Bonum Certa Men Certa

Billwatch Snippets Database - Part III

Snippet:You can find the full testimony at:

If you want to define a peck-order at Microsoft, I guess Kempin would rank just after Maritz.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-24 10:28:36

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

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

Here is a discussion of a recent attempt to get a refund from Dell:
and a additional message with undetailed but, if true, interesting story how Dell is alleged to extend its tying practices even beyond the operating system.

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

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

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

"Microsoft's lawyers also refused to accept that this case is as much a public-relations battle as a legal one. And on the publicity front, as even they now concede, they have been clobbered."
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-24 17:35:26

Snippet:Gates thanks Compaq witness for help over trial

Compaq testimony points to murky secrets of MS relationship
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-24 19:43:43 can try:

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

(Link courtesy of Rick Fane.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-25 00:29:52

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


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

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

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

A report on the testimony can be found here:
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-02-25 06:57:44

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

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

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

When asked, Kempin condeded that, "in general," computer makers couldn’t customize their registration routines until Windows 98 appeared in the market -- some eight months after the start of the legal battle between Microsoft and the Department of Justice.'
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-25 07:28:13

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

Snippet:ProComp brought together some familiar quotes in "Joachim Kempin - The Enforcer":
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-25 12:08:36

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

the Register - How MS tried to keep the lid on its OEM customers
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-25 16:19:48

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

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

Washington Post - Microsoft Officials Deny Sabotage
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-25 16:44:51

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

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

Sm@rt Reseller - MS: OEMs can't rewrite Windows

Sm@rt Reseller - MS v. DOJ: What went wrong?
Mary Jo Foley wonders if MS executives are arrogant, stupid, fatalistic or what.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-25 17:15:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS exec denies Java claims
USA Today
A Microsoft executive denied claims that the company illegally tried to "pollute" Java, a computer language that threatens its Windows dominance.?
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-26 06:55:42

Snippet:The ruling phrase in Microsoft's agreements with OEMs is "Do not modify...".

See John Lettice's analysis of the standard agreement in The Register:
(Update: See also John Lettice on the "great white whale":
So why aren't OEMs allowed to change the installation of the systems that they ship at will?

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

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

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

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

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

Melville's struggle

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

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

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

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

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

Trial Focuses On Document From Gateway
Washington Post By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

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

Microsoft's "Harpoon" Defense
Wired News by Declan McCullagh

Microsoft Picks Prices Without Worry of Competition

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

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

Judge grills Microsoft executive
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-26 17:18:31

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

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

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

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

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

Judge shouts at Microsoft witness
San Jose Mercury

Microsoft trial recesses with defense in disarray
San Jose Mercury

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

Time to run up the white flag for MS?

If Microsoft loses, what next?

With a Microsoft victory looking bleak, what's ahead?
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-27 01:04:01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even If Microsoft Crashes, It May Not Get Burned
Business Week Online By Mike France
How can that be? Primarily, because in spite of how dominant Microsoft looked when the Justice Dept. was preparing its case against the company last year, the software market is changing so rapidly that Bill Gates’s position already appears weaker than it did just a few months ago. If the trend continues, that means any justification for strong remedies would lose force in the face of the company’s market vulnerability.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-02-27 17:54:33

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

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

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

See JavaWorld article "The Volano Report":

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

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

Snippet:Okay, its a bit after the fact, but you can find Robert Muglia's testimony here:

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Muglia's testimony is an application of Microsoft's standard approach to criticism: single out the critic and turn him/her/it into a non-entity. Microsoft attempts to create the game of divide and conquer by telling how restrictive Sun's control over the language is. Given that IBM, Oracle, Novell, Sun, and even tiny companies like Tower and Transvirtual sell their own java implementations while benefitting from the standardization process, it is hard to believe that Microsoft attempt to undermine the standardization is "pro-competitive". Also it is hard to believe that Microsoft's opponent is merely Sun. With java's low barriers of entry (compare this to the barriers of entry to writing an implementation of the "Windows standar"), Microsoft's enemy here are many companies, both large and small. The observation that several large companies have embraced the java standard has been countered by Microsoft by their "Gang of Four" conspiracy theory. Giving such a description to adhering to a standard is the product of a sick and paranoic mind. Such are the people that make up Microsoft.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-02-28 21:12:19

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

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

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

This will be an interesting track to follow.

