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Sendo vs. Microsoft: The Truth Comes Out 360

igotmybfg writes "The Register has a story which includes many details about the phone maker's Texas suit against the software giant. It seems that Microsoft had much more to gain from letting its partner fail than helping it to succeed: in the event of a bankruptcy, Microsoft acquired all of Sendo's intellectual property related to the z100 Stinger SmartPhone, and was then free to do whatever it wanted, which in this case turned out to be going behind Sendo's back and making a deal with Orange SPA." Read our original article about this to get more background information.
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Sendo vs. Microsoft: The Truth Comes Out

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  • Microsoft a company of back-stabbing money-grubbers.
    Film at 11.
    • by raehl ( 609729 )
      OSHKOSH, WI (AP) - Oshkosh resident Al Grand filed suit in Oshkosh District Court Thursday against Lucifer, commonly known in the area as "The Devil", citing a breach of contract, following his untimely death in a bizarre automobile accident on Wednesday.

      "Lucifer made me an offer on Monday, promising to give me everything I could ever want on Earth in exchange for my soul. I had not been using my soul for much lately, so after sleeping on it, I signed the contract on Tuesday."

      That's when Al made his first request. "I didn't want to be too greedy right off the bat, but I've always wanted one of those Hummers, so I asked for one," said Al.

      But tragedy shortly followed: When driving through town on Wednesday, the vehicle's brakes failed and Al's new vehicle collided with a frieght train, pulled by CSX's engine No. 666.

      "Lucifer did not provide me what he promised. Instead of everything I ever wanted on Earth, all I got was a premature death and eternal damnation. I had no idea Lucifer could be so selfish and treacherous."

      When reached for comment, Lucifer's publicist Azreal stated, "The contract clearly specifies that upon his death, Al Grand's soul becomes the property of Lucifer Limited. We made no guarantees as to the time or manner of Mr. Grand's death. The Hummer's End User License Agreement, clearly printed in 6 pt. type in the user manual, also clearly states that the vehicle was provided as is, with no guarantees as to the suitability of the vehicle for any particular purpose, including driving."
  • I mean, if I would have THIS clause in the contract, it is NORMAL to assume that MS would play hardball to then gain all the rights. This is to be expected. Unless they crossed some lines then (which to proove will be the problem of Sendo), Sendo got what they deserved - for neglecting the reality of harsh businesses practices.
    • by Alan Partridge ( 516639 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:07AM (#5024579) Journal
      "Sendo got what they deserved - for neglecting the reality of harsh businesses practices."

      Not at all, business relationships - like all relationships - must have a basis of trust to succeed. Sendo obviously made the mistake of thinking that Microsoft was run by humans.
      • Succeed for who? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raehl ( 609729 )
        This is business, and the fittest businesses will prevail. A business which signs a contract giving all of their property to the other party in the event of a bankruptcy when the other party can more or less determine when that business goes bankrupt is obviously NOT a fit business.

        This is free enterpirse at it's finest: Sendo ceases to exist because it was simply a poorly run business.

        The only thing Microsoft is "guilty" of is preying upon the stupid. The relationship succeeded just fine - for the only party in the relationship that had a clue as to what it was doing. (That wasn't Sendo.)

        Next Slashdot News Story: "Man makes deal with Devil, sues when faced with eternal damnation after death."
    • I mean, if I would have THIS clause in the contract, it is NORMAL to assume that MS would play hardball to then gain all the rights. This is to be expected. Unless they crossed some lines then (which to proove will be the problem of Sendo), Sendo got what they deserved - for neglecting the reality of harsh businesses practices.

      This part doesn't suprise me much, having read up on the history of Microsoft's dealings with its 'partners' over the years.

      What gets me is that this sequence of events started back in 2001, at the time that Judge Jackson was throwing the book at Microsoft for, amongst other misdemeanours, doing the very same thing they were evidently planning on doing to Sendo!

      Even if Sendo's case falls flat, it will have served to make Microsoft's circle of friends even smaller. What more proof could you ask for to show that the people in charge of Microsoft have not learned to play fair?
      • by haggar ( 72771 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:42AM (#5025502) Homepage Journal
        Interestingly, executives in software companies don't seem to learn from history/other's mistakes: I guess you know how MS stole valuable assets and IP from borland trough their engineers - made very high offers to the Borland engineers while contacting with Borland for "cooperation". Well, the same identical thing happened years later to Oracle (with Microsoft, of course), after which MS SQL server started to suck less.
        • can't figure it out why year after year and company after company falls prey from being a Microsoft "partner". It stunned me when Sun signed their now famous licensing agreement with Microsoft. The road was already littered with victims from legal contracts gone bad when one of the parties involved is Microsoft.

