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Caldera

Caldera and Microsoft Settle Lawsuit 277

Hallow writes "While terms of the agreement remain confidential, according to a C:Net story, Caldera and Microsoft have settled out of court with Microsoft making a one-time only payment of about $150 million USD. This is much lower than the 1.6 billion in damages Caldera was seeking." Well, yes. Personally, I don't think Microsoft likes their chances in court these days.
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Caldera and Microsoft Settle Lawsuit

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  • The last time a betrayal of this magnitude occurred was 2000 years ago when Judas sold Jesus down the river for 30 pieces.

    So this was what it was all about. 150 million dollars. Ahab chasing Moby Dick, only to withdraw meekly at the last moment when the White Whale offered to make it worth his while.

    Caldera, I always knew that you were out to make money. I did not realize that that was your only objective, or that you would do anything for money. You had a chance to make a difference. M$ has never been so vulnerable, both legally and in the public eye. You had the chance to hit it hard where it hurt the most. You might have lost, but you could have entered the various pieces of evidence you had into public record and forced an awareness of M$'s business practices. You took their dirty money and slid out. You make me sick.

    From now on, you and I are enemies. I shall do everything in my power, use whatever influence I have on the world around me, to frustrate and thwart you at every turn. I shall make it my business to ensure that your version of Linux is never used by me, my friends, or any corporate setting I have control over.

    Have fun with your 30 pieces. While they last.

  • over 100 million people computers in the US use DOS. They just call it windows 95 or windows 98.
  • In some sense, (take this whatever way you like), Caldera was a 'sue Microsoft' spinoff from Novell, with Ray Noorda (ex. Novell head honcho who had a vendetta/blood-hunt to pursue) at the Helm.
    John
  • The issue as I see it is whether Microsoft *purposefully broke* compatibility with a competing product. Companies don't do that all the time, mostly it's just Microsoft. By claiming that MS-DOS & MS Windows (now '95/'98) were one product, and bundling them together, Microsoft ruined the market for other DOS variants, and their competing applications. (anyone used Stacker lately?)

    And, MS-DOS was a monopoly back then. And it was bundled with the computers back then too. And Microsoft leveraged that to maintain their market dominance. That, and the fact that IBM can't market themselves out of a paper bag, and Apple immediately crushes all good ideas that involve playing well with others. Microsoft is more subtle, and more evil. Never trust people who smile like that... :)

    I've used OpenDOS (now DR-DOS again?) before, and it's pretty similar, really. Just another DOS. Some things still work better with MS-DOS, but with a little tweaking, OpenDOS works just as well. *And* it had a command-line multitasker!

    Sure, it only multitasked as well as Windows 3.1, but that's a feature I would have *loved* to have had, back in the day. Heck, I wish Windows had that feature today, to transparently switch from text console to text console. That's just one of the many reasons why I'm running Linux now, instead.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • Microsoft's Windows monopoly status isn't at issue here. However, they did have a monopoly on the DOS market of the time, and it was DR-DOS that Microsoft was trying to kill (a competitor) using their monopoly power.
  • From the Lineo website:

    "In the summer of 1998, Caldera, Inc. created two separate companies to further focus the
    development, marketing and sales efforts of the company's two divisions: Caldera
    Systems, Inc. addressed its "Linux for Business" target, while Caldera Thin Clients, Inc.
    addressed the thin client embedded systems market.
    At present, Caldera Systems sells Linux-based products in various markets, with greatest
    profitability in the desktop and server market segments. Ransom Love, former VP of
    Marketing for Caldera Inc., is the current president and CEO of Caldera Systems, Inc.
    www.calderasystems.com
    In July 1999, Caldera Thin Clients changed its name to Lineo, Inc."

    I don't get the impression that Caldera Systems bought its way out of Caldera - since the company was privately held I have a hard time believing the parent company would do such a strategically-silly move.

  • well, this morining, CNN (AOLTimeWarner) stated that sources said that the figure was around $275M.

    Now, why would CNN (AOLTimeWarner) want to make Microsoft look bad by inflating that figure?

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • I've posted comments about the company I work for. And when I identify myself as an employee of that company, I don't blow my cover, I go "AC".

    I'll be damned if I'm going to put my career at risk for your informance. I'm happy to pass on relevant stuff that the "/. community" would be interested in, even when that could be considered a firing offense, or even an SEC violation. But despite the job market being nice for us techies and all, I'm not going to jeopardize my way of life and the support of my family just so you can be safe and secure about the source of the information. Trust it from an AC, or moderate it down. Your choice.

    But when I'm Jafac, I don't want anyone knowing who I work for. Many of my coworkers also read /..

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • The irony here (that M$ paid off Apple $150M plus an undisclosed sum thought to be in the $300-$500M range, and paid off Caldera, and others - etc.) is that even with all these legal problems, and defeats, Microsoft is still about the most profitable business in the history of business.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • well, let's see now. When M$ invested in Apple, it was at like $12/shr. Right? $150M/12=12.5 million shares.
    APPL is now @~$95/shr. So M$ has made about $83/shr profit.
    So that "Apple" fund at M$ is now worth about $1.0375 Billion.

    I think they can spare some.



    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Yeah, but that model is oversimplified when MegaCorp has it's hands in many diverse businesses (such as chipsets and motherboards, which is the lever Intel is applying to AMD lately).

    And also, this does not at all apply to software, where companies like Microsoft can give away IE free, because it costs nothing to produce another copy of IE. The fixed development cost is paid from OEM revenues from Win95. Netscape didn't have a cash-cow like Windows95. They had their internet server and their portal.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • "Funny, I don't see them complaining. Their founders are now wealthy, and their product will soon be integrated into
    AOL."

    Are you kidding? THey're all but dead. They couldn't survive against Microsoft on their own, they had to be bailed out by AOL. And as for Navigator being integrated into AOL, don't hold your breath, cause it'll make you blue.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".

  • One of the things that Caldera sought was access to MS APIs for a period of 10 years. If the $0.03 per share / $150M figure seems too low, perhaps it's because there were non-monetary components in the settlement, e.g., API disclosure, software or patent licensing, non-compete agreements, etc. Who knows, maybe Lineo picked up the rights to CE or something (ouch!).

    It would be interesting if Caldera got the 10-year API disclosure originally sought; that could lead to some significant improvements in Willows Twin, WINE, and/or some proprietary equivalent (WABI revival?).
  • I was looking forward to the trial and all the other lawsuits it would spawn if Caldera won. I guess Caldera decided that a sure $150 mil is better than a trial where M$ might be able to weasel out of by getting a jury that could be duped.

    After legal fees, I wonder how much will go to linux development?

  • Konstant has mentioned his employer in the past. He contributed to a thread that I started last summer.

    For the record, since you seem to be so damn picky about employment, I too worked for MS last summer as an intern. Hell, I'll even put it in my user info. Karma is something I can live without.

    The point is, nobody here acts as a mouthpiece for Microsoft or any other company; most companies wouldn't stoop so low to troll on slashdot. Stop your delusions that this site is more important than it really is. People speak their mind here; some people tend to agree with MS, and that's the way it is.
  • I think that it is a great shame that this important case has been settled rather than aired. Microsoft is getting way with something that should not be brushed under the carpet. If Caldera had carried through, the message that a judgement would have sent through commerce would have been fantastic. 150m is paltry compared with the damage that M$'s business practices have caused. M$ have made billions out of this sort of abuse and dropping the odd 150m back hander still makes it worth the risk to do it again.
  • Thats all i know about it. I know this because back in the day I would run DR-DOS 6.0. Untill I had to run Windows 3.1. Windows would start but soon crashed with some funky error (cant remember what..but it may have been runtime) at random times. Someone told me that Windows would not run on anything BUT MS-DOS, so like a good sheep i went out and payed for MS-DOS. After that windows ran fine.
  • SAMBA


    They "upgraded" some of the win32 clients at my work from win95 to 98. This broke SAMBA on the linux servers because MS changed the protocall just a little. Oops. The SAMBA team had a fix before we even knew what the problem was.

