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Gates memo suggests secret deals with Lotus boss

So what was it Jeff Papows didn't want people to know he was telling Bill?

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In the transcript of yesterday's Bill Gates video deposition there's an intriguing exchange involving Lotus' Jeff Papows. Documentation shown to Gates during the video seems to suggest some kind of arrangement with Papows that wasn't necessarily the sort of thing his employers at IBM would favour. According to the memo, shown to Gates by DoJ attorney David Boies, Gates had written of Papows in August 1997: "He doesn't want anything attributed to me or he will get into trouble, but he says we can just refer to all the rumours on the Web about what kinds of deal is being done between Netscape and IBM." (Full transcript) Now here's a puzzle. In late July 1997 Lotus announced a deal whereby Microsoft Internet Explorer would be integrated more tightly with Lotus Notes. Lotus had earlier used Netscape Navigator, but had bust up with Netscape (somewhat ironically, under the circumstances) because Netscape didn't want to unbundle Navigator from Communicator. So do we conclude that Papows, having come to a Lotus position (as it were) with Microsoft, was padding gently around Microsoft, exerting what influence he could to stop parent company IBM running off with Netscape? That might be one interpretation. As yet the DoJ would not seem to have released the original document, so there's no way of knowing whether or not Papows was leaking confidential IBM information to Gates. But we've met him, and we can't imagine how that could be true. Oh, no... ® Complete Register trial coverage

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