          Maybe the legal experts hired are all so cocky they think they will be the ones to make a Microsoft "partnership" work. Maybe the exec's want to cash in on the quick boost in their stock price when the press releases hit. Personally, I think it ego and the exec's think they are smarter than all those that have failed before.

          Sendo didn't "get what they deserved" but what they got was surely not unexpected if you've been in the industry for more than 5 years.

          Regarding Oracle; maybe that's why they went dumpster diving? Larry surely has few kind words for the Redmond gang and would be willing to spend what it might take to fry Microsoft in court. With the right evidence of course.

          • I agree with your points. But I must add, the DOJ had all the right evidence, and yet, it failed.
            I am not going to analize why, that would really take us quite far, but I can't help thinking that 40 billion in cash gets you a long way.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:21AM (#5024632)
      I guess this is a more-or-less standard part of any (exclusive) contract: if one partner fails, the other gets the freedom to make new deals with new partners.

      Stupid? No, hardly. The alternative would be that M$ could not sell *any* phones if and when Sendo fails.

      Of course, Sendo should have insisted on a "M$ will not run us into the ground" clause. But really, trust *is* a major part of business.

    • Even if they do get fined it will only be for pocket money in M$ terms.
      Seeing how soon the SPV came out after sendo switched to symbian I would think that there was some dodgy dealing going on. I mean not spending a couple of dollars to help M$ against it's biggest competitor (nokia), when they are happy to loose billions on the Xbox. Just dosn't sound right.
      It would be nice if the US government could introduce a 'three strikes and you're out policy' for anticompetitive behaviour. Not that this would happen with the current administration.
    • Well, business is about trust.

      Think about it: Imagine you would make a deal signed with only a handshake with the local mobster-boss and another with Bill Gates.

      Which deal would you trust more?

      • The local mobster-boss, of course. The Mafia actually has a sense of honour and ethics, it's just not perfectly aligned with everyone else's. Bill Gates does not have that sense, at all.

        OTOH, his sense of smell more than compensate for this deficiency - he can smell a dollar bill from a distance of 12 miles, even if the bill is downwind, underwater and he has a severe cold. This has been confirmed in secret tests in the Microsoft labs in Redmond.

        • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:16PM (#5027434) Homepage Journal
          This actually warrants an 'insightful'. Organized crime bosses have to have subtlety- that Machiavellian thing going on- they have to do the smart thing to hold on to power, which will often mean establishing that their word is good.

          Microsoft has shown no interest whatsoever in having subtlety, or being trustworthy. In fact, they have filed amicus briefs supporting Nike in Nike's legal attempt to establish that corporations have the same rights to lie outright in public statements that a human being would have, so Microsoft is officially in favor of having their word be worthless.

          Any living Mafia don would tell you this was very foolish. If you expect EVER to deal with others who have power, you have to have them treating you as a person or entity with a position and coherent issues and concerns, rather than have them treat you as an essentially unpredictable object or inconvenient fact. When they no longer have reason to consider your stated wishes, you're in trouble even if you have power, because you've lost the ability to direct others through persuasion. All you have is brute force- and the 'uptime' of brute force is not 100%, ever.

          • Exactly. Mafia bosses can (most of the time anyway, there are bound to be psychopaths there too, but they usually don't dance around a stage screaming "Developers!") be relied upon to adhere to the Mafia's set of standards, ethics and rules. They have been taught since childhood to respect their elders, care for their family and provide for their 'extended family'. They are, in their own cultural context, very predictable. This makes them tempting to do business with.

            On the other hand, Microsoft VPs are a pack of hungry, rabid dogs on meth that would not only bite the hand that feeds them but continue up the arm until they choke.

            Herein lies also a fundamental difference between IBM twenty years ago and Microsoft today; even though many like to draw this parallell (mostly to take comfort in the fact that a near 100% market penetration can be overturned in very little time) they are in fact not alike. IBM also had this set of standards, an internal culture that predicated their every move. This was also what prevented them from keeping their grip on the PC industry. Microsoft has no such barriers. They will not refrain from anything to further their own agenda. The hope lies in the fragmentation of these rabid dogs - they have no loyalty to each other and this may distract them from uniting against common enemies outside the pack, especially sneaky, difficult-to-grasp-and-counter enemies - hint, hint, nudge, nudge, tux, tux.