  • Long live Janet Reno! :)
  • I had this same problem. With DR-DOS v6. My setup:
    386SX16 with 4 megs RAM,IDE HD, trident VGA ISA card, NO sound card, rs232 mouse.


    I wiped the HD, installed DR-DOS then Windows 3.1 off a set of floppys that where brought when windows 3.1 first came out..NOT a beta version. Windows would start but crapped out at random times. EVEN before I installed any apps. I was told by some other people who had the same problem that the only fix was to get MS-DOS. I bent over and took it, i bought MS-DOS version 6, formated the drive, and installed DOS then Windows 3.1. After that Windows ran fine.

  • Not even close! Apple had two billion dollars in the bank at the time of Microsoft's "investment". The facts are that Microsoft (wittingly or unwittingly) used Apple-copyrighted code in Video For Windows, and was caught at it. The "Investment" was worked out as a face-saving measure with Steve Jobs. Also part of the deal was the continuation of development of MS-Office for Mac-OS. Microsoft was issued non-voting, non-preferred shares as I recall. As this class of share is not publically traded, its present value can only be a conjecture...
  • it's the year 2000 and people are still using DOS junk? Please. DOS isn't worth the tons of money that Caldera was asking for. Nevertheless it's still a product that makes money for Caldera and MS dumped on it so it's good that Caldera got the 150 million
  • by Anonymous Coward
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  • Caldera != Corel (as far as I know). Ack.

    Well, humor value is largely untouched. Wouldn't it be funny if something like this was the real explanation?

  • Caldera has a lot of internal EMAILs and such subpoena'ed from Microsoft that can be used as evidence, including a "smoking gun" EMAIL that had a top Microsoft executive basically telling his engineers "see if we can find some way to make Windows break if it runs on top of DR-DOS". While none of this evidence is directly usable for any other action I can think of, it could (and would) be entered into evidence as part of the process of "establishing a pattern of behavior" in any similar case against Microsoft.

    Not that I can think of such a case at the moment, except maybe the Netscape vs. MS case (where did that ever go anyhow?). Microsoft's been on good behavior the last couple of years, probably trying to keep from being dismantled by the DoJ.

    -E

  • The Caldera Inc. that got the money, and the Caldera Systems that got the investments, are two different companies. The Linux desktop and server business was spun off as Caldera Systems, and got the investments and is planning the IPO. The rest of Caldera's operations -- the old DR-DOS operation, the Lineo embedded OS operation -- are related to Caldera Systems only in that they have common stockholders.

    -E

  • Well, the 150M isn't going into the Linux desktop/server business, it's going to the embedded systems side (the side that got DR-DOS when Caldera Inc. was split up).

    I *am* rather surprised by the large loss that Caldera Systems racked up last year ($9M, according to the IPO filing that I just saw). Caldera has always struck me as sort of the SCO of Linux, a very conservative company more interested in building a VAR network than in competing with other vendors. That kind of company would not be interested in building up debt. I guess that things have changed up there in Utah since the last time I looked.

    -E

  • In a certain sense, Digital Research did open up their source at the time. It is my understanding they made their source available to just about anybody who wanted to port it to a new chip.

    Their business model required that they get their operating system running on as many different computers as possible. They made their money selling apps for the system. Ironically many developers thought they abused their inside knowledge of CP/M to dominate that market and chose to develop for IBM/MS's PC-DOS instead when it came out.

    It was the license indeed (as miniwookie suggests) that was their downfall. It never occurred to them someone would want to fork their code and use it to compete with them. But legal matters were never their strongest suit. Robert Cringely (in "Triumph of the Nerds") suggests their fear of IBM's NDAs was what caused them to pass up the most lucrative offer ever missed.

    But don't blame them too much for not using the GPL. In fact, it is my understanding that this is the very deal which led to the open-source movement understanding the need to have a "public license" in the first place.

    If anybody knows whether there is a connection there, I would be very interesting to see this confirmed in any way (or contradicted, if my understanding is in any way false).

    Remember, too, this is the second settlement MS has agreed to with regard to the Digital Research code. They cut a deal with DRI rather than let a judge compare their source code to CP/M. So, the real thing they probably paid this $160 million for is probably so no court would have to rule on the accuracy of their claim that DR-DOS was "just a clone of MS-DOS" when the opposite was probably closer to the truth.

    Remember, a lot of their mystique is based on the idea they were some kind of visionary coders. Their aura of invulnerability would be greatly hurt if it ever came out they stole the code that enabled the whole $400-billion rip-off.
  • I specifically said any silicon valley startup has more innovation than M$. You confused that with open source. 99% of the startups aren't open source.

    Redmond doesn't innovate. They steal, buy, plunder, but they do not innovate.

    --
  • VCs invest $5M. A year later, it gets M$ attention. They offer a choice: $5M or they develop (at much greater expense) their own hurry up version.

    M$ has done this many times. Look up their record.

    BTW, "unrefuseable offer" is a variation on the old Mafia phrase "an offer you can't refuse", meaning refusal is not a healthy option.

    --
  • The cnet article says M$ says there will be a 3 cent per share charge. Multiply that by the number of shares. Pretty simple. Certainly not particularly precise: between 2.5 and 3.5 cents a share. But that's close enough for this kind of arithmetic. What more do you want?

    --
  • You must be terribly naive to think those few words are the sole cause of this and other lawsuits and the terrible ill-will felt by most slashdotters and the larger computer community out there. How long have you been holed up in M$, getting all your outside info from the inhouse propaganda machine?

    I have friends who lost a chance to start a company, and I lost a job, because the Venture Capitalists said it was too good an idea: as soon as it got big enough for M$ to notice, they'd make an unrefuseable offer, and the investors wouldn't get their money back. Do you enjoy working for a compnay with that reputation?

    Do you have any idea how many companies were driven out of business by M$ vaporware announcements?

    Do you have any idea how many companies had to choose between taking a lousy offer from M$ to buy up their technology or going out of business when M$ copied their work and gace it away?

    Do you have any idea how many companies entered into investment negotiations with M$, only to find M$ backing out after seeing their secrets, and starting up a free inferior version, just to drive them out of business?

    Buster, if you like your work, then you don't like being creative, except with the truth. Any 2 bit Silicon Vally startup shows more innovation in a month than M$ has in its entire history.

    Enjoy your trailing edge work while you can. Be prepared to bail with your stock options fast, cuz when the share price starts sliding, it's gonna go fast. And I wouldn't bet on Balmer et al repricing your options to bail your ass out for you.

    --
  • > In other words, do you really think Caldera truly expected to get $1.6G from Micros~1? Do you know anyone
    >who has really expected to get what they sue for?

    I don't know where Caldera came up with their number, but if it had any justification, I'd assume they'd settle for a figure much closer to that $1.6x10^9.

    If you figure that the lawyer costs usually run 20% for settling out of court, 30% if it goes to trial & 40% if it goes to appeals, then it would make sense for them to settle for a quarter to half of what they wanted. Caldera would only settle for 10% of their claimed damages if they realised that their case wasn't anywhere near as solid as they thought -- in other words, they needed a way to retreat without losing face or suffering more damages.

    If this is the case, Micros~1 in effect gave them a quarter to go bother somebody else. Which would be odd, since up to this moment, it looked as if they had a very solid case against Micros~1.

    I'll wait for further verification. This just might be smoke & mirrors, like the FOAF who claimed Micros~1 was willing to settle with the DOJ by making Windows ``open source."


    Geoff
  • Sure there are ties. We are both owned by Ray Noorda (of Novell fame). We put a link on our page to them. They put a link on their page to us. We are supposed to have a "co-branding" relationship.

    All that is beside the point. Trust me on this. When it comes to the Caldera v. Microsoft lawsuit, Caldera Systems won't be getting a dime. The lawsuit was between Caldera, Inc. and Microsoft. Caldera, Inc. won (so to speak) and Caldera, Inc, not Caldera Systems, gets the money. C.S. is its own, totally independent company with no relationship to the lawsuit.

    Still not speaking for Lineo.

