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Dos 5 vapourware campaign: 'I am not a crook,' says MS exec

Reporter insists on believing the wrong (right) stuff

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MS on Trial Microsoft's inglorious history of employing preannouncements in order to destabilise the opposition goes back a lot further than DR-DOS, to Windows 1.0 and beyond, but by 1990 the practice was thoroughly bolted into the company's systems and business practices. In an email to several Microsoft executives on 2nd May 1990 MS-DOS product manager Mark Chestnut said: "On the PR side, we have begun an 'aggressive leak' campaign for MS-DOS 5.0. The goal is to build an anticipation for MS-DOS 5.0 and diffuse potential excitement/momentum from the DR DOS 5.0 announcement. At this point, we are telling the press that a major new release from Microsoft is coming this year which will provide significant memory relief and other important features. This was picked up by the major weeklies in the U.S." In addition, we learn that: " In a performance self-evaluation, Chestnut wrote 'virtually all of our OEMs worldwide were informed about DOS 5, which diffused DRI's ability to capitalise on a window of opportunity with these OEMs.'" At the time, one journalist, Paul Sherer (then with PC Week), interviewed Chestnut, which prompted him to email on 17 October 1990: " I'm afraid that this guy is going to write that we are being open about DOS 5 beta because we are trying to pre-empt DR DOS 5 sales. I tried real hard to present a different point of view, but I don't think he bought it. I'm concerned that this article may make us look bad. Can you guys follow up and see if we need to do some damage control? This was the toughest interview I've ever done, I felt like Richard Nixon giving his 'I am not a crook' speech." ® Next section: Kill Novell! Back to start

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