The quote is from "Linux legions devoted to alternative":
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-01 01:57:07

Snippet:Well, there are no like menus for items at The Register yet, so I'll just insert a batch of links here:All articles were written by Graham Lea except where noted.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-01 13:16:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft, U.S. Have Everything to Settle For

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

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

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

Microsoft Trial Recesses With Defense In Disarray

The Microsoft Mind-Set
the Washington Post By David Ignatius

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

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

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


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

"We do not believe the government has begun to show the evidence that is required to support ... their case."
This is the "Microspin" on what by every other account has been a compelling set of evidence shown by the government.

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

Neukom then says that

"We're in a very innovative business where companies reinvent themselves and their product lines on a very rapid basis. The notion that the government can observe this torrent of innovation in technology and decide who ought to do what in terms of the design of their products I think is foolish."
I agree with that as far as to say that companies and individuals should generally be free of outside interference in how they conduct their business. But it is well known that Microsoft regularly uses its muscle to tell other companies what they should be offering and/or how to design their products. In contrast, I have seen no indications that the government wants to regulate the software industry beyond enforcement of current laws such as anti-trust.

The text of the interview can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the Inter@ctive Week Online editorial here:,3443,2217918,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-02 22:33:48


ZDNN's John Dvorak posts a preview of Microsoft's plans for the consumer version of the next generation of Windows:,5859,2218828,00.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A must read.

See: "Microsoft defense falls flat",

and "Microsoft concessions during cross-examination",
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-04 02:50:20

Snippet:According to this article:

despite how poorly Microsoft is showing in its anti-trust trial, Wall Street still strongly rates Microsoft as a "buy". An anti-trust appeal is expected and any remedies are a distant prospect.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-03-04 19:41:22

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

Advocate Issues Windows Warning
Wired News by Chris Oakes

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

Microsoft-Bristol trial taking shape
CNET By Dan Goodin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

New York Times article re-published by Mercury Center:

("Microsoft admits privacy problem, plans fix" - Hahaha)

LinuxToday editorial by Paul Ferris:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-07 20:27:59

Snippet:Eric Bennett wrote a thoughtful article on possible remedies for Microsoft's monopolistic abuses. It was published at Boycott Microsoft (


Personally, I have no faith at all in any form of breaking up Microsoft. The reason why one would do such a thing is to artificially create competition in the hope that other competitors would enter too. However, the resulting situation would be one in which the same gang of executives would run the industry that does so today. Could anyone who has studied the tangled testimonies of Microsoft's executives seriously doubt that any law or agreement would keep the Microsoft parts from colluding to perpetrate their present behavior, with the additional ratification that a remedy against monopolistic abuse has already taken place?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-08 01:45:47

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

I've toyed with the idea of trying Windows 98 Lite but I'd have to buy Windows 98 to do it and I don't see any benefit to be derived from it. However, I do find it encouraging that an industry pundit who has much of his career invested in Microsoft products is willing to poke Bill Gates in the eye.
By:Rick Fane
Date:1999-03-08 20:23:26

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The full article can be found here:

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

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

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

"Programs are Programs"
Annual Subscription Fees for Software

"The Bad Faith of Microsoft"

"Who is really running Microsoft?" - NC World - November 1997
(Microsoft product development is directed by competitive threats -- including antitrust action -- rather than by attempts at technical improvement.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-09 12:24:33

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

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

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

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

Snippet:The issue of "market development funds", now known from the OEM Windows "rebates", is related to shelf space in retail. Also the issue of incompatible file formats is touched. (It doesn't matter that you can work perfectly well with your wordprocessing software: you must buy a new version as other people send you documents "encrypted" with the new file format.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-09 13:09:31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

under the Billwatch "Background" section.
By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-03-10 17:18:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the right product at the right time.

See: I, Cringely

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


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

The full Register article is at Also, The Microsoft Hall of Innovations gives an idea of just what an "engine of innovation" Microsoft is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: "The positive side of government suits"
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-14 16:34:45

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

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

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

An itemized analysis like this can be used to one's advantage as a checklist for press releases - by whatever party! - in the Microsoft case.