  • I was further thinking... The MS statement (and we all know how MS-speak is as carefully planned as when Bill Clinton talks about sex) was (from the news.cnet.com article)
    "a one-time charge against earnings for the quarter ending March 31".
    I wonder how many other "one-time charges for the quarter ended foo" are going to be charged? I bet the settlement is much larger than MS wants the world to think it is. I bet they just took it in the shorts. :)

    Still not speaking for Lineo since I don't know anything.

  • All kidding aside, this really overshadows the venture capital they've been getting for their proposed IPO. [cnet.com]

    Hope they can strike while the iron is hot.
  • Microsoft's Windows monopoly status isn't at issue here.

    If they didn't have monopoly status, then how is what they did illegal? Simply making a product that is incompatible with a competitor (even deliberately so) is not illegal under any law I know of.

    However, they did have a monopoly on the DOS market of the time, and it was DR-DOS that Microsoft was trying to kill (a competitor) using their monopoly power.

    But the allegation is not that they used their DOS monopoly to promote Windows, sine that would have been nonsensical. The allegation is that they used their Windows monopoly to promote DOS. And it is far from clear they had a Windows monopoly at the time.
  • Caldera dropped it because they had no case and they knew it. The alleged incompatibility was only in beta versions of the software, and in any event, I don't see that Microsoft has an obligation not to make Windows and DOS incompatible.
  • Simple, once the competitor is removed, you can charge what you like and do what you like. It wouldn't be illegal if it wasn't a well-established monopoly practise.

    There were a couple of threads about this in an Intel-vs-AMD story a while ago, and there were several reasons that this is not possible. The question is: could Megacorp destroy Tinycorp by selling its chips at a loss until Tinycorp went out of business? There are several reasons the answer is no:

    Market share. Megacorp has a lot more of it, which means that they will lose money faster than Tinycorp.

    Supply and demand. If you lower the price of something, the quantity demanded goes up. That means that not only are you selling chips at a loss, but you are selling a lot *more* chips at a loss than you otherwise would.

    Other production: Meanwhile, Tinycorp can keep its prices at its break-even point, and lie low while Megacorp runs out of money. In many cases, they can even shift their resources to other markets. They know that Megacorp needs to recoup those losses through higher prices, and all they have to do is wait for prices to increase again.

    Speculators. Megacorp also has to worry about people buying up their product and saving it in a warehouse for prices to go back up. This not only means that they are going to have to sell more than ever, but they will then be unable to raise prices much when it's over.

    Capital markets. Even if Megacorp does everything else right, Tinycorp can probably still go to the capital market and raise the money to keep fighting. After all, if Megacorp fails to knock Tinycorp out of the market, that will give it a strong position after Megacorp gives up. This is particularly true if Megacorp is trying to destroy several companies at once. Some of them might drop out, but others will stay in business and will be able to pick up the customers that the losers lost. Thus their position is valuable.

    I believe Standard oil actually tried this tactic on its competitors and failed. The antitrust action against them happened after they had already lost their total grip on the oil industry to upstart competitors. This is how antitrust law generally works: it protects mediocre companies from their more able competitors.

  • In order to destroy the market for DR-DOS, microsoft inserted an extra piece of code to detect DR-DOS and tell users that Windows was not compatible. In fact, Windows was compatible, microsoft's software lied to the enduser.

    No, this code never made it to the end user. It was in the beta version, and even there it didn't specifically say that it was incompatible, but only gave a vague, and non-fatal error.

  • Yeah, but that model is oversimplified when MegaCorp has it's hands in many diverse businesses (such as chipsets and motherboards, which is the lever Intel is applying to AMD lately).

    But that's a seperate issue. The AMD-vs-Intel thing was just an example of "predatory" pricing.

    Netscape didn't have a cash-cow like Windows95. They had their internet server and their portal.

    Funny, I don't see them complaining. Their founders are now wealthy, and their product will soon be integrated into AOL.
  • Are you kidding? THey're all but dead.

    I really don't have a clue what you mean here. They were purchased by AOL for several billion dollars, which is a whole heck of a lot more than it was worth when they started. And even today Netscape has a little under half the browser market, with AOL giving Microsoft about 10%.

    To the extent that they are "all but dead," that is largely their own fault. Netscape has not really improved much since version 3.0, and it has gotten buggier and more bloated. And IE really is a decent product in comparison. I see this as the proper result of competition: two approximately equal products each get about half the market.
  • If I remember correctly, the definition of ex post facto has to do with the enforcement of newly written laws, not with enforcing existing laws.

    You're right. If Caldera is arguing that MS was a monopoly in '91, knew it, and did this anyway, then that would not be ex post facto law and would not be unconstituional. But if they are simply using the fact that Microsoft is now a monopoly to punish actions that occured before the monopoly status existed, then that is ex post facto, since there is no way Microsoft could have known whether their market share would continue to increase.

    The question, then, is was Microsoft a monopoly in 1991? If you went back to 1991 and asked 10 antitrust lawyers if Microsoft is a monopoly under the Sherman Act, I'd bet you'd get at least 8 "no"'s. The simple fact that they have a larger market share than anyone else certainly doesn't make them a monopoly, since every industry has a market leader. As I said elsewhere, I'd be curious to see some numbers. Apple and OS/2 were both viable competition back then. I have a feeling, though, that the Windows market share was substantially less than it is today, and given how controversial Microsoft's monopoly ruling is today, it's even harder to make that case 10 years ago.
  • I'm going to blow my cover, such as it is, and state flat-out that I'm a Microsoft employee.

    That has always been obvious. Just one question: do you use Linux?
  • My response is, what the HELL? we settled over that!!! Especially when I ruminate over the fact that it only appears in a single beta, never saw a shipping customer, doesn't mention DR-DOS, AND allows you to continue unhindered

    I remember a chain of events that resulted in an expose in the pages of Doctor Dobbs re code that was encrypted in shipping versions of Win3.1, having to do with detection of Non-MS Dos. I remember Brad Chase blandly and patronizingly denying that anyone should read anyone into this. I don't really think anyone bought that line. Does anyone have more details on this?

    Where there's smoke there's fire. When you see 1 roach, you know there's 100 more you didn't see. I don't think that was the end of it.
  • As far as anyone other than Microsoft and Caldera is concerned, this case just went "poof" and disappeared.

    IANAL, but I don't think that's correct. The facts are still there, and Caldera could be subpoened to testify in any other case to which the evidence might be relevant, to help establish a pattern of condut. That would include anybody else with a similar axe to grind with Microsoft, or could even include the government since the issues in Caldera's case weren't even touched on in the current anti-trust action. If somebody hires David Boise to go after Microsoft with their own complaint, do you think he'll ignore Caldera's evidence and just let it sit there?
  • While none of this evidence is directly usable for any other action I can think of, it could (and would) be entered into evidence as part of the process of "establishing a pattern of behavior" in any similar case against Microsoft. Not that I can think of such a case at the moment...

    Oh, I can. Does the phrase "Dos isn't done until Lotus won't run" mean anything to you? I supposed IBM might just be a little interested in the way things are going. What do you think the chances are that noone else had problems this way? Why would Apple not now launch its own suit over apparent breakages of, hmm, Quicktime I think it was?

    Microsoft's been on good behavior the last couple of years...

    Do you really thing so? Old habits die hard.
  • I'm not familiar with the details of the case,

    For having no idea about what you are talking about, you seem quite sure of yourself.

    It alleges that Microsoft is guilty of producing a product that is compatible with one of its other products, and incompatible with a competing product. How is that a crime?

    Nope, that's not at all what the case is about. The case was about 2 things.

    One, Forcing distributers to put your product above another competitors product, where you are at an advantage. Like if there was a company that sold boards and a company that sold nails. Builders need both, so all is fine. However, the company that makes nails decide to sell boards also. But how will they get builders to buy their boards? Ah, no problem. You go to the company selling the nails and tell them that they won't have nails to sell unless they sell your boards. Problem solved, right? A company that doesn't sell nails, is a company that doesn't sell boards either, no matter who's boards they are.

    So, in this case, Microsoft effective kills competition by preventing OEM's from profitably selling DR DOS, instead of their DOS. It isn;t just Microsoft. All large companies that have a product that no one else makes, does the same thing. And they are also sued under anti-trust law, just like Microsoft was.