    • I agree with you. I have been trying to figure out why so many companies sue MS for breach of contract? MS has shown that they know how to write contracts and/or how to buy courts. Either way, any company that deals with MS will get burnt if they are making any real money or they hold a key to the future. I personally think that Corel,Apple,Sun,Sybase,IBM,etc. have gotten what they deserve for doing deals with MS. I have also wondered why stock owners of public companies do not sue the company as soon as they get into a contract with MS? It shows that the company is risking too much.
  • If these allegations are true it could have very serious consequences for Microsoft. That's pretty obvious. But one possibility is that companies will simply refuse to get into similar deals with them in future.
    As the article notes, it is not as if MS have been able to produce the goods even now for the Orange phone. A handset that dials your friends' names as opposed to their numbers, anyone?
    • This isn't news when we talk about Microsoft. But Sendo executives or lawyers were crazy to have signed such a contract with someone like Microsoft. I guess they will be more careful if there is a next time.
    • But one possibility is that companies will simply refuse to get into similar deals with them in future.

      Um...yeah, right.

      Nobody wants to deal with Microsoft. Microsoft partners have a lousy history of getting the short end of the stick. You know what, though? They don't have a choice. You can't ignore the most influential computer company, with multiple crucial monopolies, simply because they're risky to deal with.
      • by madprof ( 4723 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:32AM (#5024692)
        OK. Biggest computer company.
        Who have no phone market share. Show me they have a winning strategy in that marketplace and I'll believe you have a point in this instance.
        You may be right about desktop apps but this is just not the same.
        Similarly games companies, if looking to tie themselves to a console maker, would do better to tie themselves to Sony than MS.
  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:02AM (#5024550)

    I'm astounded. I truly can't believe a household name such as Microsoft would be involved in underhand business practises.

    Seriously, the law makers in the US should probably look into Microsoft being a monopoly....don't they have these things called antitrust laws too?

    And Bill Gates looks like such a nice guy. How can he be evil when he wants to save children in third world countries from AIDS?
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @01:44PM (#5026314) Homepage Journal
      How can [Bill Gates] be evil when he wants to save children in third world countries from AIDS?

      Well, according to several recent reports on his contributions to various efforts, he wants to save them from the threat of linux even more he wants to save them from AIDS.

  • by HiyaPower ( 131263 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:05AM (#5024571)
    When you walk into the lion's den, you need more than a g-string on. To have put themselves in a position where M$ could grab Sendo's intellectual property by not giving them anything is stupid.

    That said, dealing in bad faith is something that is tortous. I hope Sendo recovers the stars the moon and the sky from these bastards.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:07AM (#5024577)
    Only summer comes, and the code isn't ready. It isn't ready in the autumn, either, and this starts to play hell with Sendo's budgets. December rolls round, and according to Sendo, bugfixes that carriers have requested are being refused by Microsoft. Sendo is in a cash crisis, and a call to VCs is spurned. So Sendo asks Microsoft for a further cash injection, which is declined:

    "Microsoft refused with the full knowledge that this refusal would push Sendo to insolvency", claims Sendo in the filing.

    This sounds an awful like the Mafia. Take over a business. Milk the shit out of it. Keep saying you will take care of it. Burn the damn place down when it fails (as if you cared in the first place).
  • yeah baby (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:07AM (#5024578)
    Watching the free market in action is like watching a lion rip apart a gazelle on animal planet.

    • Re:yeah baby (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rseuhs ( 322520 )
      Wrong. This isn't survival of the fittest.

      Microsoft was too incompetent to ship their part of the product in time. Sendo is paying for Microsoft's incompetence.

  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:07AM (#5024580) Homepage
    Seems like the lawsuit here really ought to be "Investors in Sendo v. Sendo Execs".

    In MS's defense, there is no (nor should there be any) law against getting into really sweetheart deals at the expense of the other party. If I see an antique on eBay selling for $5 that I know to be incredibly valuable, I should buy it -- I'm under no imaginable obligation to contact the seller and let him know he's an idiot.

    And so it appears in this case: whoever was making decisions at Sendo really, really screwed up. They gave MS the power to destroy them, then gave them huge incentive to do so.

    That's life.

    • No there is a law against this. It is dealing in bad faith. Here is a link http://www.zreclaim.com/badfaith/contract.asp.

      It states very clearly that you must act in good faith. Ok it deals with insurance and indivdual things, but law is the law...
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:28AM (#5024672) Journal
      It appears that the deal included some expectation that Microsoft would make certain payments of capital, as well as provide the software on-time (or a reasonable software-world representation of such) which according to the story neither happened.

      Its one thing if Sendo signed a paper saying "Go bankrupt and we get your stuff", another entirely if the paper said "We'll do these things to prevent you from going bankrupt, but if you do anyway, we get your stuff" and then not having "these things" done.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The problem with this statement, if you read the article completely, is that one of the key persons who was making these "bad decisions" was at the same time also employed as a business development manager for Microsoft. If anything that specific individual clearly engaged in business fraud, the presumption being that he did so at the knowing behest of his superiors. If this case goes anywhere, Microsoft has a convenient scapegoat they could hang out to dry and claim no knowledge about what this rogue employee did, unless, of course the discovery process manages to turn up one of those damn incriminating emails they never seem able to get rid of :). This one should be a fun ride...

