Legal Archive

BeUnited.org Submits Brief to Microsoft Antitrust Trial

"On behalf of all people who would like to see a more fair and competitive market for desktop operating systems beunited.org has submitted a brief to the court involved in the Microsoft antitrust trial. The brief outlines the issues that are important for OSBOS projects to survive and how the remedies need to be changed in relation to these projects. The full press release is available here. You can also get a copy of the brief from our publications section on this page." Get the .rtf & .pdf files at BeUnited's web site.

Microsoft’s Plot to Block Sun, Linux Revealed

A Microsoft Corp. executive urged the company to quietly retaliate against supporters of the rival Linux operating system in an August 2000 memo that nine states still suing the software giant want admitted as evidence. In the meantime, Microsoft executives apparently attempted to steer the direction of a Web services standards body away from rival Sun Microsystems, according to evidence and testimony introduced during the software giant's ongoing antitrust trial. "I can live with this if we have the positioning clearly in our favor. In particular, Sun not being one of the movers/announcers/founding members," Gates is said to have written in an internal email.

States Show Microsoft Judge a Variation of Windows

"Nine states seeking stiff antitrust sanctions against Microsoft showed the judge on Wednesday a commercial version of the Windows operating system that already has removable features -- similar to one of their key demands. Microsoft has said requiring a version of Windows that can be customized by computer makers and rival software companies would fragment the operating system, cripple Microsoft, harm consumers and hurt the entire computer industry." Read the story at Reuters.

Gates Says Microsoft Can’t Comply and Make Modular Windows

"Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says his company would be unable to allow manufacturers and consumers to choose which elements of its Windows operating system to install on their computers under sanctions being proposed to a federal judge.The issue stems from how different portions of Windows are reliant on each other. If one piece is removed, such as the part of the Internet Explorer Web browser that makes Web pages appear, other features like the Windows Help system would break." Read the rest of the story at Yahoo!News. You can also read the submitted Gates testimony as a PDF here. Our Take: Personally, I prefer products to be solid and in one piece, as they were designed to be. Recreating something like Linux's dependancy hell at all levels, is naturally something that does not benefit the consumer. Or my hot temper when dealing with it. What is needed IMHO, is restrict Microsoft's business practices, not its product line. Update: More about Gates on the stand.

Microsoft Grills Red Hat Exec in Court

"An attorney for Microsoft argued in court on Monday that Red Hat Inc. had failed to popularize the Linux computer operating system because of its own shortcomings, not because of any interference from Microsoft. Cross-examining Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Michael Tiemann, Microsoft attorney Stephanie Wheeler said Red Hat had spent little money on research and development, and dedicated few of its employees to winning over software developers to write programs for Linux." Read the report at ZDNews.

Ex-Gateway Executive Says Microsoft Bullies PC Makers

A former Gateway executive recently testified (NY Times login required) that Microsoft punishes PC clone manufacturers like Gateway for developing rival products. This was i.e. done by reducing discounts Gateway received for the Windows operating system. Gateway at a time was developing a new Amiga computer, but all of the sudden this ambitious project was cancelled, reliable sources (read the comments section of this article I recently wrote for OSNews) have stated Microsoft to be the reason behind this sudden move. My opinion: A good example of how Microsoft stifled technological progress within the computer industry these last 10 years. Hopefully people will start to understand why it has taken the Amiga community this long to get a new Amiga computer onto the market and why PC manufacturers left Amiga technology in the cold when the classic still was clearly superior technology compared to Microsoft's offerings.

Sun Sues Microsoft from Inside a Glass House

"Sun is railing at Microsoft, but maybe it should be hiring coders rather than lawyers. Sun boss Scott McNealy is an entertaining act, with a nice line in puns. For example, Microsoft's .net becomes ".not", Intel's Itanium is the "Itanic", and IBM's Regatta server is "Regretta". As comedians, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are not in the same league." Yet another editorial on the web about Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft, this time on CW360. We wrote about this too.

Netscape Deserves to Lose

"The loser in the browser wars has filed a private antitrust suit against Microsoft. But the company doesn't deserve to win. It isn't fair. Netscape gave us a revolutionary product that has touched the lives of everyone in America, and in exchange we took away its market and made the company a minor subsidiary of AOL Time Warner. But we can't fix things by exchanging the rule of law for a popularity contest. I know that if it were me I'd be mad as hell -- but nevertheless this is one fight that Netscape deserves to lose." First of a two-part series editorial on the legal battle between Netscape and Microsoft. Update: Second part is online: "Microsoft should be punished".