(Let me encourage you to read the next two pages too: and
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-15 13:01:36

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

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

"MS reorg - Gates burnt out, so spin him off?"

It is nice to see that someone shares my impression of Gates' present role of traveling salesman peddling his companies' wares to governments.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-15 13:11:51

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

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

"Microsoft's Counterattack to Focus on Rivals' Linkup" - Steve Lohr (NYT)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-16 00:03:18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surely I am going to buy this book. Reading it is going to be fun. Incidentally, those interested rather in obtaining knowledge of the roles e-mail can play in an organization rather than in finding quotes to make nasty remarks about Microsoft, might be interested in the book "Connections - new ways of working in the networked organization" by Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler. I bought it in March 1994 - before Microsoft even noticed the Internet - and it was published by MIT in 1991.

Here is a link to a ZDNet article outlining the twelve step business plan Gates' proposes in his (I wonder who wrote it this time) new book:,4586,2226425,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-16 10:10:28


This article from the New York Times News Service:,1051,SAV-9903160200,00.html
reviews the Microsoft anti-trust case from the perspective of the 19 states. Apparently, since Microsoft is ignoring Judge Jackson's advice and not trying to negotiate a settlement, the discussion centers on remedies. Fines are a possibility, but how would an appropriate fine be computed? My favourite remedy, opening the Windows source code to 3rd parties to allow for competition in the PC operating system market, is also a possibility. After all, Intel licences its x86 processor specifications and now there is thriving competition in the market for x86-compatible processors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ruthlessly modified after initial posting)

James Grimaldi set out reading Gates' deposit and found no signs of the out-of-context quoting that Microsoft's press statements have alleged. He attempts to sum up the main points of the deposit without lingering on the items that earlier caught the attention of the press. See:

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

Snippet:From the "Drudge Report":


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

The world's richest man gives the world 12 steps for the world's businesses to survive in a new digital world -- a sneak peek from his forthcoming book, BUSINESS @ THE SPEED OF THOUGHT.

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

Corporate synergy turned sinergy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FSC probing Microsoft dispute
Korea Times

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

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

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

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

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

Let's make sure Microsoft gets the Word on Linux
The Boston Globe by Simson Garfinkel
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-18 18:09:50


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update:Better check out the WSP press release instead of Newsbytes' rehash referred to above:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-19 17:48:51


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning to read Bill Gates
ComputerWorld Today by Don Tennant
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-20 20:42:50

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

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

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

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

Junkbuster's GUID news item

Junkbusters: Microsoft and the GUID

Junkbuster's account of Microsoft's past record

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

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

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

MS threatened by Euro privacy probe
The Register by Mike Magee

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

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

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

Note that an important part of Mr. Mehdi's defense consists of "association". Microsoft supports TrustE and BBBline and helps define privacy standards. This defense is invalid, of course, as we are not talking about definitions and policies but about actual actions and there Microsoft falls short. Note the parallel with Microsoft's dealings with W3C: they take part in the standardization process, but they don't actually adopt the standards in their products as the recent release of MSIE 5 demonstrated.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-20 23:12:40


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

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

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

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

Microsoft responds to the easy removal of IE from Windows 98

Readers report their results in removing IE from Windows 98

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the first two paragraphs from their press release:

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

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

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

(Follow the "news" link.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-24 01:51:10

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

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

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

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

Massive ralley against Microsoft due today
Korea Times
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-24 02:14:39

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

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

The conclusion of the report states:

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

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

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

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

Bristol Technology names witnesses in Microsoft antitrust case
press release

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

Bristol seeks access to Caldera documents
ZDNN by Mary Jo Foley

I wonder what effect the popularization of the notion of "opensource" as a viable business option will have on Microsoft's attempt to heavily raise the price of access to Windows sources. (Think not only of the traditional open source born projects, but also of freed sources by e.g. IBM, Apple, and now Novell -,4,34188,00.html)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-24 18:26:45

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

Split Up Microsoft? No Way, Says Gates
PC World

Well, from his deposit we had already gleaned that nobody tells Bill anything, and what he is being told, he easily forgets. From the fragments of his keynote published in the article, it sure seems that Gates is out of sync with the world as we know it.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-24 18:54:41

Snippet:Chosun Ilbo's front page displays an image of a groups protesters against Microsoft's high price for Windows: The text with the image is:

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

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

A description of the motivation behind the protest can be found here:

Meanwhile a crackdown on illegal software in Korea is announced: and If even government instances pay for hardly more than half their software installations, piracy really must be rampant in Korea.