    • Contract is law (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In the Anglo Saxon legal system, a contract has equal status as the law and the contract terms are used by a judge to determine the outcome of any dispute.
      However in germanic and roman law (Rest of Europe and large chunk of the world), the contract is the law, but is tempered by other laws that define that some clauses are innaceptable (an example would be the prohibition of contracts based on human organ trade).
      If these 2 systems attain the same result most of the time, the germano-roman type of law gives some sort of implied guarantee to any type of contract.
      One of these guarantees states that both parties in a contract should enter the agreement in good faith or else the contract is void.
      The point of this diatribe is to state that when you see a bargain on a item because of an error or mischief, and you profit from it, your sales contract can be rendered void afterwards in Europe, but it can only be rendered void in the US and the UK if there is a cllause that covers that point in the contract.
      So following this path of thought, if Microsoft is profiting from Sendo's poor management, they still would have had to prove that their tactics were not intended to harm their partner. That is if the trial was not in Texas!!!
      My "European" 2 cents
    • I'm under no imaginable obligation to contact the seller and let him know he's an idiot.

      No legal obligation, but there are plently of moral and ethical ones. In a like vein, if you were to contact the seller and your appraisal was accurate, he'd be under the same kind of non-legal obligation to give you first crack at the antique--or just a "finder's fee."

      As someone else pointed out, there are laws against getting into extremely one-sided deals--Usury, bad faith, court policy, etc. No law against making a bad deal, but there are laws against one-sided "mafia" deals.

      • This case seems to fall under what they call "promissory estoppel". This is where a contract is entered that will cause grievous harm to the signee if it's not carried out. Microsoft didn't hold up their end of the deal, and Sendo failed. If Sendo can prove that M$ knew this would happen M$ is liable for the bankruptcy and probably whatever back pay the former employees are owned. If they can prove that M$ INTENDED for this to happen they can get punitive damages. I kind of hope this doesn't happen because the board types are the ones who pocket the damage money.

        IANAL of course, but I remember this kind of thing from business law in school. If I'm wrong, mod me to -1 so nobody gets misinformed.
        • by TekPolitik ( 147802 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:39PM (#5028688) Journal

          This case seems to fall under what they call "promissory estoppel". This is where a contract is entered that will cause grievous harm to the signee if it's not carried out.

          This isn't what promissory estoppel is - promissory estoppel is where there is reasonable reliance on a promise or expectation without there being a contract, or where the representation is contrary to contractual rights. There is no obvious estoppel arising here.

          The facts as reported in the article, however, would clearly make out the tort of deceit (broadly - making a knowingly or recklessly incorrect representation that causes loss to the person to whom the representation was made. This amounts also to fraud if the person making the representation gains from it), several breaches of contract, and several breaches of fiduciary duty.

          As described, the facts suggest the relationship was a partnership arrangement, although we'd need to know more about the facts to decide on this. If it was a partnership relationship (and the fact that they call it a partnership has no bearing on this question), then MS had a fiduciary duty to its partner that was clearly breached.

          However the facts described also indicate Microsoft breached the contract by delivering software late and by not meeting its capital injenction obligations. Assuming the facts supplied to be true and not omitting any important details, then Microsoft would be liable to put the the victim in the position they would have been in if the obligations were met - including covering the value of any porofits that would have been made. This could be expensive even in Microsoft terms, although it won't compensate the shareholders because it won't account for stock market gains.

          If they can prove that M$ INTENDED for this to happen they can get punitive damages

          Punitive damages might arise from deceit, but not from an estoppel, breach of fiduciary duty or a breach of contract.

    • Never ever should the abused party be the one who gets the blame. They acted in good faith wich is in my world a good thing. If Microsoft then abused this good faith that is a bad thing done from Microsofts part.

      Clearly even companies need to have some sort of regulation and rules to work by. Else doing business becomes "he who is the dirtiest snekiest win" and that doesnt benefit anyone but the one with the least concious possible. Anarchy and capitalism isnt the same thing.
    • I believe what Microsoft did constitutes criminal fraud. Not that any criminal behavior on the part of Microsoft will ever actually be punished by our judicial system.

    • If I see an antique on eBay selling for $5 that I know to be incredibly valuable, I should buy it -- I'm under no imaginable obligation to contact the seller and let him know he's an idiot.
      Different case here. This is more a case of you being a an antique appraiser and are hired to appaiser someones possesions, you then under value everything and when they offer to sell you or a friend purchase all they are selling.
      Also in the ebay case you a have a pure buyer/seller relationship and you are perfectly in your rights to do whatever you can to get the best deal.
    • If I see an antique on eBay selling for $5 that I know to be incredibly valuable, I should buy it -- I'm under no imaginable obligation to contact the seller and let him know he's an idiot.

