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MS Death List II – enemies scheme was live

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MS on Trial Our report of Microsoft's 'friends and enemies list' last week (See story) was uncharacteristically favourable to Microsoft, according to Bristol Software. Microsoft has shrugged-off the list, which suggests treating software companies differently depending on who's side they're on, as the work of a new staffer, and something that was never implemented. Wrong and wrong, says Bristol. "The terminology was created by Dan Neault, who has been with Microsoft since 1995, and is a director," says a Bristol spokeswoman. "The programme was implemented, and Microsoft VP Bob Muglia sent an email to Bill Gates saying that the programme was being successful (in keeping people from using Java). Neault testified that Bill Gates approved the programme." The list first surfaced in the Bristol trial, and the transcripts support this interpretation. It also popped up briefly in the DoJ trial last week. Here, Neault explains his use of the expression friend, enemy of neutral: "It's a rather clumsy way to articulate it. One that we made smarter when we made this a littlee bit more formal. That was a carry-over from my days at Boeing doing military analysis where they do identify friend, foe or neutral [you can put your own gag in here if you like] ... what it was doing is setting the bar for how carefully we looked at a request for a waiver [of a licence fee]." So clearly the early concept as put forward by Neault envisaged linkage between Microsoft helping software developers by giving them waivers and the developers supporting Microsoft aims and objectives. The plan was modified, he explained under questioning from Microsoft's lawyer, because it was too broad, "a company wouldn't necessarily be a foe or hostile... so I should say really in this product are they trying to use our intellectual property against us." This didn't work entirely either, as he said even apparent friends could fail this test. Now, Bill's involvement. The waiver programme "was approved at a higher level than Bob [Muglia]." A memo from Muglia to Gates produced at the trial says: "This week I approved an agreement with Mainsoft," and Neault says: "The idea of the waiver had received Bill Gates' approval." And here's Muglia reporting to Gates: "We're making progress with enterprise ISVs who were thinking Java to get cross-platform, cutting the royalties upon MS... review to Mainsoft has had the intended effect." Wriggling somewhat, Neault is then forced to answer that slowing up Java adoption was one of the effects of the waiver programme. And here's how it goes when you've become a firm MS ally, like Mainsoft. Muglia again: "Now I think it may not be necessary to further anoint MainSoft and, in fact, it wouldn't hurt to give them a little competition. We are close to settling our differences with Bristol, and assuming these can be resolved, I'm inclined to give them similar rights to cut royalties and put MainSoft and Bristol in competition with each other." This took place in February 1998, almost three years into the 'junior' executive's career at Microsoft. Sounds pretty much like a friends and enemies list in operation, doesn't it? ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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