Caldera's claims." On the basis of Microsoft's past statements regarding lawsuits which they either lost or settled (think also of the small company that trademarked "Internet Explorer", the webcards of Blue Mountain) I find it hard to interpret Mr. Burt's words as if he uses the English language.


(I didn't see anything at Microsoft's or Caldera's websites, and so far I have only seen articles about the case in that segment of the press that has highly significant revenues from Redmond's award winning advertising budget.)

Update: It has taken some time, but you can now find a list of references to the individual motions at: Apparently, Microsoft's legal marketing department has run out of manpower, as they settled for a list of links to the actual motions as a "press release".

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-14 22:36:37

Snippet:The goal of development tools is to wrap an interaction layer around a programming language that makes it easier to produce working code with it. One can do miracles with tools without modifying the language that is to be operated on.

At Microsoft, developers think differently. Greg Leake, lead product developer of Visual Studio, stated that: "Java is under serious constraint and uncertainty over how any vendor can innovate around it, whether it's our tools or any other. We have to determine if that uncertainty is acceptable. It depends on the lawsuit. I can't speculate further than that."

Translated to the English language, Mr. Leake is waiting for the outcome of the Sun java lawsuit, where it is going to be determined if Microsoft can "steal" (their own words in internal e-mail) java or not. If so, they no longer have to accept the "serious constraint" of a given standard and can carry out their strategy of pollution. If not, they could of course produce wonderful tools - which is Mr. Leake's job - but they wouldn't want to support anything as a standard that might commoditize Windows and hence put a dent in Microsoft's monopoly position.

When Mr. Leake says: "Java is under serious constraint" he seems to mean that Microsoft policy prohibits him from developing his visual tools for the standard language.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-15 10:11:16

Snippet:Good reading:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-15 21:44:10

Snippet:Microsoft is unwilling to refund those who could obtain the computer of their choice only on the condition that they would also buy the Windows operating system. Microsoft's End User License Agreement mentions that a refund for Windows is possible, but passes the burden on to the vendor who provides the hardware and software.

Typically, such vendors have no provisions for giving refunds even though it is mentioned in the agreement. Improvising, they tend to blandly refuse them, or to offer to take both the hardware and software back.

I allege that under European law, such computer vendors are guilty of tying of products. But as the vendors have regularly - perhaps a slip of the tongue before PR directives managed to get through - claimed that they wouldn't give a refund as Microsoft let them pay for Windows for every computer shipping, it is likely that Microsoft will be dragged into the EC courts to explain its relations with the computer vendors when the latter are sued.

If Microsoft instigated computer vendors to violate the law by tying, Microsoft would be as least as guilty as the vendors themselves.

Thus, it might well be that Microsoft has obtained a short term success in warding off refund claims, but in the long run it would have been a far better strategy to happily accept such claims. Microsoft has stated that the refund actions were set up by a small group of UNIX afficionados. If this were true, they would have to pay very little for the refunds. Instead of following this sensible behavior, Microsoft has opted to follow a course that is likely to bring them back in the European courts.

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-16 10:24:52

Snippet:The Register published an article by John Lettice providing some context for the refund actions yesterday.

"Microsoft wants users to register with Microsoft in the first instance, and then to have the ability to pass the registration on to its OEM customers. This was a major factor in the tightening of the rules on boot sequence, flushing-out any PC manufacturers' registration procedures, and when online registration of new Microsoft software becomes compulsory, you'll see why Microsoft has done this. Microsoft intends to own the customer base, it won't let the PC manufacturers have it."

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-16 13:54:02

Snippet:You can find the text of the hand-out that Microsoft presented to refund seekers here:

The people that were forced by OEMs to pay for the Windows product for which the sale was tied to the computer are considered "valued customers" by Microsoft. However, "valued" these customers are and however willing Microsoft is to "listen" to them, they are entirely unwilling to provide a refund.

Note that Microsoft does not sell ownership for Windows but merely grants a license if certain conditions are fulfilled. One of these restrictions is that one is not allowed to sell the license to others. In other words, Microsoft's licensing politics prohibits the creation of a market for Windows. Those that are forced to buy Windows would violate the law if they attempt to sell it to somebody else who is interested in using the product and obtaining a license.