Steve Ballmer: Sanctions Would Destroy Windows

"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the software giant would have to withdraw the Windows operating system from the market if a federal court approves sanctions being sought by nine states in its antitrust case, according to depositions released Monday." Read the rest of the report at News.com. Our Take: A non-development or withdraw of Windows and its support can hurt an immense number of companies, which can have a huge impact to the economy in many countries. I still can't get it. They are fighting Microsoft for the browser case, instead for its dirty business practices. It's comically tragic.

Judge Says Microsoft Must Give States Windows Code

"Microsoft Corp. will have to supply the computer code for its Windows program to a group of states seeking stiffer antitrust sanctions against the software giant, a federal judge ruled on Friday. Nine state attorneys general had argued that they needed to see the Windows source code in order to verify Microsoft's claim it could not offer a simpler version of the Windows personal computer operating system, stripped of features like the Internet Explorer browser." The Reuters report is at Yahoo!News.

Show us the Windows Source Code, States Ask Judge

"The US States still pursuing Microsoft have upped the ante by asking the judge to force Microsoft to show them Windows' source code, their reasoning being that they need this to verify whether or not Microsoft is telling the truth when it says that producing a stripped-down and/or IE-free version of Windows isn't technically possible." Read the rest of the article at TheRegister. Our Take: Once again, all these hordes of lawyers are hunting the wrong thing. These days, it is inconceivable to ship an operating system without a file manager or a web browser or even a media player. What the States should be researching and demanding is clues for truly dirty business practices, not for the right (or not) to include your own software in your own OS.

The Crime of the Distributed.NET Computing

"A college computer technician who offered his school's unused computer processing power for an encryption research project will be tried next month in Georgia for computer theft and trespassing charges that carry a potential total of 120 years in jail." Read the unusual story at TheRegister, where this technician is facing jail because he installed the Distributed.NET client on some (mostly) idle computers. The authorities are charging him with "hacking" even if they realize that no hack took place. Our Take: When I left my pre-previous job, I left the distributed.NET client running on the Dell dual PII-450 PC I used to work with...

Nokia, Palm Line Up Against Microsoft

"Phone and PDA firms Nokia and Palm are fuelling fresh complaints about Microsoft's monopolistic practices, according to reports on Dow Jones. The nine states which decided to stick out against a DoJ (Department of Justice) settlement last month will invoke Finnish outfit Nokia and Palm as witnesses to the alleged infringements. Nokia, which some analysts see as somewhat losing its edge this year, is probably concerned about developments such as the Sendo phone, which we reported on last month." From ActiveWin.com.

The Microsoft Antitrust Settlement – a Line-by-Line Review

Part 1 of "Microsoft on Truth Serum" has been posted at OS/2 Headquarters. This article covers each line of the Definitions section of the document, and it claims that Microsoft plans to get out of each and every restriction listed. Furthermore, the article finds a "loophole" that actually grants Microsoft exemption from copyright lawsuits by rivals -- something no other software company has ever been granted.

Gassée Believes MS Bootloader Concession Could Boost Linux/BSD

"One possible concession by Microsoft in the proposed AntiTrust settlement has come too late to save the company which pressed hardest for its inclusion: Be, Inc." "I'm always cautious around what these guys 'promise'", Be's CEO Jean-Louis Gassée told TheRegister via email at the weekend. JLG believes that the restriction that DOJ posed to Microsoft regarding the bootloader issue, can boost Linux and *BSD. Our Take: Funny really, JLG says that this concession can boost Linux and *BSD, but he fails to mention his own child, the (abandoned) BeOS.

DOJ, Microsoft Close to a Deal

"Officials at the U.S. Justice Department met state attorneys general in the case to discuss a settlement that would allow computer manufacturers wider latitude to load non-Microsoft software on the machines they sell and give other software companies greater access to the code behind Microsoft's Windows dominant personal computer operating system, Reuters reported." Get the rest of the story at ZDNews. Update: Microsoft, Feds reached a deal. The software maker and the Justice Department settle their longstanding antitrust battle, in an agreement with far-reaching implications.