(All links were taken from an item at

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

(,4586,2231583,00.html - no need to follow the link if you have already seen the Reuters article.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-25 22:33:28

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

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

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

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

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

Gates also said Microsoft puts more features into its products.

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

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

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

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

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

Snippet:MS planning shedloads of Windows NT variants by John Lettice

MS-DoJ deal talks scheduled for Tuesday by Graham Lea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for the Numinous Technologies buyout, see:,4,34327,00.html?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-27 13:39:32


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Status Report: March 1999
United States v. Microsoft Corporation

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

Snippet:Pretty rough opinion piece:

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

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

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

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

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

Best be very wary of Microsoft bearing settlement offer
Mercury News by Dan Gillmor
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-30 19:37:12

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

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

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

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

Why Bill Gates still doesn't get the Net
Salon Magazine by Scott Rosenberg
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-31 14:08:49

Snippet:Gates promo tour cost to exceed book revenues

Gates interviews - more rewrites of history from Bill

States push for shackles on MS in settlement talks

First MS-DoJ settlement talks fail to leak

All articles by Graham Lea.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-03-31 14:22:33

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

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

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

History repeats itself. For the latest news on the present incarnation of the event of MS seeking access to confidential information of its competitors, see e.g. "MS demands more Sun, AOL Netscape documents" by Graham Lea,

(PS For an impression of how Microsoft goes to court, a fragment from the book below the one just quoted: "The might of Microsoft's legal machine was not lost on Judge Orrick, who remarked at one point, "I counted - just for something to do - the number of lawyers on the defendants' side, which is twenty-seven.")
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-01 00:38:08

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-01 12:27:10

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

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

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

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

ComputerWorld: "EDS Y2K about-face raises Win 95 doubts"

Update: I hadn't thought of this right away, but if companies update Windows95 to Windows98 for the sole reason of being Y2K compliant, they will probably have to buy new hardware in order to be able to run Windows98 at all. Thus costs are mounting up.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-01 23:41:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snippet:After writing "Microsoft's Holy War on Java" (,5,26707,00.html), CNET reporter Dan Goodin found himself subpoenaed by Microsoft.

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

Microsoft subpoenas news reporter for secret documents

Cnet Reporter Wins First Amendment Victory in Microsoft Dispute
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-03 22:15:20


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

PointCast plight reveals Microsoft plans,4,34586,00.html?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Exercise 2: Control User Access to Internet Sites

What You Will Learn

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

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

Internet Access Fundamentals

(BTW As I expect history to be rewritten, I have saved the page.)
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-06 23:54:40

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

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

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

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


MS blames Sun for plan to de-emphasise Visual J

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

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

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

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

South Carolina not to get Microsoft plant
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-08 00:27:06


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The relevant fragment from the new version is:

Exercise 2: Control User Access to Internet Sites

What You Will Learn

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

(Previously it didn't refer to "", but to "".)

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

Snippet:No, they didn't correct the phrase after someone in Redmond read this site. It originally came up at the "Appraising Microsoft" mailinglist (see bottom of: and was taken up by the New York Times:

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

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

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

Mr. Breunig also says that if sufficiently many complaints come in at Microsoft, the reference to Netscape would be removed. Well, at the very day the New York Times had the story, it was changed, so apparently they decided not to wait for complaints. It must have been a funny experience for New York Times readers that followed the link in the article to find that the fragment was no longer there.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-09 10:38:20

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

MS judge releases 'secret' depositions
by Graham Lea
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-09 12:19:02

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

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

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

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

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

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

Win98 SE: How not to market a product,5859,2238810,00.html

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

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

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

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

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

Case closed.

