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Microsoft

New Documents Shed Light on Microsoft's Tactics 614

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the skeletons-from-the-closet dept.
Tigen writes "As the NY Times reports, even as MS prepares to face penalties from the European Union, testimony during the second week of trial in the consumer class-action lawsuit in Minnesota has revealed some embarrassing internal documents from Microsoft which were not disclosed in the 1997 federal antitrust lawsuit. Items include a 1990 letter from Bill Gates to Andy Grove, and Microsoft's illegal tactics against the Go Corporation, a Silicon Valley startup."
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New Documents Shed Light on Microsoft's Tactics

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  • Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by BigDork1001 (683341) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:29AM (#8665453) Homepage
    Here [nytimes.com] is the Google link to the article.

    • Re:Article (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sisco (763303) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:58AM (#8666392)
      "In late 1993, Go was sold to AT&T where it was ultimately merged into the company's portable computer subsidiary. In 1994 the phone company shut down the effort in portable computing. Three months later Microsoft canceled its PenWindows project"

      As if this doesn't make it obvious what M$ was doing! They were only in the game to keep somebody else from innovating new technology. As soon as a potential competitor closed down, they stopped attempting to "provide a better solution for the customer." What a bunch of hooey!
      • Re:Article (Score:5, Interesting)

        by robnauta (716284) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @09:31AM (#8666647)
        In late 1993, Go was sold to AT&T where it was ultimately merged into the company's portable computer subsidiary. In 1994 the phone company shut down the effort in portable computing. Three months later Microsoft canceled its PenWindows project"

        As if this doesn't make it obvious what M$ was doing! They were only in the game to keep somebody else from innovating new technology. As soon as a potential competitor closed down, they stopped attempting to "provide a better solution for the customer." Dude I think you got your history all wrong. When Apple announced the Newton in 1992, everyone wanted to jump onto the same boat. Several companies rushed development of similar devices, including Microsoft, Go, and several others.
        When the Newton was released in 1993, and proved to be a fiasco, many companies put their projects on hold or sold them off. That's why Go was sold, and that's why MS stopped development.

        The humiliating failure of the Apple Newton put mobile computers on hold for a few years, until Palm revitalized the once dead market.

  • by TypoNAM (695420) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:31AM (#8665462)
    Microsoft has actually been a bad big corp? Tell me it isn't so...

    OK it's so, let the "Exchange server ate my email" excuse begin!
  • by torpor (458) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <musibi>> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:36AM (#8665476) Homepage Journal
    I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case.

    There are a lot of 'high order' dreams in the computing science. The CS holy grail of pocket, portable computing is only now coming to fruition (thank you Palm), but has been on the cards since at least the 60's as a design reference/specification. Go could've given us this in the late 1980's, early 90's. Microsofts' machinations, however, prevented that from happening.

    I understand now, why the Palm founders adopted their 'found and leave' strategy for PalmOS. In the light of Go, Inc's demise it makes sense to light 4 or 5 small fires that the enemy can't put -all- out, rather than making a very large target, like Go and Motorola did ...

    I stopped using Microsoft products in 1998. They'll not get one penny of $ from this consumer, and not one item of code from this programmer. I tell all my Microsoft-using friends to fuck off with their self-made problems, too, and get real operating systems, from real software companies ... and most of them do.
    • slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Typical slashbot FUD.

      Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago. The hardware was the limiting factor. Microsoft had nothing to do with it - the state of the semiconductor industry did. We didn't have CPUs that worked withotu sucking *lots* of juice. NMOS CPUs were very power hungry.

      Today we have calculators [hp.com] with 75 MHz processors, powered off AAA batteries. Would that have been possible 10 years ago? perhaps, but the price would have been insane.

      Companies
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:55AM (#8665550)
        Companies are always free to develop their own embedded OS; some do. Back then the hardware wasn't available. So quit the microsoft bashing.

        You seem to have forgoten what Wintel is...

        OS writers are very much in a co-dependant relationship with the chip makers... the direction that the OS writers take their software and the direction the chip makers take their chips have to be in sync because one will not work without the other.

        Thus, research into chip design was up until recently funneled towards keeping up with the Moore's Law pace of faster and faster clock speeds. Research into creating a chip that could run on low power just wasn't done because there wasn't much of a market for it.