Thus, Microsoft's responsibility for the Windows license is larger than they seem to accept today. By attempting to evade this responsibility, Microsoft is inviting legal action.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-16 21:46:48

Snippet:Jerry Passacaglia sent me a link to a list of reports on the antitrust trial. Due to bad connectivity, I only read the first - discussing Vinod Valloppil showing KDE and telling the unwitting audience that they are looking at the "Caldera Operating System". The writer of the article didn't notice the KDE part, but did take the trouble to mention that Paul Maritz, praising Linux to the skies today, was last year dismissing the OS as a "curiosity". Did so much change in the meantime?

I especially liked the statement that one reporter remarked to another that Microsoft's claims about how good other products are would do fine in advertising campaigns. Just today I read at the Koffice mailinglist that someone suggested to place Microsoft's remarks on oath in a web page under the category "user testimonies".

(real-timing/waiting for the page)Ah, page two of the list has just been loaded. I'll read on a bit, but post this now.

Here's the link to the first of the pages:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-17 00:47:36

Snippet:Microsoft's proposal nine years ago to let Intuit restrict itself to DOS and the Macintosh is yet another illustration of their strategy to implement a centrally planned industry where companies carry out their assigned role instead of competing with one another.


By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-17 11:09:17

Snippet:After an initial preliminary decision that the deposits were to be kept secret at Microsoft's request, despite the letter of the law, stalling the process of a final decision after that, and then deciding that the law was to be upheld and the deposits were to be made public (and accessible to the press), we now find that they are still kept secret to give Microsoft a chance to appeal.

(Same article as in previous item.)
See bottom remarks of:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-17 11:17:47

Snippet:The language of the testimony sounds as if Mr. Rose is fulfilling cross-promotional agreements with Microsoft.

"In short, since the inception of our company, Microsoft and Compaq have worked together to make personal computers less expensive, easier to use, more reliable, more functional, and faster for customers. Today's Compaq computers with Microsoft products deliver far greater performance per dollar than past products."

I find it quite interesting that Mr. Rose thinks that a "medium-functionality consumer PC" costs $1500. On the basis of trade press articles I got the impression that $500 PCs are here now and $750 is pretty "medium". It is a pity that Mr. Rose missed the chance to come with the following data that Compaq should be able to provide: put shipping PC's in price classes, weigh them with the number of sales (it would be interesting to find out if - say 70% - of all consumers would buy PC's cheaper than Mr. Rose's "medium-functionality consumer PC), and determine the percentage of Windows of the total price.

Although Mr. Rose has a story to tell about Microsoft's threat to terminate Compaq's Windows license, he doesn't seem all that sure. Why is he saying "As I look back on the facts today, I do not believe that Microsoft's actions..." - instead of "It was clear to Compaq at that moment as it is today, that Microsoft's actions...":

"Microsoft in no way limits Compaq in its license agreements or OPK from including Netscape's icon. Indeed, it is my understanding that Microsoft issued the notice of intent to terminate Compaq's license agreement solely in response to Compaq's removal of the MSN and Internet Explorer icons. As I look back on the facts today, I do not believe that Microsoft's actions had anything to do with whether Compaq in 1996 was also loading Netscape Navigator or any other non-Microsoft product onto its Presario computers."

You can find the summary here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-17 11:53:10

Snippet:Rapidly increasing political staff, attempts to persuade states to drop the case, supporting loud pressure groups, and well, the nationwide advertisements weren't mentioned.

James Grimaldi of the Seattle Times reports:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-18 09:49:16

Snippet:Only a few days after protesters took the trouble to come by Microsoft's office to request a refund for software that is tied with hardware according to Microsoft's contracts with OEM's but not used by people who prefer to use an alternate operating system - a large and growing number according to Microsoft's sworn statements in court - we can read in the Washington Post that no consumers have been harmed.

Apperently, Mr. Ignatius of the Washington Post hasn't been following the news. But then, what support does he give for his claim? Well, he finds that prices of both browsers have fallen to zero and that Netscape has distributed some 150 million browsers since 1995.

First of all, Mr. Ignatius is wrong about the prices of browsers having fallen to zero. As MSIE is now a component of Windows, and a very large one at that, its price is part of the price for Windows. Microsoft has claimed that the price of Windows hasn't fallen as it has added new components but forgot to emphasize that MSIE is one of those components that keep Windows prices up.

Given that Microsoft can distribute its browser in such a way that consumers buying a license for Windows are also taxed for using MSIE, while Netscape cannot charge money for its stand-alone browser as it would directly translate to a margin price increase for consumers the situation isn't as rosy as Mr. Ignatius presents to us.

