Feeds

Gates memos show how Microsoft puts screws on Intel

And they suggest that the OEMs will only jump when Microsoft tells them to

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Threats? What threats? Bill Gates' claims that Microsoft was just trying to discourage Intel from wasting its money on NSP (see Intel writes lousy software, says Gates) took on an increasingly hollow ring as emails from the Great Man himself clearly indicated something entirely different -- if this was not pressure, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to explain. It is agreed by all parties that Microsoft did not want Intel to pursue NSP, a software technology Intel wished to add to its CPUs -- the dispute is over why Microsoft didn't want NSP, and what steps it took to stop it. So a key Bill Gates email from October 1995 says: "Intel feels we have all the OEMs on hold with our NSP chill," and that they wouldn't go with it "unless we say it is okay." Gates also seems to indicate some form of linkage here, saying that Hewlett-Packard wasn't going to optimise its machines for MMX or "the new audio software Intel is doing using Windows 95, unless we say so. This is good new because it means the OEMs are listening to us". That of course begs the question of what Microsoft was saying to the OEMs. Clearly it was saying NSP was a dead duck, but was it so because it was rubbish, as Bill's video testimony said yesterday, or because Microsoft was going to make it into one? From Microsoft's point of view, one of the issues was territory -- Intel did the hardware, Microsoft the software, so Gates says he "kept pushing Andy [Intel boss Andy Grove]... that we are the software company here, and we will not have any kind of equal relationship with Intel on software". This fits into the picture too, because if Microsoft regards software as its turf, then it will feel free to exercise a right of veto over any software technology Intel, the hardware company, starts working on. It's unlikely that the precise nature of any transaction that took place between Grove and Gates will ever be known, because the partnership still has importance to both parties, and despite Intel exec Steve McGready being used by the DoJ as a star witness, Intel still claims neutrality in the antitrust case. But there's some evidence of the kinds of conversation that were going on between the two. Grove asked why Microsoft hadn't yet agreed on an intellectual property sharing framework for Merced, and Gates said of this: "We were distracted by the NSP crisis -- making sure no one ships that pile of problems." So a hint of linkage, perhaps? In his testimony yesterday, McGeady said he didn't know what happened between Gates and Grove, but that Microsoft's attitude had the net effect of slowing innovation, and that this was bad for consumers. NSP, he said, would make the computer "sing and dance", and would have allowed Windows machines to play video without "the Max Headroom effect, with jerky video". But whenever Intel tried to mess with software, he said, Microsoft went crazy. This leads us to the nub of the problem, and to the beginning of the breakdown in the relationship between Microsoft and Intel. Their joint efforts had served to define the PC standard as a combination of hardware and software, with Intel defining the hardware and Microsoft the software to go with it, but increasingly Intel was chafing over the slowness and inadequacy of Microsoft software development. The PC9x documents list whole strings of innovations that have been delayed or derailed by Microsoft not actually arriving on time with the software support. USB drivers didn't show until Windows 98, meaning that whole generations of machines have ports nobody's using, and the continuing absence of NT 5.0/Windows 2000 is impeding numerous Intel schemes, in addition to having contributed greatly to the failure of NetPC. Intel's view therefore seems to be that Microsoft is calling the shots as to how fast the industry is developing, and that it's only going to be allowed to do so at the speed that suits Microsoft. Meanwhile, an irate Intel source responds to yesterday's Gates claims that Intel software stinks. "Hey, if Software Stan thinks Intel's software is so crap, how come 18 of the major enhancements in Windows 98 were written by er, Intel?" More details when Hardware Stan's anonymous source tells us what they were. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories Click for story index

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.