Feeds

Microsoft demands academics hand over Netscape, AOL info

Scholar's privilege may not be protect Harvard, MIT profs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft yesterday asked a federal judge in Boston to compel Michael Cusumano of MIT and David Yoffie of Harvard to hand over tapes and transcripts from their interviews with Netscape and AOL executives. These form the basis of a book entitled Competing on Internet time: lessons from Netscape and the battle with Microsoft. The authors, backed by their universities, have refused to do this, claiming 'scholar's privilege'. Both had to sign non-disclosure agreements before the interviews. Legally, Microsoft appears to have a good case in this instance, since in Massachusetts there are no laws that shield journalists from disclosing unpublished material, as is the case in some other states. If Microsoft can convince the judge that the information required is central to the case, it is likely to prevail over First Amendment rights to academic freedom. Microsoft has a copy of the forthcoming book, which it obtained from Netscape as part of its subpoena, since under the terms of the NDA, Netscape had the right to see the text. One line of Microsoft's defence in the DC federal court will evidently be to attack Netscape for having what Michael Toy, a Netscape employee, described as browser code that was "slapped together originally and had never been fixed". His remarks of course apply pretty well to the whole software industry. The snippets that Microsoft has disclosed are in the end just value judgements, and if there were not a diversity of opinion within a company, it would be most exceptional. This line of defence suggests that Microsoft is finding that the evidence in its own documents is so damning that it must attack. In Netscape's case, Microsoft argument will be along the lines that users thought IE superior to Navigator, and that there is evidence that Netscape's product was cobbled together and has remained that way. Microsoft will also apparently try to show that AOL chose IE, and that -- according to former Netscape VP Ram Shiriram -- this was "Netscape's own fault". It is probably more significant that AOL CEO Steve Case disputes this story, and is saying so. Cusumano previously co-authored a book entitled Microsoft Secrets which was notable for its lack of said secrets, the slavish desire not to upset Microsoft and the failure to retrofit management principles to Microsoft's erratic progress over the years. It brought a refreshing naivete to studies of Microsoft. ® Click for more stories

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity
What really shortens lives? Reading this sort of crap in the papers
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.