Microsoft to open source? Not likely
Despite company comments, it's not likely to cede control of Windows 2000.,4586,2239301,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-10 13:39:15

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

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

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

Here is the message from in full:

LINUX.DE muss Linux-Slogan entfernen

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

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


Karsten M. Self wrote to the forum at on this issue:

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

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

Update 2:

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

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

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

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

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

Snippet:Gates becomes first man to top $100bn

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

... fund manager Michael Larson said that except, of course, for Microsoft, this doyen of the computer industry generally gave Internet and technology shares a wide berth.
Apart from Microsoft, most of Mr. Gates' assets are held in relatively secure investments such as government and corporate bonds.
Gates' investments seem not to be ones a self-proclaimed technological visionary would make.

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

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

Copyright Protection Is for Dinosaurs
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-11 22:33:14

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

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

Nader's Microsoft Agenda: Progressive Nonprofit Plan for `Free' Software by Patrick Reilly
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-11 23:41:59


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

MS Wags the Privacy Awards

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS Targets Trademark Abuse

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update 2: Roy found a new link to the article here: reminded me that the "today" part doesn't look as if one has time to spare before looking at it. Furthermore, I didn't get through.

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

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

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

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

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

Clearly Allchin and Muth are talking about reports like MindCraft's on the performance of Windows NT versus that of Linux. The manner in which MindCraft obtained the results that its sponsor desired has been detailed nicely by Linux Weekly News ( ) and Linux Hardware's Eric Green (

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

Windows 2000 home stretch in view,4586,1014410,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-18 20:37:42

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

Gates, Torvalds vie for title of "developers' developer"
by Mary-Jo Foley,4153,1014426,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-19 23:52:10


Gates Comdex keynote skates over holes in Win2k beta

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

MS goes for broke with $60 Win2k beta offer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Microsoft earnings charade
by Dan Gillmor
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-20 22:34:23


IDC slams press on reporting of NT 'success'
By John Lettice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the following I had to read twice:

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

"Packaged with industry support"? That meaning of "packaging" sure isn't in my dictionary.

Windows NT Server 4.0 faster, more scalable than Linux as a file and Web server, tests show
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-21 20:38:36

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

Sufficient to indicate Microsoft's involvement in the matter is the prominent quote of Microsoft's Windows NT product manager Ed Muth in the announcement.

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

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

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

From: Case Roole
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 14:30:21 -0400

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Best criticism of MindCraft's report

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

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

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


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

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

Snippet:Visit to a Naval Carrier
UPSIDE by Larry Magid

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

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

Microsoft Sacrifices Suits
UPSIDE by Mit Spears

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

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

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

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

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

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

See explanation and forum at LinuxToday:

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


Computer conference draws international crowd
Chicago Maroon
By Geoffery Fischer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS-DOJ trial resumption delayed a week,4586,2247926,00.html
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-27 08:48:27

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

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

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

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


By Andrew Leonard
Salon Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linux "Lacks an Extraordinary Number of Features" of Windows

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

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

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

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

Will MindCraft II be better?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-04-28 08:45:55


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

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

Typically, when we ask Microsoft for something, it needs to be for a very specific reason, and we need to have a very solid understanding of what we're going to do with it. ... When there's no other competition or alternative to Microsoft, the question that comes back - `Well, what is the benefit to Microsoft?' And if we cannot find or provide a solid benefit to Microsoft, then there's not much likelihood that the request is going to be granted.
Packard-Bell is one of the few PC vendors to take advantage of Judge Jackson's contempt of court order and ship PC's without Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Apparently, a court order is what it takes for Microsoft to "grant" a legitimate customer wish which does not benefit Microsoft.

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

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

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

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

Caldera unveils evidence in Microsoft case

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

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

Update: See also Mary Jo Foley's article:
Caldera battle still looms for MS,5859,2249520,00.html

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caldera statement of facts

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

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

Caldera's Pulp Fiction
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-01 09:32:14

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

An attendant of the conference, Ryan Park, has put up his notes:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-02 09:49:04

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, well. I'd better stop arguing until Mr. Liebowitz paper "Breaking Windows" is made public.

As it appears now, he makes an unsupported and unsupportable assumption and it is a shame that the press (I have seen ZDNet, Reuters, Techweb) propagates this assumption as a necessary situation.
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-02 10:25:33

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Titans Talk Tech: Bill G. and Michael D."
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-03 21:51:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windows 95 Y2K fix was kept from users

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

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

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


By Lisa M. Bowman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some fragments of a C|Net article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone care to speculate on what this tells us about the "overnight change" of the power structure in the software industry as a result of AOL's buying of Netscape?

