Feeds

IBM evidence shows how MS controls PC OEMs

The Norris dossier provides the most detailed evidence yet

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

MS on Trial In 1995, IBM paid Microsoft $40 million for Windows. In 1996 it was $220 million. In 1997 $330 million. In 1998, $440 million. Annoyance over this thumbscrew process is probably the real reason why Garry Norris is giving rebuttal evidence for the DoJ with the clear blessing of IBM, and giving us such a cornucopia. Norris, who was IBM's chief negotiator with Microsoft before and after the introduction of Windows 95, lived up to expectations in his direct examination by Philip Malone of the DoJ. His evidence provides the most damning account in the trial so far of Microsoft's exploitation of its Windows monopoly, and how it controls OEMs. This is the most detailed account anywhere of Microsoft's strategies and tactics in such matters, and even seasoned Microsoft watchers will be surprised at the extent to which their suspicions of Microsoft's business practices were confirmed. Norris has handwritten notes and computer records of the period - not exactly a kiss-and-tell diary, but solid contemporary evidence of Microsoft's actions. They were so good that they went entirely unchallenged by Richard Pepperman, for Microsoft. At the same time, what we see from the testimony is the inability of some senior IBM executives when faced with Microsoft's uncompromising abuse of ethical business behaviour. It was like the Corps Diplomatique trying to deal with threats from a gang of street fighters. So far as OS/2 was concerned, nothing new emerged, and the enigma remains as to whether IBM did change its policy towards OS/2 in a direct response to Microsoft's desires to eliminate it, or whether it was a consequence of Microsoft's actions. Even in the latter case, IBM could have found a way to keep OS/2 competitive if it had wanted to do so, but failed. The new revelations mostly concerned IBM's acquisition of Lotus, and Microsoft's reaction. Judge Jackson listened very careful to the testimony, and asked a number of questions for clarification. After this evidence, there can be no doubt that Microsoft should be prevented from ever again abusing its dominant position by having to publish an OEM price list, with only volume discounts allowed. It would also be necessary to ensure that the prices are set at a fair level and not subject to discounts refereed by Microsoft, as is the case with its so-called MDAs. The mechanism for this would need to be worked out, but it should not be beyond the capability of the courts. ® Complete Register trial coverage

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.