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MS paid $50k to buy ‘Compaq of Europe’ out of DR-DOS deal

Meanwhile, an MS employee likens integration to 'bubble gum and bailing wire'

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MS Remedies A deposition from senior Microsoft employee Phil Barrett contained the admission that the "integration" in Windows 95 could be likened to using "bubble gum and bailing wire", according to a lawyer speaking at the Nader Microsoft Remedies conference. Giving an update on progress in the Caldera case, Steve Hill of Snow, Christensen & Martineau demonstrated some major discrepancies in the various explanations that Microsoft had used in an attempt to explain away its actions. Hill characterised one of Microsoft's problems as being "cultural incivility", and observed that there is a need for good faith on both sides - but this is like asking a fox to be friends with some chickens. Microsoft's PR had characterised Caldera's filings as taking snippets out of context. Yet when Caldera filed the complete Microsoft depositions, Microsoft had objected to this as well. Clearly, things are not looking well for Microsoft in Salt Lake City where the trial will be held next year. Hill drew attention to the negotiations between Vobis and Microsoft, after Vobis (then dubbed "the Compaq of Europe") had decided to use DR-DOS instead of MS-DOS. Microsoft offered Windows to Vobis for $35, but it would only be $26 for MS-DOS and Windows (with $9 of this being for MS-DOS). The licence would be a per-processor licence, with a minimum commitment. For a time, Vobis decided to offer customers a choice of DR-DOS or Microsoft-DOS. What Microsoft did not know - and what made Gates absolutely furious - was that Vobis had prepaid for copies of DR-DOS, so when Vobis finally gave in to Microsoft's financial blackmail, Joachim Kempin had to agree to pay $50,000 to buy the remaining copies of DR-DOS. This transaction was disguised as a credit in the accounts. Documents relating to some of these matters were destroyed deliberately by Microsoft's country manager, Hill alleged. After Microsoft had finally made Vobis a DR-DOS free zone, Microsoft doubled the price for DOS when the contract was renewed. Caldera was hoping to get injunctive relief against Microsoft, Hill said. The findings of law and the conclusions of fact could be used by other litigants [which is not the situation with the DoJ case]. During the Washington trial, the statute of limitations is suspended, so that grievances older than five years can be brought to court. If Caldera is successful, as now seems likely, Microsoft will be able to look forward to many more fun years in court. ®

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