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IBM exec reveals MS sales quotas for Win95

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MS on Trial Inside information on Microsoft's determination to push Windows 95 into the market in its first year was revealed yesterday via - strange but true - questioning from Microsoft's attorneys. In questioning IBM exec Garry Norris the defence team seems to have been trying to show that IBM hadn't met its Windows 95 commitments, but this led to Norris revealing what these were. IBM had signed up to ship 300,000 copies of Windows 95 a month, although Norris says he didn't think IBM customers would switch to 95 at anything like that speed. This was typical of the period; most of the manufacturers with large numbers of corporate sales didn't anticipate a fast transition. In early 95, on the other hand, Microsoft's intention was to push 95 into the market, whether customers wanted it or not, and to just turn off supplies of Windows 3.1, if that's what it took. IBM's 300k a month commitment would have been similar to the deals other manufacturers signed, so although prior to launching 95 Microsoft was reticent about likely sales levels, the reality must have been that it knew pretty much how well the product would perform, because it knew how many copies the PC companies had promised to ship. These promises were thoroughly incentivised, too. IBM's contract provided for the company being charged an extra 20 per cent per copy, if it didn't make the numbers. But as it turned out, Norris says Microsoft didn't force this payment when IBM failed to make quota. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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