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Compaq Denies Being a Microsoft Victim 50

whimsy writes "A senior Compaq executive credited Microsoft Tuesday with making computers easier to use, more reliable, and less expensive." It interesting to see how Compaq has been scrambling the past few days to not look like a "victim". This relates to John Rose, Compaq official, who's the next witness in DOJ trial currently going on. The article talks a little about the history of Compaq and Microsoft, as well as some of their disagreements.
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Compaq Denies Being a Microsoft Victim

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Comcraq most certainly is NOT a microsoft victim...they have been an active, enthusiastic and willing participant in growing the Microsoft monopoly, just like Dell. Comcraq has long been a parasite on the success of the WinTel monopoly.

  • Cassius wrote:

    Microsoft did reduce the cost of computing - there is no doubt about it. Linux would not exist if Microsoft hadn't help drive down the prices of x86 hardware.

    They produced crappy products then and now, and have used snakelike tactics to increase and defend their market share, but there is no doubt that the millions of people buying win95 did in fact make the x86 platform cheap and viable.

    First off, side effects of people buying Windows 95 had absolutely no effect on the creation of Linux. Linux was started in 1992, before Windows 95 was even hype. Linux was viable in 1993 or 1994 (depending on how you count viable).

    Secondly, the price drops in the early nineties was due to a long price war amongst the various PC manufacturers. By most accounts, Compaq ended up the winner of the price war (they've been the biggest PC manufacturer since I think 94), but they did this with no help from Microsoft. Compaq had so much trouble with Microsoft products that they maintained their own version of DOS for many years.

    But regardless, the fact that the x86 platform is so cheap is because of companies like Compaq, ALR, AMD, Hewlett Packard, etc trying to outpower and undercut each other while trying to keep survivable profit margins and fend off the Korean no-name clones. Since Microsoft products were pretty much a fixed cost, they didn't help or hurt one whit.
  • Anonymous Coward wrote:

    There has been competition in PC and peripherals since the mid-80's, only because there was a de facto standard platform on which to compare and compete. In the pre-DOS-ubiquity days, competition was less robust.

    True, and Microsoft deserves some of the credit for that standardization. IBM deserves more credit for it, however. Also, one of the reasons the market was so standardized wasn't because the vendors wanted to, but the customers demanded it. In the 80's, my father bought a Mindset PC. It was an 8086 machine with souped up graphics and a snazzy design (they had one on display at the Museum of Modern Art). In spite of the fact that it was better than pretty much everything out there, it flopped. Why? They didn't use a normal ISA bus.

    IT WAS VERY HARD TO ENTER THE DISPLAY CARD OR PRINTER MARKETS. Windows made that 1000% easier and made hardware competition much more intense.

    No, it was easy to enter the markets, it was very hard to add a new standard. Windows 3.x allowed for hardware manufacturers to deviate from standards with abandon, but most didn't since they'd lose the non-windows market. Windows 95 removed that barrier, so we now have printers that are so non-standard that they only work with certain versions of Windows 95 and nothing else (not NT, not DOS, nothing).

    Another example. CDROMs are ubiquitous and nearly free. You take them for granted, you stick em in the back of books. Who organized and sponsored all of the early CDROM conferences and drove standards in the PC space?

    Um, Sony and Phillips if I recall.

    I'm not saying that Microsoft didn't play a part in the whole computer business, and in the price reductions we have seen. I am saying that the original poster's argument that if it weren't for Windows 95 we wouldn't have Linux is ludicrous.

    I'd also like to point out that while Microsoft has always encouraged strong growth and lower prices in the computer industry as a whole, they haven't followed suit. The Microsoft tax on a new Compaq machine ($75 for Windows 95) is more than the Microsoft tax on an old AT-clone was ($69 for MS-DOS if I recall). Yes, Windows 95 does more than MS-DOS 2.0, but everyone else in the business is charging less for things that do more.

  • ..."we have no offering to make but our fierce and undying loyalty to your royal highness."

    "Very well, show me this loyalty. Fall on your sword."

    No amount of money could be enough to pay for the complete destruction of dignity that this represents, dancing in front of the court like a trained monkey on a leash, goaded by whips to say you're there on you free will. Next: tearing limb from limb by jackals aka David Boise.
  • In the deposition, this hit me...

    He acknowledged that Compaq since 1993 hasn't regularly

    sold computers using any operating system other than Windows,
    but he said that was a choice dictated by consumers.

    What about DEC, VMS, Linux on the Alphas and other Digital Systems... I seem to recall having SCO and OS/2 Shipped with a Compaq Proliant Server in 1997 that I installed.
  • After the St. Valentines day massacre one of the victims was found bleeding and dying among the corpses. he was asked who did this. His response ?

    "Nobody. Nobody shot me."

    Microsoft instills that kind of terror.
  • yeah but the cost of the OS is around 10-20% of the cost of the average machine. that's exhorbitance. and the price of the os has been constant as the price of the pc and components have gone down. they're bleeding the hardware vendors!