    Second, it is wrong to do something just because it destroys competition. Normally, companies will do this by selling their product at a loss until the competitor is forced out of business. However, this could be just about anything. Say there's a product that's requires a widget of a certain size. You make the widget and I make the widget. However, I make more volume then you do. The company that makes the product has contracts with both of us. However, I soon decide that you are not needed. I can the size of my widget, and tell the company that they either modify their product, or loss the contract. Well, volume of widgets that you produce is not enough to keep them in business, while I can produce enough widgets to meet their need. You quickly go out of business. In Microsoft's case, "adjusting the size of the widget", meant adding some code to prevent Windows from running on DR DOS. The motive was the same. No one expects MS too think of others first. But yet companies aren't allows to do things for the sole purpose of putting competitors out of business, either.

    -Brent
  • It's not Microsofts fault that they have so much sway in the software industry, per se.

    But besides that, they're not the only company that deals in vaporware. Along their respective histories, Apple, IBM, Oracle, Intel and every other "successful" company has used vaporware and FUD tactics. Since Microsofts the biggest, they stick out more as being the sore thumb.

    If opensource gains more of a foothold, we won't see so much FUD and pre-announcements, compared to anticpation. Already, people chatter about "I can't wait til version 2.4 of the kernels released because that will do this and this and this...". If Linux/other Open Source projects ever achieve the same market share as Microsoft does today, that anticipation could very well freeze the market. Even more so, because no company even has to acknowledge any activites... there will simply be the hope that someone, somwhere is fixing the problem.
  • My response is, what the HELL? we settled over that!!!

    That dialog box is only a small part of the case. And if it was just an innocent example of MS covering their asses, how do you explain the methods that they used to hide it?

    Caldera had you guys by the balls; you're lucky that your MS stock is still worth something. The only good thing that has come out of this is that maybe all the other Microsoft victims will see this settlement and at least get the idea, "Hey, at least we can get a few pennies on the dollar for the damage Microsoft did to us. That's better than nothing." and they'll start queueing up to sue. I can only hope.

    And then when I think about Caldera coldly calculating on this extortion as they bought DR-DOS.

    I guess that's a more comfortable thought than trying to recreate what was going through Microsoft's mind when they coldly calculated how to prevent other software companies from getting a foothold in the market.

    I'm in it for the ideals

    *cough* *sputter* Oh dear. I think I've just been trolled.

    The difference is, you get to be smug and superior and I have to spend 20% of my online time proving I'm not a devil simply because I have @microsoft.com behind my alias. Yes I'm resentful!

    I guess you would prefer it, if people didn't hold you responsible for the choice that you have made. Well, that's not gonna fly around here. If you weren't even with the company yet in '92, then surely when you joined, you knew what you were getting into. And you did it anyway.


    ---
  • Ms dos is 16 bit
    Dr dos is 32 bit

    9x sucks because of all the old buggy 16bit code

    you figure it out
  • I'm not familiar with the details of the case, but I don't see any way Microsoft's actions could be considered illegal.

    As I understand it, this is Caldera's case:

    First, it isn't that DR-DOS was incompatible with MS-DOS. It was that Microsoft put a check into MS-Windows to specficially detect third-party DOSes and disable Windows. Not because they were incompatible, but because they were competition.

    Second, Microsoft is a monopoly. Since they own the market for Windows, excluding a competitor would do serious damage to that competior.

    In the USA, it is not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is illegal to use that monopoly to compete. That was (in a nutshell) Caldera's case.

    (Oh, and to whoever moderated the above post down as "Flamebait": Get a grip. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean it is a flame.)
  • just as a quick reminder (to you and all other that post from within major companies) /. is a VERY public forum. A quote attributed to "a Microsoft Employee" carries plenty enough weight, esp. if backed up by another one. This has happened a number of times for different stories and companies. Just saying, remember where you are, and where a permanent record of what you are saying remains.
  • Linux is, I'm sure, a very competent operating system. However, it is also elitist. The predominant ethic scorns newbies and laughs at ignorance. Linux is a step backward, in my view, from my personal goal of software that brings the power of technology to truly uninformed novices who could benefit from computers but who have been taught - by people like yourself - to fear it. Microsoft is the only company that seems to care about this crowd. That is why I choose to work for them.

    No offense, but that is the single most misinformed paragraph I have read in a long time.

    Check out the mailing lists and see how much newbies are scorned. There are a few pricks in them (and many hang out here), but for the most part, people get help right away.

    Authors of OSS tend to actually listen to the users. They help them out, rather than recommending a "reinstall." Other users help out too, all of the time. Look at all the HOWTOs, lists, Ask Slashdot, and individual people who go out of their way to help someone out.

    I even help out Windows users. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about it as I am with Linux, but I help wherever I can.

    It wouldn't make much sense for me to tell people to fsck off when they have questions about Linux. If people get scared off, that means less apps for me to choose from.

    Actually, in my experience, it's the Windows people who are elitest. I have been laughed at by people who say, "sorry, but I like living in the present with a GUI. Not any of that command line crap." Now *that's* ignorance.
  • Before teaching history, learn it.

    IBM's PC had a 16-bit processor, while CP/M was only an 8 bit OS, that was the problem.

    Nice try, no cigar. CPM-86 had been around for several years at that point. I should know; I still have my original 8" CPM-86 disk complete with three-digit serial number.

  • If your really want to help the masses quit and get a job at Apple. Or better yet pick an open source project that you are interested in and design the best damned gui ever made for it.
    Use your talents to help better mankind and not put a few more dollars into the pockets of the richest man in the universe.
  • I wish Linux and Unix developers could see and admit the ways in which Linux and Unix are elitist. We'd all be so much better off if we'd just see this objectively and work on it.

    Why do programs in Linux still have arbitrary, meaningless, abbreviated names? Why is the directory structure still obscure? Is there a fear of typing more than 3 letters? And we (as a group) act as though KDE was some amazing accomplishment toward giving the average user a good GUI, but it's not. It's horribly cluttered, and the names of programs are still meaningless abbreviations.

    It's not an argument about which is better, GUI or command Line. It's just a question of why are we still using outdated, historical names for everything? It's like an old-time programmer who scoffs at C, Perl, and Java, saying assembly is more powerful, and only clueless newbies would want to program in a higher level language.

    ..and don't even get me started about program installation and permissions hell.

    It may be a better operating system (actually, I have little doubt of that), but there is a lot of obscurity in there that Linux folks actually seem to embrace, for no reason.
  • So Caldera was able to get DR-DOS at firesale prices, and then sued Microsoft for causing it to be available so cheaply in the first place. Does this seem pretty circular to anyone else out there?

    First of all, if Microsoft hadn't crushed DR-DOS and Caldera owned it, then Caldera might have a product which would be making a profit (sure, they were able to buy it cheaper, but that's a rather lame argument since it was cheaper because it didn't have much profit potential). But that's not really the point because Caldera purchased it specifically for the rights to sue Microsoft. Part of the price of the rights DR-DOS was, or at least should have been if Novell had priced it properly, the potential gains from a lawsuit against MS. Someone must have the right to sue MS for what they did to DR-DOS and Caldera purchased those rights from Novell, there's nothing circular about it.
  • You might rage over this little dialog box, but you're missing the evil hiding underneath it. Microsoft CRIPPLED DrDos! What the hell is an 'error' doing where none should exist? There's no reason for this so-called 'non fatal error' other than to give DRDOS a black eye. Why was the code that generated this 'harmless' little error hidden and ENCRYPTED?

    I feel sorry for you if you can't see WHY this is a bad thing, I really do.


    Perhaps it's because I'm a tester. After my long and tortuous travels through gigs of alpha debug code, I no longer consider an ignorable assert (which essentially this is) as any sort of real barrier to anything. Hit ENTER and live your life.

    I can't argue with the gentleman who wrote the Dr.Dobbs article because I simply am not qualified. It certainly looks as though somebody tried to hide the testing code, doesn't it? But that really seems like a peripheral issue to me, considering that this dialog was (as I said) enabled only for a single beta build, and doesn't even mention the OS.

    You hate them for their motives. But I don't think you have an argument when it comes to their actions.

