Feeds

Intuit exec claims MS pressure killed Compaq deal

Even a successful competitor's alliances are limited by Microsoft, it seems

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The difficulty that William Harris, Inuit's CEO, faced in court yesterday was that Intuit is a shining example of a company that has successfully managed to hold Microsoft at bay - at least so far. On the surface, this made it difficult for the DoJ to show that Microsoft has monopoly power, but Harris' direct testimony contained abundant evidence that Inuit was squeezed into agreements with Microsoft that stopped it forming alliances as it chose. Harris' point that Intuit users could switch to rival products such as Microsoft Money, whereas Microsoft Windows users could only switch with great cost or difficulty to an alternative operating system product, did not sound to be very important, although the ease of switching is in fact a significant factor in competition law cases. Microsoft tried to argue that it was superior Microsoft technology in IE that made Intuit decide in 1997 to adopt IE exclusively, and not the lure of a link to Intuit from Windows. It was not a convincing argument. Harris had a similar story to tell to those of Apple and AOL so far as the use of IE rather than Navigator was concerned: the real estate that Microsoft had to offer, in the form of a position for an Intuit icon in a folder, was too valuable to make possible an independent arrangement with Netscape, at least until the DoJ was breathing down Microsoft's neck and Microsoft's resulting relaxation of its restrictive exclusivity requirements. It is surprising that Microsoft had not sought money from Intuit for including its icon with Windows 95. John Warden, an attorney for Microsoft, sarcastically asked Harris if he was proposing an "interstate operating systems commission". Harris elaborated on the circumstances in which Compaq broke its agreement with Intuit in order not to upset Microsoft. Compaq evidently felt rather sheepish about the demonstration of this weakness, but Intuit did not sue. Outside the court room, David Boies, the DoJ's special trial attorney, made the point that even a company with an 80 per cent market share could not enforce an exclusive contract with Compaq against Microsoft's wishes. ® Complete Register trial coverage

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.