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS taking more slices of UK cable business
by Graham Lea


Will cable spending spree turn MS into Ma Bill?
by Graham Lea
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-07 11:46:53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft, Nextel in $600 million deal,4,36301,00.html?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-11 02:59:16

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

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

I am quite pleased with my own welfare, but based on what I have in the bank and my insurance policy, I couldn't have a haircut for this percentage of my wealth. (Exercise: find your own illustrations after doing 0.0005*YOUR_WEALTH.)

Reuters is more impressed and sees a clear link with Gates' claim that he wants to give away most of his fortune before he dies. Given that the fortune is still growing with multiples of what Gates is giving away, I think that Reuters is overly complimentary regarding the effectiveness of Gates' gesture.

Gates gives $50 million to health program
by Reuters,4,0-36354,00.html?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-11 03:24:04

Snippet:As mentioned shortly ago here, it is Microsoft's most basic strategy today to buy its customers instead of winning them. Here is another step.

MS to spend another $4bn on UK C&W deal?
by John Lettice

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-12 14:20:28


In more news along the lines of money talks and the cable networking deals with AT&T, C&W and Nextel , Microsoft also wants to invest in Deutsche Telekom, buy a Swedish mobile device networking firm and buy a 27% stake of a WebMD, a Web site for medical professionals. Microsoft has failed to gain critical mass with MSN and Windows CE, so it is agressively pursuing a "if at first you don't succeed, buy, buy again" strategy in hopes of regaining lost ground.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-05-13 02:53:51

Snippet:Apparenty, "you read it first in The Register" is not an empty claim. Today they wrote that Microsoft has published a report on NT vs Linux, something I hadn't seen on LinuxToday, that is very keen on following the affair. The report was dated May 8, but last updated May 12.

The report pretty much consists of two parts. In the first a list of test results for different tests by different test organizations is presented. The second part consists of a feature-by-feature comparison of Linux and NT.

In the first part, Mindcraft numbers are happily published alongside numbers from PC Week and PC Magazine. I would like to see results posted by an organization that doesn't depend on Microsoft - as PC Week and PC Magazine both do, for both information and advertising money. They happily ignored price/performance tests and I consider that sufficient reason to believe that they were eager to get results conforming to a pre-set goal.

The feature list that makes up the second part is pretty screwy. After mentioning that there is "no formalized field training" for Linux in one item, they mention in the next that Linux needs "highly trained system administrators - usually require developer-level skills". Gee, I am a Linux system administrator, but I never considered myself to have "developer-level skills". Thanks for the compliment! Anyway, if all those Linux boxes are maintained by people with "developer-level skills", there must be an awful number of potential contributors to the further development of Linux. This looks good!

I had a good laugh about the following point in the NT column: "Why don't we address the int'l and accessibility point?" Sloppy. It shows us what criteria the writers of this report used for mentioning an item. I trust that this remark will not return in the next version. And yes, we find in the corresponding Linux column: "Open questions about internationalization, access by people with disabilities."

Well, numerous items are beyond my technological competence to assess. I do note, however, that the report regularly introduces insinuations ("broad language support, including java" for NT, vs. "poor support for Java" for Linux"), uses woolly language (as in the "open questions" mentioned above), and mentions irrelevant categories whereas the relevant ones are not mentioned (OEMs "guaranteeing" uptime, vs actual uptime numbers). I look forward to see the rebuttals.

'Show you can beat NT' - MS declares war on Linux

Update on Windows NT Server vs Linux Performance and Capabilities

By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-13 16:04:51

Snippet:The Register noticed the "Why don't we ..." remark in Microsoft's report, published it, and speculated that it would disappear quickly. It has. By now, the report says that it was published May 12 (no longer 8) and was last revised May 13.

When thinking about it, it struck me that Microsoft's analogy of the Linux community picking on the messenger (Mindcraft) instead of the message, might backfire: who sent the messenger on his way with the message?

Another indication of the actual role of Mindcraft is that Microsoft claims that the Linux community was slow to respond to Mindcraft's request for new tests. Now what does Microsoft has to do with that? Wasn't Mindcraft an independent organization?