    And yes, I'm considerably calmer now... :)

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • If the lawyers felt that settling was the best legal decision, then I'd guess that they know better then me. The lawyers probably spent hundreds of hours studying the case, and the merits of it. Who are you to claim that they are idiots?

    If they are the same individuals that tried to defraud the Hon. Jackson with that falsified videotape, they certainly seem like idiots to me. but regardless, I believe the reason we settled was to end the litigation as a gesture towards our stockholders. The lawyers probably were taken off guard when the motions to dismiss were denied - they hadn't expected a real, protracted lawsuit, I"m guessing.

    If you think that that "dialog" was the only thing the case was about, then no wonder you are confused. Is that what the internal memo told you to believe the case was about?

    There was no such memo. They don't encourage us to worry about the trials here; we're repeatedly told to behave just as we always have and let the lawyers take care of it. Of course, many of us also do our own investigation on the side. The dialog message I quoted above was extracted from the AARD Dr. Dobbs article, actually.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • DDJ does seem pretty good. This month's security issue has convinced me to get a subscription.

    However, I'm not sure it's legally relevant whether Microsoft wanted to disable DR-DOS with the concealed code. It certainly looks dastardly, doesn't it? But legally, Caldera would have had to prove harm, and I'm not sure they really could do that, considering that the error was ignorable, only present in a single beta build, and that, furthermore, developers writing apps for either platform would supposedly have been supported by the "100% compatible DR-DOS".

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Thank you for bringing up this valid point. I have changed my user info to reflect my affiliation.

    However, I would like to explain that I didn't disclose my employer because

    1) people here hate MS irrationally and I didn't want to end up in dozens of tedious scraps over nothing. Don't bother denying it, you know it's true.

    2) we've been asked by the company not to post anything about our legal woes that might seem like an official statement if it were twisted out of context. That seems to happen a lot these days... Of course I'm about as far from official as you can get, but that hardly seems to stop some people.

    However, I don't see there's much choice now. Hopefully my non-MS posts, which constitute a large majority, will continue to be moderated with the same objectivity they always have. I somewhat doubt it, however.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!

  • I'm in it for the ideals

    *cough* *sputter* Oh dear. I think I've just been trolled.

    The difference is, you get to be smug and superior and I have to spend 20% of my online time proving I'm not a devil simply because I have @microsoft.com behind my alias. Yes I'm resentful!

    I guess you would prefer it, if people didn't hold you responsible for the choice that you have made. Well, that's not gonna fly around here. If you weren't even with the company yet in '92, then surely when you joined, you knew what you were getting into. And you did it anyway.


    I won't respond to your other comments because I've already done so too many times, but I would like to point out to you that free software and Linux do not have a stranglehold on virtue.

    Linux is, I'm sure, a very competent operating system. However, it is also elitist. The predominant ethic scorns newbies and laughs at ignorance. Linux is a step backward, in my view, from my personal goal of software that brings the power of technology to truly uninformed novices who could benefit from computers but who have been taught - by people like yourself - to fear it. Microsoft is the only company that seems to care about this crowd. That is why I choose to work for them.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Anyway, don't get too angry about this. Remember that for your company $150 million probably isn't even significant digits. I mean it wouldn't be noticed after round off error.

    So it's justified because MS is rich?

    150 million dollars is approximately 150 times what I can even dream of seeing in my lifetime. The notion that this kind of money should go to a company that (in my view) has behaved very immorally is a travesty.

    The sum is irrelevant. It's the principle that riles me up.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Thank you very much for your kind words.
    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Do you have any idea how many companies were driven out of business by M$ vaporware announcements?
    Etc...
    etc..


    I have never said that Microsoft is not culpable of crimes. On some charges I personally think we probably are. On others, I'm not sure. Losing the DoJ trial, for example, might gratify me as justice. But on this particular count, I emphatically thing that we are the ones being wronged. I don't believe in marking any person or any company permanently with black because of their other wrongs. I try to evaluate case by case, and this case was a sorry thing indeed.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • It's nice to see Caldera get some money ... but they're not the ones who made DR DOS what it was when Microsoft started crushing it.

    Besides, if that lawsuit had actually gone to court, we would've finally had the facts heard about how Microsoft designed Windows 3.to be artificially slower on competing DOSs. This is still debated today (many claiming that, like other historical events, it didn't happen).

    It's sad really, that $150 million will silence an honest fight for truth. But I guess it was really about money, not truth. Many other companies could've used that precedent ... but we'll never know now.

    Note: I was much more in favour of Caldera's suit than the DOJ's "Netscape" case ... it had more meat on it.
  • I'm assuming that you don't have a problem with any of the Office related issues that have come up in previous anti-trust thoughts and discussions. For instance, MS Office in several versions, uses undocumented internal functions in Windows that are not available (as they are undocumented) to other Office application companies. When asked about these functions, MS at one time (in about 1993) responded that they were, in fact, to slow down MS Office and allow others to compete.

    Hogwash.

    Want to do more research on history before you get all upset about one message's meanings?
  • I'd like to point out that very few people would have been upset about your not mentionning that you're from MS as your E-mail address is, after all, "@microsoft.com" at the top of every message.
  • This is pretty simple. They don't need a windows monopoly to promote DOS with it. They had a DOS monopoly, and they had windows. Windows would not run on DR DOS, only MS DOS. Thus no one would put DR DOS on their machines if they wanted to run windows. OEMs could not use DR DOS, especially if they bundled with windows.


    Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.

  • A guaranteed $150 million today buys a lot more than a possible $1.6 billion tied up in appeals for the next decade and a half. And they probably wanted to get their money before the DOJ and everyone else ass-rapes Microsoft for every penny they've got.
  • Having worked for a company that had more
    lawyers on its staff than legitimate employees
    I must say this is true. ie we'll ask for
    5x but will settle in a heartbeat for X.

    The weird thing about this announcement is
    timing. Wasn't there just an announcement this
    morning about a big cash infusion over at caldera?

    Why bother selling off big chunks of the company
    at a huge discount to raise chump change (33+
    million or so) when you have to know that you
    are about to settle and get a windfall? What's going on in Orem, Uncle Ray?

    Sounds to me that their CFO needs to find out what
    the litigators are up to.

    I'm sure the micros~1 lawyers were eager to settle
    this one. Just think of all the possibly
    incriminating documents that won't see the light
    of day now.

    The micros~1 folks really got the better deal on
    this one. Let's not forget that the $1.6 billion
    was subject to treble damages should the anti-trust case been proven. $5 billion is a
    lot of money, even for bill & co. A hit like that
    would cause spasms on wall street.

    --chuck


  • Well when I think about the difficulty of convincing a jury of average (read computer un-savy) people that:

    A) Windows and dos are really 2 seperate things

    B) That DR-DOS was more than "Just a Clone" of DOS

    C) That when MS played squash that competitive company DOS was really alive and well (win3.0 really didn't cause as much overnight change as people think)

    I think that Caldera came out pretty well. sure they only got $150M instead of $1.6B but would you like your largest profit for the year to be lawsuit income?? With this money Caldera should be able to make some substantive improvements in their business. Be it a new product, more R&D, better support, or Bonuses for all the poor overworked coders :). In the end a much better company has this chunk of mulah now and the customers will surely be the ones to benefit.

  • Didn't M$ pay off Apple for their trademark infringement in the sum of $150 million as well?

    Oh wait a minute, it was called an "investment" in $150 million of non voting shares.
  • My response is, what the HELL? we settled over that!!! Especially when I ruminate over the fact that it only appears in a single beta, never saw a shipping customer, doesn't mention DR-DOS, AND allows you to continue unhindered.

    I'm not sure what the equivalent version was for the production release of Win 3.1. I was a DR-DOS 6 user when I went to install !in 3.1. There was a spurious error that I could NOT continue from. If I booted from a MSDOS floppy before installing win 3.1, then the install process worked perfectly, and the installed windows worked perfectly.