Does anyone remember how the source code to Windows is Microsoft's "crown jewels"? Well, Netscape gave their sources to their browser away. Must we not consider that an admission of defeat if we follow Microsoft's standards?

Microsoft has managed to have consumers being taxed for their browsers while their marginal prices are zero. Thus it has managed to put pressure on the revenues of stand-alone competitors while receiving handsome revenues on their own development efforts.

I wonder if Mr. Ignatius thinks that low-cost housing and free medical attention were a benefit to Soviet consumers. Mr. Ignatius appears to be one of those persons that believe that consumers are better served by some central agency than by a competitive market.

Well, you can find the article here:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-18 10:24:22

Snippet:The anti-trust trial lately has taken a faster pace with the DOJ's Boies doing the cross-examination of Microsft's witnesses. Yesterday, Compaq executive John Rose was on the stand when he admitted to Judge Jackson that presently, "there are no commercially viable alternatives to Windows." More detail is here:

Today, the report from Graham Lea here has it that, contrary to Microsoft's assertions, the decision to tie Internet Explorer to Windows was not made until "at least 28 March 1997." Apparently, this decision was based on market research Microsoft had done and not on any grand technological visions from above. Together, these revelations are more blows to an already severely compromised Microsoft defence.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-19 05:36:29

Snippet:The pattern of Microsoft's latest testimonies seems to be a written testimony saying something like "Gosh, how can anyone think that..." followed by an admission in court saying "Well, actually we...".

Rather pitiful for the executives for that are forced to play hide-and-seek with truth.

Eric Engstrom is Microsoft's General Manager of MSN Internet Access, his testimony can be found here:

Dan Rosen is Microsoft's General Manager of new technology, his testimony can be found here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-19 11:20:58

Snippet:Richard Fane sent in a link to a BusinessWeek article on the many forces working against Microsoft's success.

"All told, Windows isn't looking like the supermagnet it once was. And unless Microsoft regains momentum quickly with Win2000 and some of its other initiatives, it might see its influence dwindle further--and with it earnings. That's good news for competitors but not investors. They have bid Microsoft's stock up to nearly $400 billion. If Bill Gates stumbles now--in court or in the marketplace--investors will end up being the ones with the real W2K problem in the Y2K."


(I registered there some time ago to read a special on Microsoft, but found that this required more than free access privileges. I was happy to find that the free registration gave access to this article.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-19 11:34:28

Snippet:Compaq's John Rose's credibility was damaged during the trial:
  • He misrepresented the involvement of Microsoft with the preparation of his testimony.
  • Compaq and Microsoft seem to have fabricated dummy contracts to camouflage their real agreements.
  • (As a little extra: Compaq seems to have violated a non-disclosure agreement by passing information from Be Inc. to Microsoft. It will be noted that Microsoft has brought forward repeatedly that Be is a competitor of Microsoft.)


Update: The New York Times came down pretty hard on the testimony too:

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-19 18:57:57

Snippet:A class-action suit has been brought against Microsoft and the major OEM partners of its trust for damages inflicted by monopolistic pricing of its products. As became clear during the Windows Refund events, Microsoft holds OEMs like Compaq, Dell and Packard Bell responsible for tying the sale of the Windows operating system to their computer systems.

The resulting trust is used against the functioning of the market: the OEMs help Microsoft by not pre-installing non-Microsoft software on their machines, and if they behave well, Microsoft does them the favor of charging them way below retail prices.

Although Compaq now claims that a "medium" consumer PC now costs some $1500, I believe that it is actually much less. (Especially if you take in account that many consumers are not buying their first PC and are able and willing to use their old monitor and speakers, but perhaps that is only for price-conscious people like me.)

The difference between the retail price for Windows and the price on the basis of an exclusive deal is large enough to make up a highly significant percentage of the profits for OEMs. Thus OEM profits are to a significant degree determined not by their business acument, but by the degree Microsoft is willing to reward them for complying with Microsoft's demands.

Well, the setup looks like a classic conspiracy against consumers and that's what has given rise to the class-action suits.

"MS socked with two class action suits",4586,2213207,00.html

"Charles Lingo: Microsoft's worst enemy",4586,2213263,00.html

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-20 12:57:51

Snippet:Pursuant to the preliminary injunction telling Microsoft to comply with Sun's Java specification or warn developers their tools may produce incompatible code, Microsoft sought a clarification on whether the injunction would cover "an independently produced Java." Judge Ronald Whyte has ruled that, since neither party has brought up that possibility before, the injunction would not cover an independently produced Java.