        In order to justify writing an OS for a handheld, you need to know what chip you're going to be running on. In order to build a chip geared for handheld use, you need to be sure somebody's actually going to make handhelds.... it's a classic catch 22, and Microsoft appears to have blocked the Go-Motorola partnership that would have made those advances a decade or so before they actually happened.
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Informative)

        by baldass_newbie (136609) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:16AM (#8665616) Homepage Journal
        Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago.

        What about the Newton [oldschool.net], circa 1993?
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Informative)

        by pesc (147035) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:33AM (#8665662)
        Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago.

        While Americans might think that Palm (or Apple/Newton) invented pocket computing, I suggest you take a look at Psion [computer-ease.com]. This company made several successful pocket computers more than ten years ago. They released the Psio series 3 [dolphinmaritime.com] in 1991. In the later models they managed to include word-processors, spread-sheets, graphical software, games, web browsers, in a tiny ROM. The computers were truly innovative.

        Sadly, they recently decided to get rid of their innovative technology (Symbian) and focus on WinCE devices instead. No more innovation from Psion. From the leading edge to a me-too M$ slave. :-(
        • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:48AM (#8665858)
          Their innovation continues to exist in Symbian Devices.

          I own a SonyEricsson P800 UIQ based Mobile Phone. Based on the Symbian 7.0 platform, you can still see the Psion/Epoc influence underneath.

          The result, a sold stable computing platform, which arguebly crashes FAR less than equivelent MS Smartphones. (this is from personal experience amongst me and my collegues)

          A MultiTasking/Multithreading operating system that is easy enough to use (MAC/Palm style), yet DOES allow you access the filesystem (C drive, ddrive, etc), and other system details via freely downloadable software shoudl you wish to tinker.

          Its Handwritign recognition is exemplar, and far better and more "user friendly" than Palm's old Graffiti system which was very good for what it was.

          I use it as an Ogg player (who needs an MP3 player, its sound quality is excellent), a PDA (it synchs with Outlook contacts/mail/tasks/diary/notes, and has dynamic contact spaces (it dynamically adds new fields even when they are not provided in the main set of fields, try that with palm its its infuriating 5 max fields for numbers/fax/email/web and one address field)

          For those not wishing to submit to Outlook, it also has excellent vCard and SyncML support. You can back up the contacts by selecting "send all" and pointign the Infrared or bluetooth at any computer (Win/Mac/Linux) and selecting send. it will create a standard vCard file with all contact details stored in it. and to send it back to the phone, just send the single file. Even outlook on the PC cannot handle a vCard with numerous contacts so simply and elegantly, heaven help Mobile Outlook users!

          it is simply the best PDA i have ever had, and does follow to some extent Jerry Kaplan's original vision...

          Oh and i forgot to mention, its a damn good phone too! :)
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Informative)

        by ahunter (48990) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:34AM (#8665663)
        Not 75Mhz, but 30Mhz would have been easily possible: 10 years ago, the 30Mhz version of the ARM6/7 was available (and shipping in production hardware). Designed for low power consumption and low cost, not much different from the ARM processors we see in portable devices today, really. The Apple Newton was shipping too, and it had an operating system that would not have looked out of place in modern hardware. Plus the original Palm Pilot was shipping, and the OS there hasn't changed much in that time.

        As the ARM was shipping in hardware in those days, a full set of support hardware and software was available, Digital was licensing the technology in order to develop the StrongARM (1995/6 for the 200Mhz version IIRC - got a Palm on my desk that's powered by one of those). ARM didn't have quite the same profile in embedded systems markets in those days, but they were well aware of the potential of their CPU: the ARM6 was the first CPU they specifically designed for embedded applications.

        So no, the hardware was *NOT* the limiting factor. The main limiting factor was the will to make the devices, especially as the (ARM6 powered) Newton was not exactly setting the world on fire.

        See Here [greenend.org.uk] for example, discussing the ARM6 core - in 1991!

        I bet that calculator is powered by an ARM7/8. A direct descendant of a processor available in quantity 10 years ago, not that much faster, and it wasn't the only one around.
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:36AM (#8665668)
        UK company called Psion had portable computing, including word processing, scheduler, database and a programming language with a keyboard you could actually type on in the early 1990s (Psion3 in 1991). They used Flashdisks for portable storage and you could even get modems for them to fax with and, if you connected them to a PC/MAC there were printer drivers to allow the Psion to print and just use the PC as a spooler. I used to use terminal softwatre on my Amiga to communicate and I could swap files between the Psion and my Miggy

        This device was pocket sized, heavy but not as bad as the Jornada 620/720 and used two "AA" batteries with a watch battery for backup.