      Actually, the law may be more complex than you expect. There was a case in the UK - I believe the law in the UK is similar to the US - I can't remember the exact details, but the case was of an old lady who had led a very sheltered life and then suddenly got rich, and decided to do up her house. The builders realised that she didn't have a clue and so got her to sign contracts with greatly inflated prices. She signed them and everything was legit as far as the contracts were concerned, but friendly neighbours realised she'd been exploited and helped her take legal action against the builders. She won, despite having signed the contracts of her own free will.
    • by monomania ( 595068 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:35AM (#5025032)
      there is no (nor should there be any) law against getting into really sweetheart deals at the expense of the other party....

      Three scenarios:

      1. Your beloved wife dies, and you are paid her life insurance to compensate. You are rich, but miserable.

      2. You have grown disenchanted with your marriage, and murder your wife for the insurance money.

      3. You actively seek out rich women to marry and murder.

      Now, business contracts with such terms as Sendo/MS implemented exist to obtain, if necessary, in worst cases, a situation similar to the First scenario. On the face of the evidence, MS operated according to the Second, and may additionally (upon examination) be shown to have operating along the lines of the Third.

      This is not business as usual -- unless you are, say, an Enron executive. And it's a really bad time for MS to be proven of that ilk in court...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:14AM (#5024604)
    1. Profit. 2. Profit???? 3. Profit.
  • Tiem will tell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vpreHoose ( 587524 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:15AM (#5024609)
    if Sendo engineers can actually integrate onto a Series 60 platform.
    Just because the OS can't do what you need, then just bypass it. A classic example of this is SIM Locking to a particular network, or group of networks. The SDK (Pocket PC 2002 and Smartphone) doesn't support this. Sendo complain, HTC, MiTac, Samsung, and Compal work around it (to varying degrees of success).
  • by Amoeba ( 55277 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:16AM (#5024612)
    But it was never a partnership of equals, alleges Sendo, and after promising that StinkerOS was ready in the middle of last year, Microsoft used the delays to uncover Sendo's integration secrets and carrier relationships, and then cut off their air supply, using this knowledge to promote its new sweetheart, the Orange SPV instead.

    Emphasis mine. I really don't think I have to add anything to this quote. ;)

    • At this point Brown suggests that Microsoft convert the share deal into a loan, repayable in three stages, and in February (last year), Sendo agrees. Stinker still hasn't shipped, so Sendo can't sell a phone.

      You know, I'm beginning to think that the article writer had something to do with this ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:18AM (#5024619)
    I knew about this months ago - no I don't work for Sendo, Microsoft or any subsiduaries or affiliates.

    I kept telling people but all they said was 'well that's not the way we've heard it'. Eventually the truth appears and it is even worse than was origionally described to me, and that made my toes curl !!! (I believe there may be even more to come out yet.)

    But this is how M$ has done business for a long time. What really boggles my mind is that people still queue up to do business with M$. They must know that if what they have is slightly inovative or 'required' by M$ they are going to get screwed over !
  • It's OK folks, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:18AM (#5024621)
    Don't believe this nonsense. For example Microsoft would NEVER, screw over Miguel de Icaza and the MONO effort. Trust them. If Microsoft says they support the MONO effort, we can take them at their word. They are people of high integrity and whatever they say, they mean. They would never lead others along the garden path, with every intention of crushing them later on.

    +5 Sarcasm.

    • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:31AM (#5024684) Homepage Journal
      I actually agree totally with you. I think MS will screw Miguel de Icaza so hard that he wont sit again in years. Mono in itself is admirarble but its origin spells bad future. Microsoft is just using Mono to be able to say .net is x-platform and then when market share is anough in comes version 1.1 breaking all compability with Mono.

    • they brand you insightful or informative. See how easy people are influenced :))

      Miguel, I know you read Slashdot man, see this?
  • by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:20AM (#5024627) Homepage
    With all these civil cases going on, could they shape MS's behavior more than the antitrust trial?

    I could see a future where microsoft is afraid to do the "bad things" they like to do for fear of lawsuits .... but then I think about their huge pile of money, and the idea seems laughable.

    And what ever happened to the EU antitrust type trial?
    • I could see a future where microsoft is afraid to do the "bad things" they like to do for fear of lawsuits .... but then I think about their huge pile of money, and the idea seems laughable.

      Their huge pile of money will only get them so far. If they start losing it by the billions, their stockholders (including Mr. Gates) will sit up and reign in the company.

      $40 billion+ in the bank shouldn't be enough to avoid justice--but it should be enough to elminate a chance of appeal, or tiered payments, etc.

      And what ever happened to the EU antitrust type trial?