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."
  • Well... you gotta admit a car with automatic transmission is easier to drive than a manual or, say, a semi truck. Along the same lines, you gotta admit you can bluff your way through windows if you put half a mind to it or aren't scared stiff of the machine. Of course, if you start with something that makes you think in the first place, Windows is nothing.


  • Ok, Microsoft (helped) make computers easier to use. The industry has created millions of jobs, and the rate of competition and technological development continue to escalate. What Microsoft has NOT done is to cultivate this phenomenon, but rather sought to control it for its own ends. They remind me of the US auto industry in the '70s, protected by obscenely high tariffs and utterly lacking in motivation to please the consumer. Look how quickly the Japanese and Europeans responded to that opportunity. The US is just beginning to recover.
  • Are you trying to say that people flocked on Windows because MS-DOS was so bad ?
    Well, you're right.
  • It is now very difficult to determine where compaq's lips end, and where microsoft's ass begins. They appear to be a single integrated item. :-)

  • ...that Compaq takes full responsibility for any failure to honor the refund clause in the EULA. Since they are not under any sort of pressure or disadvantageous contract terms from Microsoft, they are obviously free to deal with customers directly regarding bundled software. Hence they are claiming to be responsible for providing Windows refunds.

    In fact, if they fail to provide systems without Windows, it is they, not Microsoft, who are guilty of tying two clearly distinct products (a PC and an OS) together.

    They can't have it both ways. If they want to claim that they are not victims of Microsoft, then they can't keep blaming Microsoft for the OS bundling situation. I really want to hear this guy repeat what he said, and in the same breath explain his position on OS options.

    David Gould
  • This reminds me of a plethora of calls that my help desk has been getting regarding compaq computers. It seems that the modem drivers that are in the proprietary version of Windows that is shipped with these machines do NOT support V.90 technology completely. One Customer was on Compaqs help line for over a month with no help in sight. Then one night he mistyped his Trouble Ticket # and found himself talking to a tech support person in KS, USA. This tech was able to connect to my customers machine, root around in the bowels of the Windows system and VOILA! this customer is now able to connect at higher connection speeds without dropping off or disconnecting prematurely. Now my question is since this is an OBVIOUS problem with compaq/windows, why doesn't compaq try to fix these problems before shipping out these machines, or at least contact the customers to verify an/ or correct this problem so it doesn't tie up ISP's help desks who are NOT going to root around in .vxd files on n00bies boxes.
    OH WAIT!!! I'm assuming that not everyone wants to have a system that needs constant hand-holding and support updates.... silly me!
  • I worked for John back in his DEC days. He has no love of MS. They didn't make his time at DEC any easier. I did find it humorous when Compaq bought DEC and he got control over his old, ousted position again. I will definately have to follow his testimony and see how brown his nose has gotten. I'm not sure 15 years is enough time to do a full 180...
  • >Microsoft did reduce the cost of computing - there is no doubt about it. Linux would not exist if Microsoft
    >hadn't help drive down the prices of x86 hardware.

    It appears that people forget that it was not Microsoft's doing that PCs standardized on the x86 hardware architecture, but IBM's choice in the early 1980's. The computer press at the time predicted IBM would make the decisions that would standardize the product, & it became a self-fulfulling prophecy. Microsoft merely did a better job selling themselves to IBM than Digital Research did.

    The computer industry needed a standard to coalesce around, & if IBM hadn't have stepped in, someone else would have set it -- Apple, Commodore, Atari, or someone else I've forgotten.

    Microsoft's election to this role was never based on their software skills -- it was a gift that fell to Gates & Co. from heaven, & they responded to this opportunity not with technological expertese, but with ruthless & savage business practices. And computer users have suffered for this ever since.

  • Microsoft did reduce the cost of computing - there is no doubt about it. Linux would not exist if Microsoft hadn't help drive down the prices of x86 hardware.

    They produced crappy products then and now, and have used snakelike tactics to increase and defend their market share, but there is no doubt that the millions of people buying win95 did in fact make the x86 platform cheap and viable.
  • by nuxx ( 10153 )
    It makes me wonder what MS pulled to get someone at Compaq to spout off like this. My understanding was that for the longest time MS hadn't been allowing (per contractial obligations) Compaq to ship other OSs with their machines. Wasn't this covered in a number of articles within the past few months/years?
  • About pressing for a refund for Windows from these lamers. :)

  • Who owns AltaVista? Why, Compaq does!

    In return for the AltaVista partnership, Microsoft has agreed to dump
    Inktomi as the service powering its MSN Search service. It was probably the
    most stunning announcement emerging from the press conference, in that
    Microsoft was abandoning a company it touted as having the best search
    technology in order to promote its business interests.
  • I'm sure that looking like a "push-over" would not go so well with investors.
  • Compaq pays as much as $75 per PC? Ouch.