    As a retail customer of all three products, I was bitten by spurious errors during win 3.1 installation on DR-Dos. I forget what the actual error messages were. Eventually MS gave me a copy of DOS 6.0 in exchange for sitting through a presentation on how wonderful it was, and I stopped paying attention to DR. I forget what the spurious errors were.
  • I think this is a pretty clearly cut and dried case of what happens to a company that, through intentional tactics, manages to obtain an unfairly large slice of the economic pie. Reeling, the small guys take some time to catch back up; but when they do -- they all have their hands out. There must be a built in measure of balance somewhat in the world of economics. The really ensconched players in the big picture, like the big tobacco companies, manage to fend off their demise with "good 'ole boy" tactics, which for some reason fail to work with what most of us associate to be the "next generation", which is why the sudden attack and vicious wounding in that segment of --firmly rooted-- american agriculture, history and industry, has taken place. But everybody "played ball", so to speak, so the progression of the "business" continued for an extended period of time. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems repeatedly to be accused of being unwilling to "play ball" with anyone -- my way or the highway, said with a growl in the gruff. The old ways don't work anymore, nor have they worked for some time. That, more importantly than most other factors I can think of, seems to be the ailment at Microsoft. The transition from one set of generational standards to the next -- and the resulting clash thereafter -- is obviously an important factor within the overall picture thus far in the legal actions brought against Microsoft. It's been a sea of change within an ocean of change since 1979 and I'm hard-pressed for an argument to the negative that what Microsoft did was understand better the concept of what a computer could become than the other guys at the time. And, if any of the other guys did happen to understand a couple of extra pieces of the vision, Microsoft assimilated the technology and did the stuff that Microsoft does to make it popular, and fill the coffers, which fueled the ideal, which filled the coffers, which gave more than a few folks one damn nice living. The trouble is -- the equivalent of hyennas have moved into the area. Microsft, being obsessed with a vision and the desire to be the king regardless of the consequences, has now found that, as with what appear to be many other laws of balance that exist in any identifiable system, being the king is undeseriable with no loyal subjects. As within another realm of instinctual competition, the pack is beginning to organize their attack. What will the king do?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:00PM (#1385085)
    .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2000 @04:11PM (#1385086)
    I was examining the "evidence" Caldera was presenting ...Here's the dialog ... we settled over that!!

    As I rifled through that evidence, it seems to me that the DR-DOS detection was not the only evidence in the case. I felt it was key in that it identified DR-DOS as particulary a target of Microsoft's plan to cement its grip on PC OEMs. Its clear, however, that Caldera's complaint is about more than one act, unlike your defense.

    never saw a shipping customer

    It was seen by a group even more important than the OS end-user: It was seen by developers and integrators interested in using DR-DOS. I'm sure Microsoft views these guys as customers, doesn't it? In an emerging technology market, their decisions steer the masses. I was there, developing Windows software, using DR-DOS. I remember the uncertainty. I knew the potential that any company had to make its products not work well with another. It would not have taken a big problem to dissuade me from supporting DR-DOS.

    something so patently unjust

    Like patenting Style Sheets after the original CSS proposal?

    And then when I think about Caldera coldly calculating on this extortion as they bought DR-DOS

    Sure, lets not think about the scores of hardware / OEM clientel feeling trapped, tallying the potential economic loss from cliff pricing, unbundling Windows from MSDOS, or of simply getting on Joachim Kempin's list. Now those are some cold calculations.

    proving I'm not a devil

    No proof needed: I know many fine folks hired by Redmond. I hope you won't take these args personally.

  • by bhurt ( 1081 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @06:33AM (#1385087) Homepage
    I'm not an employee of either company. But I was a DR-DOS user when this stuff went down. Some comments, if I may:
    1) MS used this very error message as a springboard for a serious FUD campaign. Microsoft convinced people that Windows-on-DRDOS was even more unstable than Windows-on-MSDOS.
    2) The peice of code responsible for this was encrypted. Now, pray tell, why go to extreme lengths to hide the code if it was legitimate?

    But that wasn't the only leg the lawsuit stood on. There was also the minor issue of per-processor licensing and other predatory pricing schemes designed to keep DR-DOS out of the OEM market.

    So drown your sorrows in free coke and stock options. You get _no_ sympathy from me.
  • by ksheff ( 2406 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:05PM (#1385088) Homepage

    Didn't MS invest $150 mil in Apple to avoid some legal issues? It must be the most money M$ Legal Dept can take out of petty cash.

  • by binarybits ( 11068 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:31PM (#1385089) Homepage
    ...that Microsoft didn't have the guts to stand up for itself. I don't blame them, given how unfairly they've been treated in other cases, but I see no reason Microsoft should pay a cent to these vultures.

    Consider the implications of this lawsuit. It alleges that Microsoft is guilty of producing a product that is compatible with one of its other products, and incompatible with a competing product. How is that a crime? It happens all the time, and when anyone other than Microsoft does it, no one even notices. But apperantly, now that Microsoft has been declared a "monopoly," it has to play by an entirely different set of rules.

    At the very least, this strikes me as retroactive law, something I thought was outlawed by the Constitution. Microsoft in the early 90's was not aware it was a "monopoly," and in fact it was far from clear that they would be able to maintain their dominance in the market, much less expand it. They were still going at it with both Apple and OS/2, and either of them could easily have beaten MS if they had played their cards right. To punish MS for being a monopoly at a time when it was not generally agreed that it was a monopoly is ludicrous.

    Even if they are a monopoly, I don't see how the above can be considered a crime. If I write a piece of software and I've only tested it in Windows, it might be perfectly reasonable for me to only allow it to run under Windows, to ensure that the users get a consistent experience. If someone comes out with a Windows variant, I don't see any obligation on my part to support that variant, and in fact, if I haven't tested it on that variant, it might be reasonable for me to refuse to allow it to run on that variant to make sure there are no unnecessary bugs. This logic doesn't change when the company concerned is Microsoft.

    I'm not familiar with the details of the case, but I don't see any way Microsoft's actions could be considered illegal. I'm not even sure there's anything unethical about refusing to make one's product compatible with that of a competitor, whether one has a "monopoly" or not.
  • Having read the evil error dialog in question I simply cannot believe we would settle for even a penny in damages. In fact, I'm outraged that we let Caldera bully us into any money whatsoever. I personally think they should pay us for wasting our time.

    Obviously, the lawyers didn't agree with you. I find it humorous that a Microsoft employee who has no law training, and probably hasn't studied any of the evidence of the case, apart from what the press reported, thinks that he knows better then the lawyers how the case can be handled. Either two things have happened here. You are blowing hot air around, or Microsoft hired some lousy lawyers. Somethings telling me that the first guess is probably more correct.

    If the lawyers felt that settling was the best legal decision, then I'd guess that they know better then me. The lawyers probably spent hundreds of hours studying the case, and the merits of it. Who are you to claim that they are idiots?

    Back to the topic at hand, just today I was examining the "evidence"

    Yes, let's.

    Here's the dialog you're all gloating over without having read:

    If you think that that "dialog" was the only thing the case was about, then no wonder you are confused. Is that what the internal memo told you to believe the case was about? IMHO, that was probably the weakest part of the case, which was probably why Microsoft decided to blow it way out of proportion and focus just on that. Much like how they spewed out garbage about "Freedom to Innovate" during the anti-trust trial, when the anti-trust trial had nothing ot do with their freedom to innovate.

    -Brent
  • by Lumpish Scholar ( 17107 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:26PM (#1385091) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft had lost the Caldera case -- if it had gotten to the point where a jury reached a verdict -- there would be a legal precedent on the books. Microsoft has managed to avoid that so far, always stalling or settling before anything goes in the record.

    (Microsoft went to verdict in the Bristol case [cnet.com], but they won. There was only a preliminary injunction, since overturned, in Sun's Java case [sun.com]. Of course, the original DOJ case against Microsoft was settled.)

    Jackson's finding of fact is preliminary; if he never reaches endgame (not even the finding of law, but an actual verdict with remedy/punishment), it's so much hearsay.
  • by turg ( 19864 ) <(turg) (at) (winston.org)> on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:22PM (#1385092) Journal
    The terms of the agreement are confidential (this is pretty common in settlements). Therefore, it means nothing to any other case. Microsoft could have said like "Woo-hoo, we used our monopoly to whup your butts and we plan to squeeze every software company but us out of business." Or Caldera might have said "oops. We just made it all up. Thanks for the cash."