        History of Psion here
        http://3lib.ukonline.co.uk/historyofpsion.ht m

      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xenna (37238) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:36AM (#8665672)
        The current Palm-brain washed crowd seem to forget we had powerful PDA devices 10 years ago as well. In fact I bought an Intel 80186 based HP 100 LX palmtop 10 years ago that had all the power of an IBM PC + a bunch of very good PIM applications. Also don't forget the Psion devices that were very popular back then.

        Palmtop history [palmtoppaper.com]

        I now own a Sony Clie TG50 but I must say its PIM features are still not quite as good as that old HP (BTW: I still have it and it *still* works for about two weeks on a pair of AA batteries).

        Of course doing e-mail and browsing with it was a real pain but I remember plugging it in in a Tokyo phonebooth to mail home with Compuserve.

        I got a 10MB PCMCIA flashcard (not compact!) for it that cost me $500.

        Also I remember beta-testing a hotsync type of application for a company called Palm software. I've always wondered if they took that hotsync technology and went on to make the Palm devices...

        Regards,
        Xenna

      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RedBear (207369) <redbear@@@redbearnet...com> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:38AM (#8665676) Homepage
        Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago.

        I'll tell you how it was possible. I used to own one. [computercloset.org] The Dauphin DTR-1. It wasn't exactly a pocket computer but it was a very small tablet with a pen-based version of Windows, which even included a nifty handwriting recognition system *gasp*. This was in ~1994, and I got it out of a discount catalog, so it must have been at least a year old at the time. I held it in my hands and got a lot of use out of it, so I'd say it was perfectly possible to have portable computing 10 years ago. Guess what, the software back then didn't need nearly as much power as it does now. Full size desktop computers at the time ran fine with a 486SX/33 and 4MB of RAM.

        I really miss that old computer. Had a 486SLC and a 40MB hard drive. Not much but it ran Windows 3.1 just fine. That thing was so cool. Everyone who saw it loved it. And I've always wondered why I've never seen anything like it in the intervening years. Well, this article about Microsoft and Go pretty much explains it. After Go Corp. collapsed, Microsoft dropped the whole PenWindows and portable computing project. I can only imagine what neat things we could have seen if Microsoft hadn't interfered as usual.

        Slashdot FUD, my ass. This is real damage to market innovation caused by a real monopoly. Put that in yer pipe and smoke it.
      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SlashDread (38969) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:54AM (#8665711)
        Typical MS FUD.

        Please explain how YET ANOTHER example of MS using dubious business practices to stiffle competition is not hurting progress.

        You alledge that it is not to blame MS for not being able to use AAA batteries 10 years ago, and you are right.

        That is however not the issue.

        The -issue- is how MS is illegaly extending its monopoly into other markets, and how this IS NOT promoting innovation, if only simply because if your new innovation gets eyeballed by MS, you basically lost.

        remember drdos?
        remember netscape?
        remember stack?
        remember Citrix?
        remember real? Oh well Ill ask that one in two years.

        So why start in the first place? THATS what software devolpers are thinking, and I alledge that this is the reason for the lack of innovation in the past 15 years.

        I alledge this is another reason for the dotcom bubble burst. I alledge this is the reason for the general dubious image ICT now has world wide.

        And I -know- it has cost many Office Automation specialists lots of lost happiness.

        "/Dread"
        • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

          by blincoln (592401)
          remember drdos?
          remember netscape?
          remember stack?
          remember Citrix?
          remember real?


          Citrix is doing fine. MS adding Terminal Server into Windows doesn't remove the market for what Metaframe does.

          In the era of DRDOS, I was using an Apple IIe, but I suspect its failure had more to do with it not offering any clear advantage over MSDOS.

          Netscape killed themselves by not adding anything significant to their browser for years after they first released Communicator. Communicator was better than IE3, but not IE4, and
      • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Informative)

        by zakezuke (229119)
        Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago. The hardware was the limiting factor. Microsoft had nothing to do with it - the state of the semiconductor industry did. We didn't have CPUs that worked withotu sucking *lots* of juice. NMOS CPUs were very power hungry.