      AFAIK, it's still going on.
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:26AM (#5024661) Homepage Journal
    If you are a company with any intellectual holdings or patents, dont ever work with Microsoft. If you only manufacture things and dont know anything about what you do then its fine.

    Its nearly written in stone since before. Microsoft is a midas touch to any company with any form of knowledge that works together with them. Sendo should have realized this ofcourse. Still that doesnt in any way defends what Microsoft did wich clearly fradulent behaviour and underhanded business practises. If every company behaived like Microsoft all resources would go to fighting instead of developing good products. This kind of mafia methods needs to stop now!

    In my book thats bad for me and other consumers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You sleep with the devil, you're going to get hurt. Simple as that. Next time, just let them buy you outright and walk away.
  • Business as usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johann_moeller ( 638595 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:31AM (#5024685)
    Let's face reality. That is the way business is exercised nowadays. I fully agree that it should not be that way, but there are certain points that enforce that behaviour. Hordes of shareholders demanding better results and higher profits every quarter are one side of the coin. Nobody believes that Microsoft will be able to keep its profits rising within the same industry for years and years. The aim is to increase the amonunt of industries and therefore increase the opportunities to push the Net Income even further above. No need to tell you that MSFT hat an income of $9.27 billion on sales of $30.0billion. Now it is your duty to show me a way to increase profits without increasing sales....

    Summing up - The aim of Microsoft is to increase profits - no matter which methods they use. Time for the govt to step into the ring and show them what they are allowed to do and what they aren't.
  • Standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:32AM (#5024693) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    To Americans, the telecom world's model of promoting growth through vertical investments (a Nokia or an Ericsson bails out the carriers) and through IP sharing (yeuch!), and promoting common standards (that's goddam Communism!), must look like a filthy and incestuous business.

    Perhaps slightly unrelated (yes, mod me down), but I wonder if the cell phone market would ever have been that successful as it is now without these common standards, especially if you think that the mobile market/penetration is the largest in Scandinavia. Imagine a world where a Nokia phone could not communicate with a Sony/Ericsson, what a waste of resources would that be, ... I would say we're lucky this technology wasn't determined by American companies (and I basically don't care if they are European or Asean), or else we'd pay double for our phones, just for the patents to use the proprietary communication format.

    But hey, isn't that exactly what we have on the desktop?
  • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:32AM (#5024694) Homepage Journal
    1. Sendo sues MS.

    2. MS fights for a little while.

    3. Sendo gets more desperate, and settles with MS for enough money to appease their investors.

    Case closed.
  • Nokia (Score:4, Informative)

    by CaptainZapp ( 182233 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:41AM (#5024727) Homepage
    This shows pretty nicely why Nokia was right [theregister.co.uk] to avoid the boys from Redmond like a mixture between syphillis and herpes.

    Seemed to be a smart choice after all..

  • by Allt ( 581696 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @09:41AM (#5024730) Homepage
    I found this interview [kuro5hin.org] with a former employee of Microsoft on Kuro5hin.
    You worked at Microsoft for ten years, then left the company two-and-a-half years ago. From your perspective, do you think Microsoft has fundamentally changed as a result of the antitrust lawsuit?
    My short answer would be "No".
    There were many positive things about the Microsoft work environment. But there were some negatives. People use the term "enabling environment" to mean a situation that encourages someone to act in a negative way, such as drinking alcohol heavily, by mitigating the negative impact of the behavior, and providing tacit approval for it. Well, Microsoft constructed an enabling environment for socially obnoxious behavior: it was welcomed and rationalized into positives. If you were late for meetings it meant you were busy doing important work, if you were extremely confrontational it meant you were passionate about your job, if you required subordinates to work long hours it meant you were committed to the product, if you turned down everyone you interviewed it meant you weren't soft, and so on.
    So Microsoft had this system that encouraged and rewarded people who acted a certain way. And some of that behavior trickled out into meetings with customers and partners, where they were correctly seen as negatives and helped foster the anti-Microsoft attitude. But since Microsoft kept hiring and promoting obnoxious people, they kept being obnoxious.

    I don't know how much truth lies in this, but when any organization becomes big enough, culture plays a big role in dictating what is allowed and what's not.
    • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @01:56PM (#5026410) Homepage
      Snipped from the blurb on the kuro5hin interview:
      So Microsoft had this system that encouraged and rewarded people who acted a certain way. And some of that behavior trickled out into meetings with customers and partners, where they were correctly seen as negatives and helped foster the anti-Microsoft attitude. But since Microsoft kept hiring and promoting obnoxious people, they kept being obnoxious.

      You know, I have been wondering whether my dislike of Microsoft goes deeper than just not liking their products, and goes straight to the attitude and culture they encourage in the business world.

      Consider some Microsoft ads that have been shown recently, pitched as "software for the agile business"...