    It doesn't matter what they agreed. We'll never know. As far as anyone other than Microsoft and Caldera is concerned, this case just went "poof" and disappeared.

  • I have discussed the antitrust topics with konstant in the past. And I don't believe him to be unfairly biased at all!

    How many Red Hat or AOL/Netscape employees who would love to see Microsoft drowned in litigation reply to this topic without such honesty? And they have every right to. Even if this good man konstant declined to mention his employer... perhaps, as a human with knowledge and feelings about this case has a right to speak. He has made no secret of his affiliations in the past anyway. And he raises a good point about the buying of a company just to prop up a letigious lawsuit against a rival! Read: AOL buys Netscape or Microsoft invests in Apple... etc...

    In short, I'd like to say: "Listen to the message, and remember the source doesn't matter if the logic is valid!" Perhaps he can add something good regardless.

    Personally I think $150 million is a valid amount to settle for and mutually beneficial to both parties, except of course for Novell Systems!

    -Ben
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @05:11AM (#1385094) Homepage Journal
    You're lookig at it the wrong way. DR-DOS was sold as a financial asset, not just an operating system.

    Novell had the right to sue Microsoft, but had better things to do with its time, or maybe couldn't afford to antagonize MS, or whatever. For whatever reason, Novell wasn't interested in pursuing a lawsuit, but nonetheless the potential for a lawsuit was a financial asset which the officers had a duty to do something with, if only to liquidate it at a fraction of its potential value.

    It's just like selling your receivables to a collection agency. The customer is not off the hook because you struck the debt from your books.

  • by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @03:51PM (#1385095) Homepage
    You should have already disclosed this when posting as yourself (ie not an AC). I work for a large corporation, and when commenting on a story involving my company, I always mention it, as do many other /.'ers. I may choose to post my comment anonymously (we're not supposed to comment publicly on certain things), but I always make the point.

    Reviewing your User Info, I see no less than 9 MS-related comments (not including this one) over the last few weeks. None of them mentioned that you are a MS employee, although it was highly relevant.

    Posts from this account can never be trusted again. Not because you are a MS employee -- I have no personal grudge against Microsoft, and think it's a positive thing that MS employees read and post on /. -- but because you didn't tell the whole truth.
  • by mochaone ( 59034 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:03PM (#1385096)
    I think Caldera stood a good chance to win a much larger settlement and to send Microsoft an important lesson: They will be held accountable to past illegal activities. I guess in their eyes that $150 million is better than nothing, considering what they paid for Dr-DOS.

    I hope the Feds and States don't cave in.

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:45PM (#1385097)
    I'm going to blow my cover, such as it is, and state flat-out that I'm a Microsoft employee. And as a worker at MS, let me say that I am feel than a little pissed and betrayed by this settlement.

    Now, before you say anything, let me quell your paranoid delusions. I'm not paid to troll slashdot or anything like that (in fact, don't tell my boss my karma is in triple digits :) I just so happen to work at Microsoft and be kind of geeky. Imagine that.

    Back to the topic at hand, just today I was examining the "evidence" Caldera was presenting in its suit against us in relation to the article posted earlier about the company. BTW, I consider Caldera's earlier post a rather cynical manipulation of the slashdot machine to drum up hype. They obviously wanted as many Linux eyes as possible watching their site before they changed the DNS redirection to www.drdos.org.

    Having read the evil error dialog in question I simply cannot believe we would settle for even a penny in damages. In fact, I'm outraged that we let Caldera bully us into any money whatsoever. I personally think they should pay us for wasting our time.

    Here's the dialog you're all gloating over without having read:

    -----------------------------
    Non-fatal error detected: error #4D53
    (Please contact Windows 3.1 beta support.)

    * Press ENTER to continue.

    ENTER=Continue.
    -----------------------------

    My response is, what the HELL? we settled over that!!! Especially when I ruminate over the fact that it only appears in a single beta, never saw a shipping customer, doesn't mention DR-DOS, AND allows you to continue unhindered. I wasn't with the company in 92 or whenever win3x was in beta, but no matter how evil they may have been and no matter how much they may have tried to kill DR-DOS, that dialog contributed exactly nothing to the process. To submit it as "evidence" is a farce!

    And then when I think about Caldera coldly calculating on this extortion as they bought DR-DOS. God damn I feel betrayed by the American legal system! Not to mention my own company, which I had thought would stand up against something so patently unjust!

    Whatever you might think of my company, I love the work I do. It gets more exciting every year, and I know that Office, where I work, produces the highest quality productivity software in the world, bar none. So when a thug like Caldera takes advantage of our obviously compromised legal situation to levy this blackmail on us, it makes me livid.

    There are some people at the company who seem relieved by this. Those are the people who only care about stock options. Yes, I imagine our stock will go up as a result. But I'm not in it for the money because god knows they don't pay me enough. I'm in it for the ideals, just like many of you who work in the Linux world. The difference is, you get to be smug and superior and I have to spend 20% of my online time proving I'm not a devil simply because I have @microsoft.com behind my alias. Yes I'm resentful!

    But hell, what can I do? Guess I'll just go drown my misery in another free Coke and wait for Steve Ballmer to rain some platitudes down on us in a live simulcast...

    Live it up while you can, guys. The suits will eat you sooner or later.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by sloop ( 135178 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:33PM (#1385098) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft did more damage than what Caldera is talking about with this trial. First of all, Caldera was never really hurt. Caldera bought DR-DOS in 1996 (from Novell, which had gotten it from Digital Research. While Novell owned it, it was called Novell DOS), and the DAY AFTER Caldera bought it, they launched this lawsuit against Microsoft. Kind of ironic, dont you think?

    Also, The main reason Digital Research or Caldera has to be mad at Microsoft, is that Microsoft ripped them off to begin with. In the 70's, Digital Research made CP/M which was used by Microsoft, and was the most popular OS of the time. In 1981 when IBM was starting their PC, they couldn't get DR to make an OS for it, so Microsoft said they would make an OS for IBM. IBM's PC had a 16-bit processor, while CP/M was only an 8 bit OS, that was the problem. Microsoft bought QDOS (quick and dirty OS) from a small company in Seattle. QDOS was only a rip off clone of CP/M which could run on 16-bit processors. Microsoft then called it Disk OS, (the name DOS was also used by IBM internally in the 70s) and gave PC-DOS to IBM royalty-free. Microsoft then made money by licensing MS-DOS to IBM clone makers.

    DR-DOS was made after PC boom by Digital Research to try to gain some of the marketshare which was rightfully theirs to begin with.

    MS-DOS was only an unauthorized clone of CP/M adapted to run on 16-bit processors

    So, I think Caldera should be concentrating on how Microsoft sold "their" DOS.
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @06:02PM (#1385099) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's accounting procedures have been... unusual. I would question if we really have an accurate idea of how much money MS actually has. In particular, I wonder whether perhaps Microsoft DOESN'T HAVE much more than the $150 million.

    wavy dissolve, to the court's private meeting room

    MS: Well, there's something you should know. We only have 400 million dollars anyhow, and we need most of that to maintain operations. How about $10 million and we'll settle this here and now?
    Caldera:*shock* You're kidding! You guys are supposed to have countless billions!
    MS:*wry bitter grin* Well, that is counted _before_ paying the salaries of this year's workforce, which of course is figured _after_ paying the tax assuming the outgoes for _two_ years ago...
    Caldera:*ulp* You guys are worse than _we_ are, even with Cowpland.
    MS: Kinda scary, isn't it?
    Caldera: You said it.
    MS: So how about settling for 8 million like good fellows, huh?
    Caldera: You just said ten million!
    MS: Stock fluctuation. Hey, give us a break.
    Caldera: Sure. 200 million.
    MS: You're crazy!
    Caldera: And loving it. 200 million. Now.
    MS: There isn't that much.
    Caldera: Do tell! 150 million, then. Or we repeat what you just said to Wall Street. Because it would amuse us.
    MS: Bastards! All right. 150 million. And you better settle and not be a problem to us anymore!
    Caldera: In cash.