        20 years ago, the Tandy corp had a number of portables on the market. First notable ones are the Tandy 100/200/300. These are slightly larger then a handheld, full sized keyboards, and the model 100
      • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Informative)

        by heikkile (111814)
        Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago. The hardware was the limiting factor. Microsoft had nothing to do with it - the state of the semiconductor industry did. We didn't have CPUs that worked without sucking *lots* of juice. NMOS CPUs were very power hungry.

        Low-power 8-bit Cmos processors have been available since the 1970's. I sold software for the RCA-1802 in 1979, and had been playing with it for some years before that.

        The 1802 may not be nearly as

      • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dashing Leech (688077) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:30AM (#8665798)
        So quit the microsoft bashing.

        An odd statement to make given that the main article is about proof of anti-competitive and illegal activities of Microsoft, not to mention their recent European fines for similar activities.

        What exactly does Microsoft have to do wrong before you'll consider "Microsoft bashing" reasonable. Perhaps if they clubbed some baby seals?

      • by goatan (673464)
        His goal was to develop a 4-pound, easy-to-use computer that would appeal to a wider audience than the bulky desktop computers and 20-pound luggables then available [startribune.com]

        The Whole point of Go was to create the software and hardware together remember that IBM and Intel where involved. Microsoft persuaded Intel to reduce its contribution to the project which they did which killed the hardware side resulting in the failure of the software side. Once this happened neither IBM nor Intel would have wanted to work w

    • Great Friend... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jimmyCarter (56088) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:51AM (#8665534) Journal
      I tell all my Microsoft-using friends to fuck off with their self-made problems, too..

      Surely there's a way you can express your displeasure with MS products to your friends with a little more tact?
      • by cmacb (547347) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:29AM (#8665647) Homepage Journal
        Well, I've tried telling my Windows support leaches that I don't remember much about Windows any more, but it doesn't seem to help. They go on and on anyway about all the things they have already tried and still they get this message on start-up that doesn't stay up long enough for them to read but tells them that something is missing.

        I suppose I COULD give them outright bogus advice... "Try deleting some of your registry keys. Too many of those can cause problems like that." But then, that wouldn't be very nice would it? On the other hand, once their system was totally toast maybe they'd be more inclined to give a true manly operating system a try.

        "Dat girly-man operating system should be a ting of de past" - Ahnuld
    • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:53AM (#8665541)
      I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case.

      I think the clearest demonstrator that Microsoft has held back innovation is PowerPoint. Because it is virtually installed as default on all business machines, everyone uses it. Microsoft has had little motivation to update it, so it still functions like a piece of software from ten years ago. But ask any graphic designer about it and they will free out about how impossibly sh*t it is for creating presentations, especially bearing in mind the amazing graphics computers are capable of these days. And yet where is the strong competition for PowerPoint? There isn't one, because it is impossible to compete with the kind of product bundling Microsoft can get away with.
      • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) * on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:17AM (#8665765) Homepage
        Frustrated with PowerPoint? Try Apple's Keynote [apple.com]. It's everything PowerPoint should have been years ago, and then some. Smooth drop-shadows and alpha-blending of everything. High-quality 2-D and 3-D transitions. Photo cutouts. Integrated chart support.

        All that, and it even imports and exports PowerPoint documents, so you don't have to start from scratch.

        Yes, it only runs on Macs. But if you give presentations a lot, it's nearly worth getting yourself a Powerbook just for Keynote!
        • by Anonymous Coward
          i tried keynote. in fact i bought a mac just so i would complete the triumvirate and be able to talk meaningfully about linux/win/mac debates instead of blowing fud. keynote's compatibility importing/exporting powerpoint documents was really disappointing. given that grant reviews require PPT slides to be left with them, i won't be using keynote, much to my chagrin; it does have a lot of extremely nice features that PPT can't match.

          although powerpoint isn't the perfect tool for my job, it meets my needs
      • by gui_tarzan2000 (625775) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:46AM (#8666043)
        I can't help but wonder why so many people think that Microsoft has been the driving force in computer innovation? Do you naysayers really think that Mirosoft has the only people in the world that can think up new things or advance technology? How bizzare. I would argue that people have always been the innovators, not companies. Since people make up the design teams it would make sense that no matter what company is in charge, innovators are everywhere. It's just a matter of whether or not Microsoft will let you bring your product to the market. If you have enough power to tell OEMs such as Dell, Compaq, etc. that they *will* only sell MS Windows on their systems you have the power to do just about anything including controlling the market, something Bill Gates excels at. I know that some companies like HP and IBM are now pushing Linux, but where have they been for the past 15 years?

