Feeds

Microsoft Web contracts tougher than Gates claims

Story suggests Committee got inadequate answers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A year ago Posted 30th March 1998 Bill Gates may have misled the Senate Judiciary Committee in his testimony earlier this month, according to this morning's New York Times. The Times quotes from a Microsoft Web partner contract passed to it by an anonymous industry executive, saying that the partner should promote Internet Explorer exclusively on its home page "and any other pages where similar promotions are placed." This could clearly be interpreted as locking out NetScape by stopping NetScape being engaged in "similar promotions," but a further section seems even more conclusive: [the partner] agrees that neither it nor its affiliates will directly or indirectly license or otherwise authorise distribution, transmission, marketing or promotion in the territory of company content or logos by companies which produce other browsers." Talking to the Judiciary Committee, on the other hand, Gates claimed that any contractual restrictions were limited to the partner company's home page, and that NetScape could be promoted anywhere else on the site. It took the committee quite some while to nail him down even to this extent, but if the Times document is genuine it seems he wasn't nailed down quite hard enough. The problem here is probably that old Microsoft one, meaning. The company's stance is that any restrictions it places on its partners in its contracts are minor, reasonable ones designed with reasonable goals in mind. If for example a magazine ran an article about NetScape with an advertisement for Explorer opposite, one of the companies (we're not sure which) would be pretty angry. But even if Microsoft's intentions are perfectly reasonable and genuine, what Microsoft's contracts actually say, and the way its partners may interpret them, is a different matter. If you get this kind of stuff coming onto your desk whenever you renew a contract, then slowly but surely (or even fairly quickly) you're going to get the impression that not getting too enthusiastic about Microsoft's competitors is a smart idea, if you want to carry on doing business with Microsoft. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.