    The truth is out there....

  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @03:36PM (#1385100)

    For the sake of argument, let's assume that Microsoft unfairly crushed DR-DOS, although I'm not so certain that it is indeed the case. So, if not for Microsoft, then DR-DOS would have had a healthy spot in the marketplace against MS-DOS. If that was the case, then Caldera would never have been able to purchase DR-DOS for the chump change that they paid for it, because DR-DOS would've been a lot more valuable. If Caldera was really interested in owning DR-DOS after the fact, then it seems like it was to their benefit that Microsoft severely lowered its value so that they could buy it on the cheap. So Caldera was able to get DR-DOS at firesale prices, and then sued Microsoft for causing it to be available so cheaply in the first place. Does this seem pretty circular to anyone else out there? Gotta love lawyers...

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • by Skevin ( 16048 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:06PM (#1385101) Journal
    I know the subject sounds contradictory, but there IS a certain etiquette to suing someone: the amount you're suing for should always be higher than the actual amount you're willing to settle with. Producing an initially high figure is intended to simply get the attention of the legal department of the company you're attacking. In other words, do you really think Caldera truly expected to get $1.6G from Micros~1? Do you know anyone who has really expected to get what they sue for?
    Especially against Microsoft, you would need to heavily inflate the amount you "expect" from the settled suit.

    S. Kevin Chang
    Database Design and Programming
    Disney Televentures
  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:43PM (#1385102) Homepage
    I'm one of the few (I suppose we're few) that's taken the time to read (or at least skim) all of the lawsuit material Caldera has posted on thier site. They had Microsoft cold on violations of the law that are far more serious than anything in the DOJ trial.

    While it's not surprising that Microsoft should go to extraordinary lengths to keep this from going to trial (which was due to happen next week, IIRC), it *is* surprising that Caldera would be willing to do them such a favor for such a small sum of money. (C'mon, folks, LESS THAN 1%??!)

    True, a trial would have been expensive for Caldera, but I still think the Caldera trial was a far bigger threat to Microsoft (both in itself and in addition as fodder for the DOJ)than the wimpy DOJ action.

    Game over, man. All you college guys go get that MCSE, because they've got carte blanche to go full speed ahead, leaving behind the twisted wreckage of what was once a healthy software industry.

    On the other hand, this means open source is the last best hope, even though its ability to deliver on the promise in the non-geek space has yet to be tested. I really think in a few years, this day will mark the turning point at which everything rested on the shoulders of a penguin. A fine penguin, to be sure, but very possibly not up to the task of slaying Goliath. (Note to those that moderate down any non-glowing comment about Linux: do a reality check: how many non-geeks do you know choosing Linux? A few possibly, but not a lot just yet.)

    I needed a new distro this week, and just chose Corel after three happy (well, OK, not unhappy) years with Caldera. (My innate contrarianism and the fact that I'm sadly more interested in being a user than a hacker these days makes it the right choice.) Looks like I made the right choice. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Caldera just threw in the towel before the bell even rang.
  • by coredog ( 58532 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @04:53PM (#1385103)
    IIRC, the code you speak of was never provided in a release version, only beta.

    If you don't believe me, check out this link to DDJ:
    http://www.ddj.com/articles/1993/9309/9309d/9309 d.htm

    Here's a telling quote from the same article:
    So whenever I've heard accusations that Microsoft practices so-called "cruel coding" to keep Windows from running on DR DOS, I look at the facts: Windows 3.1 Enhanced mode does run on DR DOS. Standard mode does not run, but that's because of a DR DOS bug acknowledged by Novell (see Undocumented DOS, Second Edition).

    But then, that shiznit doesn't play on /., 'cuz it's bash, bash, bash.
  • by jtosburn ( 63943 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:17PM (#1385104)
    This is such a shame....they had great documentation and really could have helped the rest of the world attempt to reign in the power of Redmond. Heck, they even had access to parts of the source code of Win95 (via a hotly contested subpeona). Now, none of Caldera's years of effort (and Novell's before them) will become part of a public court record; no precedent will be set. For that benefit ALONE MS should have coughed up FAR more $$.
    But if that $30 mil influx of cash announced this morning was a big deal, five times that ammount still sounds pretty good. I guess Noorda doesn't have the staying power he used to.....
    I was really looking forward to this trial, even more than the DOJ case.
    C'est la vie.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @03:26PM (#1385105) Homepage Journal
    I can't sit here and read this crap without feeling pissed as hell. Who the fsck moderated this up?
    I don't blame the poster for his words because he admits to being young and not being at MSFT when this story broke...but to moderate it up is just obscene.

    Moderators and all interested parties please read this article [ddj.com] from a September 1993 issue of Doctor Dobb's Journal and decide for yourself if Caldera had a reason to sue for billion$ and if this was a frivolous lawsuit. Also remember that even though the offending code never shipped to consumers it was shipped to the trade press, who then would review Dr-DOS and in their reviews state that certain error messages popped up...(effectively killing Dr-DOS as a viable option for anyone who planned to buy it based on favorable reviews). Secondly, MSFT would not risk shipping the offending code to consumers less some enterprising hacker discover the truth about the error message, but they failed to account for enterprising hackers in the trade press .
    PS: DDJ is a first-class magazine. A bit over my head sometimes but first class nonetheless.
  • by andersen ( 10283 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:24PM (#1385106) Homepage
    Caldera, Inc. (Holding Company, owner of DR-DOS -- CEO Bryan Sparks) is the parent company of Lineo, Inc. (Embedded Linux, exclusive licensee of DR-DOS -- CEO Bryan Sparks). Caldera, Inc. used to be the parent company of Caldera Systems, Inc. (CEO Ransom Love), but Caldera Systems purchased its way out from under Caldera. This lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with Caldera Systems. Wanna check? See http://www.lineo.com/ [lineo.com] for the press release. Next, check out http://www.calderasystems.com/ [calderasystems.com] and you will see nothing. Nada. Zip.

    Furthermore, the math that folks have been doing (i.e. 3 cents per share * # shares microsoft) is flawed. Nobody really knows how much MS is actually paying, and nobody is going to tell either. I don't know, but I feel very confident that the total amount is much more than the alledged 150 million. Of course I don't know, since nobody around here will talk numbers (per the agreement with MS).

    I am an employee of Lineo, but I'm not speaking for them (as if they would trust me).

  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:02PM (#1385107)
    Today, Microsoft and Caldera settled their long-standing lawsuit in which Caldera claimed Microsoft used its dominance with Windows 3.1 eliminate DR-DOS, which Caldera obtained from Novell in 1996, as a competing operating system.

    Bryan Sparks, CEO of Caldera said, "We are happy to have finally settled this lawsuit to the satisfaction of both companies" while casting furtive glances at the two hulking, brutish men in black suits, dark glasses and Microsoft employee badges standing behind him.

    -=-=-=-=-

  • by spaceorb ( 125782 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @02:22PM (#1385108)
    Caldera, on their site http://www.drdos.com [drdos.com] gives an answer as to why they settled and what they think they were achieving here [drdos.com]

    An excerpt from their Q&A page:

    Q: I thought Caldera filed the case based on principals (or to change behavior), not just to collect money. What did you accomplish?

    A: We actually believe that we accomplished several things during this process.

    1. We led out on the recent series of investigations into Microsoft's business practices. When we filed our case in July 1996, no other private company or government agency was publicly investigating Microsoft's monopoly-related behavior. Netscape, SUN, Bristol, the DOJs recent case, and several class action suits all followed our filing.

    2. We told the story. Many new facts regarding Microsoft's business conduct were made public during the lengthy pre-trial period of our case.

    3. We stood up against them. We believe that our actions will have a deterring effect against future misconduct. We have demonstrated that it is possible to successfully file a lawsuit against Microsoft and have a positive result.

    4. We helped to brand Linux as a legitimate competitor to Windows. Our lawsuit, combined with the governments case, helped publicize and legitimize the Linux brand. We believe that as a result of these lawsuits, Caldera Systems, Lineo and other Linux companies are stronger competitors to Microsoft, now and in the future.

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