        For those of you who are too young to remember, Microsoft's marketing people destroyed the market for GeoWindows (a far better GUI), DRDOS, WordPerfect Suite, OS/2 and many other far superior packages by either buying them or forcing them out of business with whatever tactics they chose to use. My gut feeling is that threats were part of that equation but alas, I have no proof other than what people inside a couple of companies have told me.

        There are resources on the 'net for a list of companies that Gates has purchase or "acquired" over the last 20 years and if you look at it closely, it's scary. I can't find the link, maybe someone else can.

        Yes, I hate Microsoft and everything it stands for. For the past 15+ years I've watched them devour everyone around them save a few early pioneers. If IBM hadn't failed so miserably at marketing OS/2 I think we'd be using that instead. But I have to use Windows for my job, much as I hate to. I can't even use a Mac because the software I have to use won't run on it. Virtual PC used to be an option but M$ bought that too. Linux isn't ready yet. It's close, but not quite there. I actually prefer that but again, not enough software.

        So until there are lots more packages that run on a web server that are easy to use, fast and reliable (and don't forget inexpensive) we're stuck.

        Bill Gates has accomplished something no one else ever has, and most likely never will again. He controls (or is close to controlling) most of the world's technology from computers to broadband to automotive to cel phones and is only getting bigger and stronger. Until our government does something to stop Microsoft from some of its illegal activities and other companies are able to stand up to them with legitimate, cost effective programs and hardware it will continue. As long as Washington is run by corporations, that will not happen.

    • by prat393 (757559) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:53AM (#8665543)

      It's very interesting that as a consequence of Microsoft's domination of the market, people give you very weird looks when you tell them you don't use windows. Then they calm down, an idea hits them, and they ask, "Oh, so you use Mac, then?" The weird look, however, wrests itself upward from its grave where the pallbearers were finally resting with (they thought) the satisfaction of a job well done, and climbs back on to the poor user's face when you're forced to disillusion them.

      Using something other than windows is almost a stigma in some circles (circles the average slashdotter has little contact with, and avoids as much as possible), and it's the fact that most people only know and (ha!) understand how to use one OS that leads to this sorry state of affairs. A consuming fear of new ideas leads to stagnation, not innovation, and this fear is exactly what the Microsoft monopoly has led us into.

      • people give you very weird looks when you tell them you don't use windows

        Yes. I had to suffer my sister lecuring me about how clever Microsoft was to "invent" Windows and the web (Internet Explorer == web), and she rolled her eyes in disbelief when I tried to explain to her that they didn't actually invent them.
    • by cmacb (547347) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:42AM (#8665685) Homepage Journal
      "I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case."

      Same here. Only now I find people don't argue with me so much. While Intel has done a credible job of advancing the hardware, they probably would have done more had they not relied on the nod-nod-wink-wink relationship with Microsoft.

      The true agent of change is the hardware, and now software technology moving off-shore. Sadly, the cost of overcoming the Microsoft bottleneck will be America's loss of dominance in computing. Emerging economies have no desire to pay top dollar for a mediocre operating system, and with fabrication of hardware all going on elsewhere the PC is becoming close to a disposable device which means the OS needs to be that way too.

      History will lay a large part of the blame at Bill Gate's feet. Having squandered our technology lead for his own personal gains and ego is a distinction he well deserves.
    • Go could've given us this in the late 1980's, early 90's. Microsofts' machinations, however, prevented that from happening.

      And flying cars. Don't forget the flying cars.

  • $1.5 billion..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phillk6751 (654352) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:36AM (#8665478)
    The new lawsuit, which contends that Microsoft overcharged Minnesota customers from 1994 to 2001, seeks almost $500 million from the company. If the company, based in Redmond, Wash., loses, it could also be forced to pay triple that amount under Minnesota state law.
    Looks like if Microsoft looses this case a fine of $1.5B would be imposed....THIS is the case Microsoft should be worried about, not the one from EU. Or do they think they can get away with this lawsuit?
    • by MoonFog (586818)
      In the EU they may be forced to exclude Windows Media Player from the operating system in addition to heavy fines. I think they should be worried about both.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:45AM (#8665511)
      No, with more than $50 billion in the bank you shouldn't be to afraid. However you should be afraid if the reason for having this kind of money in the bank, that is, not giving information to your competitors about how servers and the desktops interact and bundling your own products with your operating system in order to force competitors out of the market, is attacked, as it is in the European Case.
    • by James Durie (1426) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:10AM (#8665597)
      The case in the EU isn't really about the money.
      If the fine were the only issue microsoft would have paid it and said "sorry we wont do it again" before going off and doing it again.