      - A wine seller noticed half of his stock was just destroyed in a tragic accident, then instantly updates his inventory and doubles his price so the guy currently buying cases gets screwed. Are we supposed to think this is how businesses should be run? Any reasonable store owner I know of carries insurance for these circumstances, because they understand that screwing the customer will lead to less customers.

      - A bunch of Record Industry execs come up with a great marketing plan: somehow find out the E-mail addresses of everyone who bought a certain band's CD in a certain city, and send them e-mail direct marketing messages about concerts and other exciting offers. They even show that the fans are happy that they are getting this unsolicited spam! What gives?

      I understand that the real point of the commercials was to show how well all the systems talk to each other, but I find their examples extremely outrageous.Maybe I'm just a disgruntled corporate drone, but is this how most "agile businesses" want to operate? Because if it is, we have more to worry about than just Microsoft!

  • by deego ( 587575 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:03AM (#5024853)
    The problem is that there's never enough persecution. The bigger the company, the lighter the punishment.

    Even the worst of legal losses lead to a mere breakup of the wrongdoer. A breakup doesn't take back the money from thw wrongdoer or its shareholders, merely splits the assets into 2 different names.

    And of course, that's just for the worst the losses.

    The most likely scenario is that the big wrongdoer is never taken to court in the first place by the small wronged parties, even if a slightly bigger party (like, a Government) takes MS to court, the case ends up, after years of appeals, with "promises to not repeat" that action.

    So, if i am a big company, fraud can only pay. Even in the rare case that someone takes me to court and wins, it STILL PAYS.

    • Re:Why fraud pays (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bruthasj ( 175228 )
      Like all magic potions and wonder drugs, fraud doesn't always work. Take Enron and especially the accounting firm that influenced some of their decisions. They're lying flat on their backs because of fraudulent behavior. Now if Enron isn't big enough in your definition, I don't know what is.
      • Sure it does (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sh0rtie ( 455432 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @01:54PM (#5026401)

        sure it pays,
        • Is Enron still in business today ?
        • Is Anderson Consulting still in business ?
        • Is Kenneth Lay and his family living in a trailer park in poverty ?
        • Are the top 20 executives in Enron or Anderson and their families + friends living in trailer parks or tents pennyless too ?
        • Will the Enron/Tyco/AC/*.company fraudsters who are going to jail going to come out in 7yrs to poverty like usual petty fraudsters ?
        • How many of the top executives involved in the corporate frauds gonna retire in poverty like all the poor sods who lost their 401k's ?

        Now I don't know what your definition is of not working is, but if cash/assets are any measure of success i think the said "fraudsters" have done pretty well out of it don't you think ?, going to prison for 7 - 15years to come out a multi-millionaire from your embezzeled cash is hardly a failure.

  • UK Sunday Press (Score:5, Informative)

    by Martin S. ( 98249 ) <Martin.Spamer@ g m a i l.com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:05AM (#5024868) Homepage Journal
    Over the Week-end this was plastered all over the UK's Broadsheets (quality) news papers in the last few day; and not technology sections but in the Business. The damage to Microsoft's reputation for bad-faith with the 'Captains of Industry' from this episode will be profound.

    There is also refuge for Sendo in UK bankruptcy laws, where Creditors have an incredible amount of power in the say of the winding up of a company. There are two forms, Administration, a private sector accountant is appointed to take over running of the business. He has absolute authority in to persue the Creditors best interests, even if the only real assets are IP, bad debts and damages. In this fails the next step is Insolvency, Government investigators from the DTI investigate why the business failed, have criminal investigative powers and can sequestrate assets of bad debtors, and prosecute offenders. If Sendo do go bust that is only the start of Microsoft problems.
  • Patient, like Sauron (Score:4, Informative)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:09AM (#5024889) Homepage Journal
    It seems that Microsoft had much more to gain from letting its partner fail than helping it to succeed: in the event of a bankruptcy, Microsoft acquired all of Sendo's intellectual property related to the z100 Stinger SmartPhone

    IIRC Microsoft has a stake in General Magic, which developed video software for handheld devices. It was of note, a few years ago, because General Magic was down to $1 a share when Microsoft took interest. Last I looked General Magic closed September or early October and was winding down completely about December. Guess who will get their IP, as a significant debtor

  • by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:41AM (#5025059)
    remember, MS had a man on the Sendo board. MS cannot now claim to not know the situation Sendo was in. If Sendo can show that the MS man acted against the interests of Sendo he's wide open to be sued by the shareholders. If Sendo can show that the MS man acted in bad faith on behalf of MS then MS is in deep s.h.i.t.
  • by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:54AM (#5025162) Journal
    Do not partner with Microsoft. Do not become inolved with a company that has a long, pathetic history of screwing-over anyone and everyone they even remotely deal with.