If this part of the ruling is read, it appears to be a victory for Microsoft and, indeed, Microsoft lost little time in declaring it as such. But Microsoft is of course still not allowed to infringe Sun's Java trademarks or copyrights. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for the 12th of March. At this point, it is not clear what the ruling would mean in practice.

Why would Microsoft seek such a ruling? Nothing would prevent Microsoft from coming up with their own "innovative" C++ successor language and declaring it to be superior to Java. The only purpose in seeking the judge's approval for an independently developed Java would be as a way to get around the injunction and still create confusion in the Java market with a product that is Java in name but just another Windows development tool in practice.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-20 17:28:06

Snippet:Ian Kluft of the Silicon Valley Linux User Group (SVLUG) wrote a short article on the benefits of the Essential Facility remedy.

The best thing for both competition and consumers would be to have true standards to which software makers adhere. The rapid success of the Internet is a prime example of this. Microsoft has a history of fighting open standards to prevent its software from being "commoditized" (in other words, to maintain its monopoly position).

It would be rather rough to tell Microsoft it has to adhere to standards that others come up with. (Drop nationalistic presuppositions, don't think of the US government, think of the US government + EC + MITI.)

The alternative is allow Microsoft to come up with any new protocol they like, on the condition that they fully document it, so that it can't be used to deny entrance to the market to new players. In other words, to prohibit Microsoft to use new protocols for the purpose of fighting commoditization.

You can find Ian's article here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-21 15:15:17

Snippet:A class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for monopolistic pricing won't lead to a sufficient return of money to consumers to be worth the trouble.

The real benefits of such a lawsuit might rather be that it hurts Microsoft's name (think of all those spokespersons and commentators that claim that consumers aren't heard against Microsoft) and it might lead to a decrease in monopolistic abuse to prevent such a lawsuit from succeeding.

Per consumers the benefits are small, but per lawyer they can be enormous. The system of taxation that Microsoft created with the trust with OEMs might be a true goldmine for lawyers that manage to win a class-action lawsuit and get a percentage of what Microsoft is to pay. Indeed, "it's a wonder anyone waited this long".


(Link courtesy of Richard Fane.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-21 15:29:53

Snippet:... I can go back to programming.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dan Gillmor's article:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-21 16:13:14

Snippet:For a couple of months now John Katz has been writing items for and I saw at the bottom of his San Jose Mercury News article "The end of the Microsoft Age" that he even has a e-mail account. Strikes me as cool.

Anyway, the article is here:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-22 11:24:16

Snippet:Katie Hafner wrote for a follow-up on the results of Gates' multi-billion dollar donations to be spent on placing computers in public libraries.

(New York Times: registration required.)

(One of those ubiquitous Microsoft advertisements accompanied the article as I viewed it: (1)"SQL SERVER 7.0" (iterated all over) - (2) People continue to talk about Microsoft SQL 7.0" - (3) Find out what it all means - (4) Attend one-day meeting for $99 /click here/. -- You mean I should follow a course on something because other people "continue to talk about it"?)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-22 11:37:20

Snippet:Business Week Online reports that although the DOJ wasn't able to find any OEMs who would testify against Microsoft, many were subpoenaed for depositions, and the government has placed their statements into evidence.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-22 21:38:47

Snippet:Microsoft witness Dan Rosen holds fast to his claim that Microsoft wanted to partner, not compete, with Netscape.Now if he can just explain why it necessary to "wrest" leadership from them.,4538,2213920,00.html
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-22 21:42:49

Snippet:Story by Robin Raskin, FamilyPC

"While the Justice Department and Bill Gates
have locked horns over whether Microsoft is
guilty of monopolistic business practices, I
think Microsoft is guilty of a bigger crime. Its
real crime over the years has been its lack of
concern for reliability."

I wonder if the New York Times will pick up on this?,4858,388390,00.html
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-22 22:33:36

Snippet:"Over the years, Compaq has been the most aggressive among the personal computer makers in seeking a measure of independence from Microsoft, even as it is one of Microsoft's closest allies and largest customer. Frequently, Compaq's actions have not fit neatly into the picture of a company in Microsoft's monopolistic grip, constantly seeking favors and ever-fearful of reprisal -- the picture the government tried to paint in court last week when a Compaq executive took the stand as a defense witness for Microsoft.