    Compaq's license isn't the same as other manufactures either [Compaq makes modifications to Win9x from what I've seen]. My brother got a Compaq Laptop and it had a custom version of 95. He tried to install MS Office on it [95 I think] and it failed. He asked me to help, same problem. We called compaq support and the rep said that you couldn't do the default install of MS Office on (and have it work). You were supposed to by Compaq's version of MS Office for it. Obviously I recommed that ppl DON'T BUY COMPAQ.
  • Gerund saith:

    Then again, if they can't use a computer,
    they could buy a mac, hehe

    You're darn tootin'! Thank goodness there exists a computer system that anyone can just walk up and USE! Anyone who thinks you should have to develop some special skill set to use a computer (or any other tool) at a basic level is not getting it.

    Just as we need extra powerful tools so that highly skilled power users can perform impressive feats, we also need tools that just plain work for people who have no time to invest in climbing any learning curve. If the Mac is that tool in the computer biz, great!

    When I'm at home, guess which machine I go to first: my Mac, or my Sun SPARC? Yup, Mac. Guess which OS I boot on my Mac: MkLinux or MacOS? Yup, MacOS. I have these choices, and I make them.

  • I saw my first Compaq in December 1993. We bought Columbia instead, for good reason. It went downhill from there. Columbia had great engineering but terrible marketing and folded, Compaq went on to buy DEC and Altavista (sob). I still have my first two Columbia PCs -- 2 floppy drives and 512K. Later we put a 5 MB drive (that's 5000 kilobytes) in one of them. I made my first BBS call on one in 1984 and never looked back. Great machine, the Columbia. The Compaq the guys next door had was a dog, although the idea of a luggable computer was kind of neat and it was, in truth, a better machine than a Kaypro.

    But Compaq was the original "NIH" company in the PC world. Love those Torx screws! You want better performance? Sure, no problem. Compaq would happily modify the BIOS and make you pay out the nose for non-standard memory and peripherals. I once spent 45 minutes wrestling to get a case off a 286e and replace a broken floppy drive. I had to disassemble the entire drive cage to remove the drive.

    I had an original Compaq 386 with the 120 MB drive for a long time, but it finally crapped out in about 1990 due to a slowly deteriorating power supply. I don't remember what the replacement price was but it was exorbitant. That 386 -- an important machine in the history of desktop computing by the way, and also the one and only time Compaq produced a truly innovative design -- went to the scrap heap.

    I used to use QEMM all the time because it was a much better memory manager than anything Microsoft could provide for its own damn operating system. About half of the special parms in QEMM seemed to relate to little Compaq fiddles with the DOS user memory, and a lot of the time you had to use them to make QEMM work at all in a Compaq machine. In 1996 I remember installing NICs in two identical Presarios, and being able to configure one and not the other. Big phantom IRQ problems. And so on.

    My unfortunate Novell admin friends tell me they love their Compaq servers but would chainsaw and then burn the Compaq desktops and laptops if they could. Myself, I won't ever touch any of their equipment due to over 15 years of engineering snobbery and marketing bullshit.

    In contrast, I've had a few minor problems with Dells over the years but I would heartily recommend them on the whole.

    For myself, I have a local clone shop build to my specs, including my exact mobo pick. There is no other way to do it any more.

  • The victims of Microsoft are the ones who buy computers from Compaq. They are buying Windows from Microsoft even if they don't need Windows.
  • If you look at it from the point of view of someone who has never seen or touched a PC before, Microsoft has made them easier to use. It's a lot easier for a virgin user to pick up Window98 than to learn Linux. Or good ol' DOS for that matter. Then again, if they can't use a computer, they could buy a mac, hehe
  • Hey remember Tabworks? Wasnt it made my Xerox? I still have it on disk somewhere, with my compaq from 1994.
  • This may seemed a little odd to me when it happened. Compaq announced the DS20 through e-mail a couple of weeks ago, and was crowing about supporting Linux. I went to the supposed page, M.HTM

    and it wasn't there for a few days. Me thinks M$ may have complained for a bit, but eventually came 'round, since DEC and Compaq are so cosy in bed with them. Bill may now be able to get "strategic business information" from inside the Linux community. We'll have to watch our backs.
  • Hope the people in the DEC division keep this up. We need high powered companies like Compaq to tell M$ to smarten up - and do it by keeping alternate OS's running and supported. Earlier comment was due to the fact DEC had (and now Compaq has) the largest NT support group going - if memory serves, it was bigger than the one at M$.
    VMS is no treat, and now M$ has it's little brother to play with. No wonder I'm stressed at work - we're a big NT shop and we use Alpha's, but I can't even sneak an RH 5.2 Alpha version cd in the building. :-(.
  • Was that 5% cost per $1500 PC determined before or after Compaq decided to be a puppet?

    With PC manufacturer profit margins so close and Compaq facing fierce competition, how much of a price break is Compaq getting for its testimony?

    Please don't hurt me Bill... I'm just kidding... put the gun down...
  • I wouldn't really want a computer form a company that installs the bios on a hard drive partition. Who the hell thought of THAT one?
  • They said no, but they really meant yes... Or was it that they said yes, but meant "no meaning yes?"

    Wait, I've confused myself.

  • M$ fights claim by the DOJ that Compaq's ass kissing is a seperate product. M$ says "With out Compaq's ass kissing the Windows runs 30% slower, and we have video."

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.