      The main issue in the EU case and the reason Microsoft is going to appeal it is control.

      Making Microsoft remove media player (and who knows maybe others will happen later).
      Making them provide *complete* specs such that other software companies can make totally compatible products.

      Those are the real issues. Efforts to control microsofts future not make them pay for wrong-doings in the past.

      The best thing that could come out of the EU case is the interoperability thing. Imagine if you could choose your html renderer and it slots itself into place so perfectly that anywher IE was used before your choice of renederer gets used now.

      How about an NTFS implementation for Linux with complete read/write compatibility.

      How about open office reading/writing all of Office's document formats perfectly.

      That is what microsoft is scared of.

      • by albanac (214852) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:44AM (#8665849) Homepage Journal

        Making Microsoft remove media player (and who knows maybe others will happen later). Making them provide *complete* specs such that other software companies can make totally compatible products.

        How about an NTFS implementation for Linux with complete read/write compatibility. How about open office reading/writing all of Office's document formats perfectly.

        It should be pointed that the complete disclosure clause under dicussion by the EU Commission is of client-server application formats and APIs. That is, it only applies to stopping Microsoft leveraging control of the desktop into control of the server market. So neither of your examples would actually be covered by this penalty, but some other very useful things (SMB stuff, all the IE-only hacks which bad html authors constantly abuse, asp; this is not an exhaustive list) will be covered.

        ~cHris
    • From the article:

      Microsoft has already paid $1.6 billion in its efforts to settle consumer antitrust claims filed in 10 states.

      In both the US Fed. and EC cases the fine/penalty/remedy is not really the big economic point.

      Once a company has a gulty verdict against it in a federal anti-trust case the door is open for all kinds of civil cases.

      Realistically, materially punitive federal judgements would hardly fly even in the EC, let alone the US (where an amazing majority of people actually like the app

  • But... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by robbyjo (315601) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:39AM (#8665486) Homepage

    Back then in June 1990 (as the date of the letter), Microsoft wasn't a monopoly yet, right? So, the anti-trust trial cannot use this as an evidence against them....

    I would say that this may lead to anti-competitive lawsuit... (btw, is such lawsuit allowable in the USA?) And of course, as usual, IANAL...

    • Re:But... (Score:3, Interesting)

      IANAL either, but is this something that should have been disclosed in the federal antitrust lawsuit?? If so, how much trouble are they in for not disclosing them??
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

      by runderwo (609077) <`runderwo' `at' `mail.win.org'> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:50AM (#8665529)
      Attempting to gain a monopoly in a market is also an antitrust crime under the Sherman Act. Abusing a monopoly one has already gained is wholly separate from that.

      Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

    • Re:But... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gadzuko (712568)
      It's quite essential for the prosecution to show intent to attain a monopoly on Microsoft's part, which can only be done with this kind of evidence. By your logic, evidence in a murder trial establishing a motive would be thrown out, as the defendant was not yet a murderer at the time.
  • by toesate (652111) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:41AM (#8665499) Homepage Journal

    If GO Penpoint software was open-sourced 14 years ago... as an attempt to counter Windows H agression...

    I wonder what would the landscape of mobile computing be like today?

  • Microsoft Crimes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amigoro (761348) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:43AM (#8665502) Homepage Journal
    From Analysing of the NY Times article: a letter in which Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, the chief executive of Intel at the time, that any support given to the Go Corporation,would be considered an aggressive move against Microsoft.
    If this is not anti-competitive, then what is?

    Microsoft violated a signed secrecy agreement with Go and showed that Microsoft possessed technical documents from Go that it should not have had access to.
    Industrial Espionage.

    Microsoft violated nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build PenWindows, a competitor to Go's PenPoint operating system.
    GO has loyalty rights for PenWindows. GO should sue PenWindows licensee's individually. This is what Microsoft is trying to do to Linux users through SCO. GO has more legal grounds to stand on that SCO.

    Shortly after the letter was written, Intel reduced its planned investment in Go from $10 million to $2 million
    Intel was held to ransom, and they paid it.