Yet it is also true that there is an established pattern to the Compaq-Microsoft relationship: Compaq takes an independent path, Microsoft bristles and an accommodation is made."
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 01:48:35

Snippet:I'm legal expert, but I think it's a bad sign when, during your testimony, the spectators laugh out loud and the judge rolls his eyes.

Microsoft witness contradicts himself and others

"I thought the points on the witness's credibility had been made," Boies said, after abruptly ending his questioning of Rosen at 3:30 p.m. EST when it was expected to continue for at least another hour. "The witness countered his own deposition, the depositions of other people, his own documents, and the documents of others."

By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 03:11:41

Snippet:Legal experts wonder if the first two consumer oriented law suits are about to start a stampede.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 16:48:23

Snippet:Here's The Register's take on Dan Rosen's testimony.

``A recent wise-crack we heard was: "It's so characteristic of them to not prepare their case meticulously, but rather ship first and try to debug in the field," which basically sums it up.``

MS trial to recess over March - this story has a little more to say about Mr. Rosen's credibility.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 17:01:38

Snippet:Here's an excellent BBC produced summary of last weeks testimony by Microsoft VP Brad Chase and Compaq VP John Rose.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 17:18:59

Snippet:This is an editorial at the San Jose Mercury:

``How could this company, with 40 percent profit margins, that is supposedly driving their competitors in the ground, be so inept when it comes to putting on a few witnesses in court?'' Robert Levy, a senior fellow at the libertarian
Cato Institute, commented in the Seattle Times. The question continues to perplex trial observers.

Does the Internet affect only the people who use it? Or does it affect everybody?

Another San Jose Mercury editorial - she considers the effects of the immediate release of trial transcripts on the Internet.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 17:33:02

Snippet:The Register takes a peek at the written testimony of Joachim Kempin.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-23 23:50:31

Snippet:Mary Jo Foley, Sm@art Reseller

At the start of this morning's proceeding, Judge Jackson quipped that "It's always inspiring to watch young people embark on heroic endeavors," seemingly in anticipation of Lacovara's attempt to reverse the damage to Rosen's credibility which Boies managed to instill among many of those watching the trial yesterday.,4586,2214885,00.html

U.S. Says Microsoft Witness Made Up Evidence
By David Lawsky

Boies showed an e-mail Rosen wrote May 11, before the meeting: "Can I borrow/copy the Netscape Win95 new client they gave us?" meaning the new Netscape browser.

Rosen said he never actually got the browser. He said it was a test version that did not work, which a colleague received at a meeting with Netscape.

Boies looked at the witness and said slowly: "You don't remember that, do you sir? You're just making that up right now."
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-24 00:08:15

Snippet:By Mary Jo Foley, Sm@rt Reseller
"In his testimony, Kempin revisits charges against Microsoft of product tying, exclusionary contracts and prohibitive first-boot requirements. And like a number of his Microsoft predecessors on the stand, Kempin devotes much of his testimony to splitting hairs regarding the meaning of terms, such as "browser.",4586,2214716,00.html
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-24 03:17:28

for the San Jose Mercury

"In contrast with Monday, when Rosen's frequent blunders elicited occasional laughter from those in the courtroom, today's antics were greeted with silence, either from a sense of empathy, or because those present just wanted the show to end."

Another one bites the dust
Commentary by Rich Gray

"As I read the reports of this morning's dismantling of Daniel Rosen, I realized I did not have the heart to mock Microsoft's witnesses on a day when one of them had effectively been stripped naked in open court."
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-24 08:47:42

Also see:

Recent Techrights' Posts Still At It! 98% Probability Chatbot Generated, According to GPTZero!
"The Internet is mostly made by AI... but that's ok, it's all being deleted anyway."
Ireland Exits Microsoft's Vista 11
Microsoft can't be doing too well in Ireland because Microsoft had tons of layoffs in that country last year
A Recognition for Hard Work
Running this site is a lot of work
The Web We Lost...
Vintage War Censorship Poster...
Daniel Pocock (IND) in European Election Debate
In this segment he speaks of the effects of social control media and phones on children
[Meme] Next Target: Sub Domains
The "D" in Debian Stands for Dictatorship That Extents to Censorship at DNS Level
Of course the registrar, which charged for domains until 2025, just went along with it
In Republic of (South) Korea, as of This Month, Android Climbs to Record High of 48%
Judging by statCounter anyway
"Linux" is Second-Class Citizen at IBM
sends the wrong message to Red Hat staff and Red Hat clients
Links 24/05/2024: More Software Patents Invalidated (US), New Fights to Protect Free Speech
Links for the day
"You Touched the Wrong Lady"
What Rianne wrote more than 8 months ago
Links 24/05/2024: Layoffs at LinkedIn and Election Interference Via Social Control Media
Links for the day
Getting a 'Thank You' From Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) Will Cost You $5,000 to $30,000 (Same as Last Year)
Right now one of their associates (SFC) tries to spend money to censor us
KDE Neon Weirdness
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Congratulations to Sirius Open Source, Still Claiming to Employ People Who Left Half a Decade Ago (or More!)
What signal does that send to con men?
[Meme] Bluewashing
Cent OS? No more.
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 23, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, May 23, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Tenfold Increase for ChromeOS+GNU/Linux in Brunei
Brunei Darussalam is a country most people don't know about and never even heard about
Coming Soon: Another Round of 'Cancel Stallman' Chorus
The series required a great deal of patience
Links 23/05/2024: SeekOut Collapsing and Why Microsoft Probably Isn’t Going to Buy Valve
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/05/2024: The Allure of Vinyl
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: Apple Responds to Streaming Music Fine, DOJ to Sue Live Nation
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: UK General Election and Archival
Links for the day
[Video] 3 Major Issues in Nationwide, Including (Potentially) a Major Data Breach
'electronic-bank' security has become the joke of the town
[Meme] Pointing Out Corruption Isn't a "Hate Crime"
The European Commission's reflexive (re)action to any sort of doubt or criticism
More Evidence in "iLearn AI Day" (a Buzzwords Festival) That EPO Intends to Eliminate Staff and Deviate Further Away from Fairness, Law, and Constitutions (Including Its Own!)
The EPO is a very potent danger to Europe's unity and the very concept of lawfulness. It exists to serve international monopolists and patent lawyers.
Microsoft's Windows Has Fallen Below 3% in Democratic Republic of the Congo (100+ Million Citizens)
Microsoft's sharp fall in Congo
The Real Reason Censorship is Attempted Against Us (and Against Others Too)
Microsoft's Windows market monopoly was in trouble
You Are Not The Only One
Reprinted with permission from Cyber Show (C|S)
GNU/Linux in Monaco: From 0.3% to Almost 6%
Monaco is a small country
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Microsoft Has Lost Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast), Where Android Now Exceeds 60% of the Operating Systems' 'Market Share'
According to statCounter anyway
The Rumour Said Later Today Red Hat (IBM) Might Announce Layoffs
Let's see what happens later today (or next week)
Governments That Fail Journalism
Australia is known for giving us pure garbage like Rupert Murdoch
Windows Has Fallen From 'Grace'
When you tell people that Microsoft watches their every move in Windows many of them will freak out and ask for alternatives
Serbia: GNU/Linux at Almost 4% (or Beyond if ChromeOS is Counted)
considerable growth for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: China in Other Countries' Islands, Growing Threat of Piracy
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/05/2024: Freedom Through Limitation, Cloud Photos
Links for the day
Canonical Supports Monopoly
more of the same
A farewell to Finland, an occupied territory
Finland, Finland, Finland
Links 22/05/2024: "Copilot+" as Mass Surveillance and Microsoft Defying Consent in Scarlett Johansson's Case
Links for the day
[Meme] Escalating After Failures
4 stages of cancel culture
Red Hat Had 2+ Days to Deny Reports of Impending Layoffs. But Red Hat Chose to Keep Silent.
Red Hat DOES NOT deny layoffs on the way
Microsoft-Connected Person Was Threatening to Sue Me and to Sue My Wife (Because His Feelings Were Hurt After Had He Spent More Than a Decade Defaming Me and Violating My Family's Dignity, Privacy)
litigation was chosen and we shall defend everything we wrote
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 21, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Attempts to Sink the Free Software Movement (Under the Guise of Saving It)
We can see who's being drowned
Czech Republic: Windows Down From 98% to 43%, GNU/Linux Rises to Over 3%
modest gains for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: Pixar Layoffs and More Speculation About Microsoft Shutdowns/Layoffs (Ninja Theory)
Links for the day
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megabreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?