    Learn, people! If you play with fire, you'll get burned! Instead, choose to deal with organizations that are friendly because they understand the concept of doing good work to stay in business (open source vendors for example).
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:11AM (#5025271)
    Anyone familiar with the term "critical path"? That is the path in the development cycle that affects all others, and ultimately the deliverablilty of the product. If you delay the critical path, you delay the product.

    If you are planning a product that will determine the success of your company, you should make sure that critical path is kept in-house where it can be controlled. Sendo's management obviously didn't get this. (A better buisiness decision might have been to use an open source operating system and hire a bunch of developers to customize it for you.)

    This is why many smaller broadband companies went belly up in the ".com roaring 90's". They depended on someone else (telcos and cable companies) to deliver on their critical path. That's just plain stupid.

    • (A better buisiness decision might have been to use an open source operating system and hire a bunch of developers to customize it for you.)

      Their plan was to leverage Microsoft's marketing muscle in order for their product to be successful. Open source wouldn't have achieved that.

      Unfortunately for them if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:32AM (#5025430)
    I mean, really. Anyone considering a deal with MS that involves the transfer, licensing, ownership of IP to Microsoft should click their heels together three times and say:

    "Spyglass, Spyglass, Spyglass."

    It's not like MS hasn't been caught redhanded pulling this sort of crap before.

  • Rights... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stubear ( 130454 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:47AM (#5025538)
    I keep hearing on /. about this thing called a Constitution which guarantees one to be innocent until proven guilty. I guess that only applies selectively according to the whims of geeks? Rights exist to protect ALL whether you agree with or even like others. I guess all the whining is really the releasing of a bunch of hot air from people with no life.

    What did you expect IN THE FILING FROM SENDO?!?!?! "Microsoft treated us with the utmost respect, w screwed up and lost a bunch of money but we're going to use anti-Microsoft sentiment to push this case along and get a crack at the 40+ billion dollars they have sitting around just itching to be plundered by a bunch of lawyers."

    The filing is Sendo's side of the case but since it's a lawsuit against Microsoft and /. doesn't like Microsoft, ANY lawsuit, regardless of merits, is a good thing. Until the judge rules, neither side is guilty, PERIOD.
    • Re:Rights... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sconeu ( 64226 )
      People are assuming MS is guilty due to past actions...

      Go! Computer
      Stac Electronics

    • oh please! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 )
      Microsoft has a long history of treating their business partners like shit, helping them to collapse and reaping the benefits. I see people criticizing Microsoft for that, which is a valid complaint. Treating business partners in such a manner is NOT standard business practice, but it's standard practice for Microsoft.

      What gets me is that persons like yourself come to their defense so quickly. The same /.ers who complain about Microsoft also complain about Linux companies when they do equally "bad" things.

      And furthermore, WTF are you talking about "innocent until proven guilty"? THEY HAVE BEEN PROVEN GUILTY, IN COURT, MORE THAN ONCE!

      Sweet leaping Jesus, do you just ignore those facts so you can paint people who dislike Microsoft with a very broad brush?

    • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @02:13PM (#5026487) Journal
      I wish I lived in the same magical and fantastic world where Microsoft Corporation might actually be innocent of wrong doing and practice honorable business practices. Unfortunately, I reside in reality.
  • Lion's share... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @12:34PM (#5025853) Homepage Journal
    Borrowed from Dr. Larry Fogelberg [nada.kth.se] but originally from Aesop:

    The lion approached the wolf and the fox, and suggested that they form a partnership for the purpose of hunting game. The lion explained that each had particular talents that would lend themselves to such a partnership. The fox was wily and could trick the quarry into the open; and the wolf was swift of foot, so that he could direct the quarry to where the lion lay in wait to complete the kill. After some discussion, the wolf and the fox agreed to enter into a partnership with the lion. All went as planned and a deer was killed, but when the wolf and the fox tried to share in the kill, the lion challenged them. They stood by, helplessly, and watched the lion devour the entire carcass. Afterward, they asked the lion why he had only left them a few scraps. The lion replied, "All I took was the lion's share."
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @01:48PM (#5026351) Journal
    But, anyone who actually believes Microsoft actually wants to be their "partner" in bringing "new products" to "market" is a blithering IDIOT. Microsoft isn't interested in being anyone's partner. M$ has enough money to go out and start its own mobile phone company. It's just cheaper and easier to spend $12M to steal the research and IP.

    These little startups, in their eagerness to play "big company" to impress their fourbucks-going friends, will ink any deal that brings in money, because that's all they see. They don't think ahead, and don't have any idea whom their friends and enemies are. Microsoft was probably interting and rotating the knife in their backs before the ink was even dry...

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong