Feeds

MS exec recants over video ‘inconsistency’

The Register reckons MS wouldn't have got into this pooh if it documented the Windows registry...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Microsoft VP Jim Allchin has 'explained' the inconsistency in the videotape he showed on Monday, and which yesterday the DoJ claimed as a fraud. Well, apparently, anyway. In a press release dated yesterday, but posted at 9am Pacific Time today, Microsoft puts forward the answers that Allchin had a little trouble with yesterday morning. According to the release, the "inconsistency... does nothing to invalidate either the tests on which the demonstration was based or the substance of [Allchin's] testimony." The net effect of yesterday's events, of course, was a massive PR own-goal for Microsoft which largely destroyed the value of Allchin's testimony, but you can see why Redmond might not want to put it quite like that. Says the explanation: "Allchin conducted thorough tests of Felten's program [Edward Felten's IE uninstaller], using new machines under strict laboratory conditions. He discovered that Felten's program not only fails to remove IE from Windows 98, leaving virtually all of the code intact so that users can still browse the Internet, but it also degrades the performance of the operating system." This test was, says Microsoft, replicated by a technical team using different machines. "When the videotape was played in court to demonstrate problems in the Felten program, a title on one screen showed 'Internet Explorer' where it should have said 'Windows 98' whenever the Felten program was running. Allchin agreed that there was an inconsistency between the taped demonstration and the standard screen profile that should have been displayed while the Felten program was running on the computer. After telephoning members of the technical team at Microsoft during the lunch recess, however, Allchin was able to explain the discrepancy when court resumed in the afternoon." The reason was, he says, that "one small entry in the Windows registry on the machine that was used - an entry that allows users to choose or change the title for a particular screen - had apparently been deleted or left blank by another program that had been run previously on that computer, causing it to default to the title, 'Internet Explorer,' even though the Felten program was running on the machine." Got that? So Felten's program was running on it, even though it looked like it wasn't, so the demo was still valid. Now we'll cut to the transcript of yesterday's ambush of Allchin by the DoJ. Boies plays the video, and the voiceover says: "It's taking a very long time, however. Unusually long to access that Web site." Boies then asks: "This is the portion of the clip where you are saying that after the Felten program has been run, that the performance of Windows is degraded, right?" Allchin concurs, but adds: "But from what I'm seeing here right now, I believe that that was done on a pre-Felten system, although the point still stands. He has performance problems and the Windows Update doesn't work, but I believe, from what I'm seeing here, they filmed the wrong system." Boies: "And when they were filming the wrong system and they were purporting to show the degradation and how long it took, they were showing how long it took on a Windows machine without the Felten program being run, correct?" Allchin is now clearly rattled, and says he can't be 100 per cent sure, he'll have to check. Boies rams it home: "Well sir, if you look up here, it says 'Microsoft Internet Explorer,' correct, sir?" Allchin agrees. Boies: "And you've already testified that you know that that means that the Felten program has not been run, correct?" Allchin: "That's right. I believe that to be true." Allchin's beliefs, you will note, have changed somewhat dramatically between yesterday morning's court appearance and 9am today Pacific Time. But yesterday, before he could phone the techies, the torture continued. Boies: "This video that you brought in here and vouched for and told the court how much you'd checked it, is a video that purports to show right here on the screen a performance degradation, and talks about how slow that is and how it's due to the Felten program, and that's just wrong, right? It's not slow due to the Felten program. If it's slow at all, it's because that's the way Windows 98 is, right?" Allchin's response is meanderingly tragic. "In this particular case, it's... I did not think the Felten program had been run. The performance problem exists... I'm not sure that they obviously would do anything like that. So that's not what happened. I'm going to go back and understand. We'll pull all the videos." Now folks, one of the most fascinating aspects of the transcript is that Boies then launches into a long and involved series of questioning concerning changes in Windows registry entries made on the video machines. These changes, according to Allchin yesterday morning, were of no relevance to the running of the test. But yesterday morning you'll note that his conclusion was that the machine showing poor performance on the video had not had Felten's uninstall program applied. Today/yesterday (depends on whether you go for date on release or publication date) he says the explanation is that there had been minor edits in the registry. Now you might reckon, if he thinks this now, Boies line of questioning yesterday morning would have prompted the same explanation - yesterday morning. ® Related stories: Slow machine in test was running MS Office DoJ skewers MS exec over falsified video Complete Register trial coverage

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.