MS marketing spin leaks into attack on Linux
by John Lettice
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-14 01:12:34


Digital ChosunIlbo:English Edition
By Hwang Soon-hyun

In this news item from Korea, the combination of the crackdown on software piracy and the high retail price of software is causing friction. With the low incremental cost of software, Microsoft and resellers can afford to offer discounts anywhere from 70% to 95% to offices and educational institutions. Individuals have no such luck and demand lower prices. Also, with a recent licencing change, separate office and home software licences are now required for the office worker who wants to use her home machine to do work where, in the past, the office licence sufficed for this purpose. Will we see the fruits of a healthy market economy here and lower prices or will individual buyers continue to choose between piracy and paying the prices of a monopolist?

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-05-14 02:49:09

Snippet:One of the most encouraging aspects of the defense against Microsoft's increasing barrages of FUD against Linux is that ever new persons stand up to write a rebuttal.

Microsoft tried to make it appear that criticism on the Mindcraft report came primarily from well-known Linux developers including Linus Torvalds. Indeed, Samba's Jeremy Allison and stable-kernel-tree-maintainer Alan Cox have done their due. However, the main thrust of the criticism has been given by relatively unknown persons writing at different websites and informing journalists about the matter.

I have never heard of Larry J. Blunk, but he has written an even-handed answer to Microsoft's latest "update" on comparing Linux and NT. (As The Register noted, this report has been revised twice due to the sloppiness of the writers.)

The voices raised against Microsoft don't come from companies or even organizations, they come from a large group of loosely connected individuals. As there is no company to betray the "enthousiasts" this time - such as Apple or IBM - it is quite difficult to conceive how Microsoft can counter so many voices without either paying hard for support or raising their integrity.

LinuxToday: Response to Microsoft: PC Week benchmarks reveal Mindcraft failings
by Larry J. Blunk

The Register:

MS marketing spins and respins in Linux attack

Tests cited by MS prove flaws in Linux study - Linux Today

Can Linux avoid Microsoft's NT trap?
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-14 18:04:19

Snippet:If $5B share of AT&T buys Microsoft a 2.5 million units CE market, what do they pay per unit? And how does this buying of market share relate to Microsoft's claim that they have always won their markets buy virtue of quality and price and like it that way?

Bill Gates' set-top boxing
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-16 13:46:59

Snippet:The purpose and justification of copyright and patent laws is to stimulate original production. If such laws do not exist, as was the case with patent laws for software in Japan en Europe, one would expect them to come into being only after an independent investigation has demonstrated their economical benefits.

This is not what we see today. Japan has already yielded to intensively lobbying efforts of multinationals with large patent portfolios and European legislators have planned to be next.

Although big names such as Oracle, Adobe, etc. had claimed that patents on software are more harmful than useful, the US law system has allowed for a decade the filing of patents for elementary software processes. The 30.000 software patents filed every year are now used to attack and eliminate independant software publishers or free software authors.


On June 24 and 25 1999 in Paris, France, the member states of the Munchen convention are planning to legalize software patents in Europe. No study has been made by member states about the economic impact of legalizing software patents for independent software publishers and developers. Such a decision would create a lot of juridical uncertainty, playing havoc with the whole european independent software industry, obstructing competition and, in the mid term, slowing down innovation and investment in the software industry.

You can read more - including a reference of who to write to - at:
Free Patents - Protecting Innovation & Competition in the IT Industry

Richard Stallman wrote an editorial on the matter:

Saving Europa from software patents
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-17 09:32:04

Snippet:Despite the market share of dwarf AMD, most microprocessor revenues still end up with Intel. Furthermore, Intel got hold of a number of processors that it didn't develop itself, such as former Digital's Alpha and the StrongARM.

No doubt Intel is dominant. However, whether it is because they are careful with antitrust matters or whether they are afraid of blackmail through non-support of Windows (the possibility of which is of course one of the reasons why there are antitrust laws), Intel is actively supporting non-Windows operating systems such as Linux and BeOS to run on Intel processors.

The shared dominance of the desktop is still there, but the "WinTel duopoly" is no longer acting as a unit.

