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Does Microsoft ‘gibberish’ database run on IBM hardware?

Register supersleuth Graham Lea reckons Microsoft is being bashful about owning a SAP-AS/400 combo

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It is interesting to consider why Microsoft claimed that the software for the Microsoft sales database is too large and complex to function on any computers to which the Justice Department has access. Judge Jackson overruled Microsoft on Friday, stating that the data supplied by Microsoft was "gibberish"(earlier story). Microsoft had suggested that the DoJ set up its own database to analyse the printed versions of contracts, knowing very well that even if these months of work were undertaken, it would still be impossible to find a true picture, because of the modification of many agreements, and discount structures that are not clearly spelt out. The DoJ said the information is relevant to get information about Microsoft's pricing and revenue practices. The DoJ had even offered to "conduct that inspection at whatever hour of the day is convenient for Microsoft and to pay any reasonable costs incurred as a result". Perhaps the most outrageous Microspin was from Steve Holley, a Microsoft lawyer, who said that the people running the Microsoft database were integral to Microsoft's business, and that if they were interfered with, the company could shut down. That sounds like an invitation to headhunters to offer the traditional Microsoft signing-on bonus of a million dollars or more, as happened in the case of Microsoft's raid on Borland employees. So what could be of so much concern to Microsoft? Microsoft has had to use reliable systems for its internal business applications, so naturally it used DEC kit with no Microsoft software at one stage of its development. Then it moved to IBM AS/400s, swearing IBM to secrecy about this. Bob Herbold , Microsoft's COO and now reckoned to be number three at Microsoft, claimed at the analysts' meeting in July that the last AS/400 would be out of Microsoft's door shortly - but was economical with the truth about the off-site service company that is running around a dozen AS/400s for Microsoft. What are they running? Certainly Microsoft's world-wide software distribution, and quite possibly Microsoft's sales database. What software? Try SAP. Ergo, Microsoft would be telling the truth that the DoJ could not get an A/400 and SAP software installed quickly. But it would not want the world to know that, would it? ® Click for more stories

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