    The advice read in part that the focus should be shifted from "killing the competitor" to "providing a better solution to the customer's problems."
    So they did believe in Killing Competition. A tiger never changes its stripes.

    I think some of these allegations could ammount to criminal offences. I do hope Mr. Gates does a time in a cell with No Windows

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  • MS word.doc (Score:3, Funny)

    by ratfynk (456467) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:47AM (#8665520) Journal
    I just wonder if there are MS word docs out there ready to reveal more about the evil empire. It would only be fitting if Intel and IBM leaked some old word.docs from Redmond.... naw Microsoft couldn't be that stupid.

  • by dodgyville (660660) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:48AM (#8665524) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft would not leak so many embarrassing documents if they never wrote anything down. But, I hear you say, surely people will just record what they say and leak the recordings. Well, not if they conduct all their business in mime. So that is my suggestion. Microsoft should do everything by mime.

    -
  • Go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damian (2473) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:00AM (#8665566) Homepage
    It is too bad that the Go Penpoint OS never made it. In my opinion it was a very nice system and well designed. The Apple Newton came close, but not quite.

    I read the book "The Power of Penpoint"
    by Robert Carr, Dan Shafer but never had one of their computers myself (they are pretty rare in Europe). I nearly bought one on ebay recently though.

    Some images: http://www.ojisan.com/penpoint/index.shtml [ojisan.com]
    • the plaintiffs contend the new documents show that Microsoft violated nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build PenWindows, a competitor to Go's PenPoint operating system. The documents included Microsoft's internal e-mail messages showing that it had detailed knowledge of Go's product plans.

      Every time Microsoft goes on about piracy hurting them damaging innovation etc they should be reminded of this that they are IP thieves themselves and if SCO can ask for $1million from

      • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot&stango,org> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:38AM (#8666008) Homepage Journal
        You should read the books mentioned at the end of the article to see just how blatant it was. Microsoft sent people to a PenPoint demo given for the Boston Computer Society. They brought a video camera and taped the presentation and analyzed it when they got back to Redmond. Anytime a PenPoint feature drew a positive crowd reaction, that feature was on the 'must add' list for Pen Windows.

        Yes, the argument can be made that it was dumb to allow anyone to bring a video camera into that presentation, but still-- this is complete and total thievery, perpetrated by Microsoft. I got angry just reading about it, more than a decade after the fact. Go had some neat stuff back in 1989-- I can only imagine how technological advances between then and how would have improved their product, had Microsoft allowed the company to exist.

        In this day and age, I don't see how any company with a promising new product doesn't take great pains to hide the thing's existence from Microsoft to keep from getting ripped off. After all these years it's clear they had and still have absolutely no shame about it.

        ~Philly
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:32AM (#8665659) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    A Microsoft spokeswoman said that many of these newly disclosed documents were not relevant to the trial, which focuses on Microsoft pricing actions.

    Oh, of course, sorry. Yes, these documents aren't relevant for the current trial, so we should just ignore them completely and pretend they don't exist.

    "These are not the documents you are looking for..."

    Jedidiah.
  • GO (Score:4, Informative)

    by marksilverman (539239) <mark@@@marksilverman...com> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:47AM (#8665695) Homepage
    If you want the whole story of GO, read Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure [amazon.com] by Jerry Kaplan. It's a great book. And it shows just how evil Microsoft really is!
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:53AM (#8665708) Journal
    As others have pointed out the journalist in question is not 100% reliable and I rather trust Groklaw. At least people there know law. If these documents are real it should be trivial to verify having been shown in a courtroom.

    IF it is true then it just goes once again to show how fucking rotten the legal system is. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth eh? So will these be grounds for a new case? Wasn't Martha Stewart found guilty of lying to an officer instead of insider dealing? Can they get MS on withholding evidence? Perhaps even going after people who can be jailed? I personally don't believe for a second that this could be accidental (IF of course it is real)

    Some posts seem to mention that attempting to create or abuse a monopoly is a felony. Doesn't this mean that MS is a criminal? So how exactly is it still allowed to do business as usual? Companies seem to want all the perks of being treated a real people but none of the bad stuff like oh say being punished for committing crimes.

    Oh well at least we can snigger at all the microsoft apologist trying to wriggle out of this one. This must be one of their worst weeks. Embarrising papers, being fined and if you look at groklaw yet more hypocrasy by claiming that the EU has no right to tell it how to behave while MS itself is asking the EU to tell Lindows how to behave.