Enter AT&T. Through acquisitions AT&T presently holds some 60% of the American cable network. Now it is combining with Microsoft on the issue of what software is going to be used to connect to the network. Black phones again, and their name is Windows.

ABC news: War of the Wires
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-17 09:48:32

Snippet:Pro- and contra talked remedies in Washington at April 30.





You can now find the full transcript of the workshop at:

The general page on the conference is at:
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-17 23:31:26


MS trial may resume next Monday
The Register
By Graham Lea

This article speculates on when the US DOJ anti-trust case versus Microsoft may resume and muses on what a further delay may mean for both sides.

MS denies it's buying users with its billions
The Register
By John Lettice

Further anti-trust investigation may ensue from Microsoft's latest round of acquisitions and deals with broadband providers.

U.S. Judge Says Microsoft Trial To Proceed

After the judge in the Bristol anti-trust case denied Microsoft's motion for a delay, the trial is set to resume on the 2nd of June. Interestingly, the judge also gave permission for Bristol's lawyers to exchange information with lawyers in the DOJ and Caldera anti-trust cases.

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-05-18 04:20:56


An article entitled "Is free software worth the cost?" recently appeared in the Microsoft Internet Developer publication which, not surprisingly, trotted out the Microsoft party line that programmers really ought to charge for their work and retain the benefits for themselves. After all, programmers have to pay bills too. This was roundly criticised by the open source community as not addressing the real benefits of open source software.

Now, Microsoft has come out with a follow-up article which pretends to address the criticism. It even makes some reference to Richard Stallman's GNU Manifesto and philosophy of free software. But then the focus is neatly twisted from the "free speech, not free beer" analogy back to the economics of free software and what they imply would be lower pay the programmers would get for their work.

Not mentioned is that, if a programmer decides to keep the source code of her work and license binaries, the rules of the game favour Microsoft. Indeed, if the program is successful enough, Microsoft will no doubt buy the producer out or integrate its own version with Windows. Microsoft's reply also ignores the real benefit to the software community of retaining control of the source code so that bugs can be quickly fixed and new features added by anyone with ability and desire. There lies the true freedom of "free software." The intangible benefit of a greater sense of community among hackers is also not mentioned.

Here is the article, dubbed by an upped version number in typical Redmond style:

Free Software 2.0
Microsoft Internet Developer, June 1999

By:Roy Bixler
Date:1999-05-18 04:29:52

Snippet:For at least the third time, Bill Gates has invited some 100 industry and government top executive. One can only guess what is said at these meetings as the press is not welcome.

Fortune 1k CEOs mass for Bill Gates love-in


In an article that looks like a Microsoft press release, the Wall Street Journal (re-published by ZDNet) presents a more extensive list of attendees. From the list it looks like government officials were less welcome than they were last year.

Microsoft's CEO summit draws bigwigs,4586,2261580,00.html?chkpt=hpqs014
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-19 15:24:42

Snippet:Hangul, Samsung and Microsoft have all drastically dropped office productivity software prices in Korea. In the wake of the piracy crackdown - with governmental and educational institutions scrambling to buy licenses - Microsoft has dropped the price of its office suite with 90%.

Earlier Samsung dropped prices with 70% and Hangul - facing bankruptcy - to a level that is still a fifth of Microsoft's and a third of Samsung's after these had dropped prices.

Hangul & Computer Co. expressed its willingness to file a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on the issue, and now Ministry of Information and Communication officials are looking into whether Microsoft violated the fair business rules for mass market software.

From the article it seems that Microsoft is only giving the price reductions to Korean educational and possibly governmental institutions, Samsung was having a very low introductory price to gain first-time users, and Hangul & Computer Co. tried to raise cash in its near-bankruptcy that it couldn't raise at its original price.

Only Microsoft strongly reduced prices in a specific market to keep it at its high levels in other markets. Sounds like dumping to me.

BTW, I'll happily call "college deals" a dumping scheme. The goal of these schemes is to keep competitors from thriving that can offer products at a significantly lower price - perhaps of lesser quality, but still worth its money. If students are so eager to have expensive goods then let them pay for them, not collaborate in dumping schemes to keep competitors from finding another price equilibrium.

Hangul & Computer Corp. to File Dumping Charge Against Microsoft
By:Case Roole
Date:1999-05-20 09:08:10

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