    I almost pity the MS fans. Almost.

  • by OwlWhacker (758974) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:05AM (#8665736) Homepage Journal
    "All of Microsoft's conduct was designed to acquire and hang on to their monopoly,'' said Eugene Crew, a lawyer at Townsend, Townsend & Crew, based in San Francisco.

    Many companies would desire to maintain a monopoly. The problem here is that after so many years of knowing that Microsoft has this attitude, nobody has done anything effective to stop it.

    People can complain about the EU being anti-American in its anti-trust case, but personally I feel that the US should have imposed far more restrictions on Microsoft than it has thus far. Microsoft continually gets away with anti-competitive practices, everybody knows this - although some Microsoft apologists vehemently deny/excuse it.

    "Consumers were harmed by being deprived of choice. The greatest harm out of the Go story was the suppression of innovation and new technology by Microsoft."

    The extent of consumer harm can't really be known. People seem to be relatively happy with Windows. Then again, people just accepted that computers needed regular rebooting after running Windows 95, it just goes to show how most people just accept things without question. I guess we'll never know how far things could have progressed if it wasn't for Microsoft preventing competition by abusing its position.

    Consumers are harmed, so are competing businesses.

    Look how things are flying now because Microsoft has a bit of competition from Linux/Open Source. Of course, Microsoft can say, "Hey, we're doing this because we love you all, not because we're scared of Linux", but why does Microsoft care now when it obviously didn't give a damn for years (judging by the poor quality of Windows up until now)? If there's no competition then you work at your own pace, and as long as it appears that there's progress, people seem to be satisfied.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:10AM (#8665747)
    The trial exhibits (including the documents mentioned in the NY Times article) are being posted on the court's website [state.mn.us].
  • by thodu (530182) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:36AM (#8665823)
    At times I wonder if people have become so desensitized to people in positions of power lying to them that they no longer care. People have to accept wrong behaviour from politicians, businessmen, the media and everybody else. It does not matter if George Bush lies, or Bill Gates bullies his way through or Wall Street analysts pump up a stock - this type of behaviour does not shock or surprise - it is expected of them.
  • by ballpoint (192660) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:49AM (#8666336)
    for removing the shameless hype about Go Corp from the IT press.
    During a few months you couldn't open a computer magazine without Go Corp being hyped in every article.
    Every article during that time had Go Corp hyped in every paragraph.
    I got so fed up of reading about Go Corp in every paragraph in every article in every computer magazine that I cancelled a few subscriptions.
    Then good enough access to the internet came along, and I didn't need those subscriptions anymore, and Go Corp was but a vague memory.
    Can we stop bringing up daemons from the past, and leave Go Corp for once and for all behind us ?
  • The big fakers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @10:21AM (#8667266) Journal
    From Article:

    Two years later, Marlin Eller, a former Microsoft programmer who was part of the PenWindows project, wrote in "Barbarians Led by Bill Gates" (Owl Books) that the intent of the PenWindows project had been primarily to undermine Go.

    In the same book he describes how they put together a presentation for their PenWindows for a computer fair (Comdex?) to show that they could do the same stuff as Go. When in fact they had absolutely nothing. It was all smoke and mirrors.

    I always remember that story when watching another cool Longhorn presentation. And I wish others would too, especially journalists ...

  • by gmezero (4448) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @11:43AM (#8668245) Homepage
    Look I was all impressed with Microsoft's XP Tablet Edition when it came out recently until I one day came across the IBM ThinkPad 360P, 360PE and 750P laptops.

    Holy shit these were 486SX and 468DX touchscreen systems where the screen flipped over on top of the keyboard making the laptop a thick tablet computer.

    Running OS/2 Warp 4 with full pen functionality enabled, these systems are absolutely amazing. I never use the keyboard, even from a DOS window as the handwriting recognition is pretty darn good all across the OS (even with Win-OS/2 aps, etc...). ...the systems even seem to have support for pressure sensitivity but apparently that was never added into the full driver support because sometime around when Microsoft "decided" that pen computing was dead, everyone inlcluding IBM quit developing the format. It just makes me see red to think that this technology had to sit and stagnate for 10 years until Microsoft got off their ass and decided that *THEY* should be working on it again... and they shut down everyone else in the meantime. Man, I am so sick of this crap.

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