Feeds

Microsoft ‘killed Dell Linux’ – States

Carry On Kempin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Microsoft sharpshooter Joachim Kempin, who was convicted of illegally shooting antelope in Montana in 1998, has been turning his guns on a more familiar target: Microsoft's own OEM customers.

The States' remedy hearing opened in DC yesterday, and States attorney Steven Kuney produced a devastating memo from Kempin, then in charge of Microsoft's OEM business, written after Judge Jackson had ordered his break-up of the company. Kempin raises the possibility of threatening Dell and other PC builders which promote Linux.

"I'm thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. ... they should do a delicate dance," Kempin wrote to Ballmer, in what is sure to be a memorable addition to the phrases ("knife the baby", "cut off the air supply") with which Microsoft enriched the English language in the first trial. Unlike those two, this is not contested.

The bullets aimed Spaghetti Western-style at the feet of the dancing OEMs translate to Microsoft withholding source code, according to the memo.

For these details we're indebted to eWeek's Darryl Taft, who unlike some his fellow reporters, appeared to stay for the afternoon session of the hearing. His account of the day's proceedings can be found here, and includes the delicious detail that late in the afternoon, Sun Microsystems was desperately trying to close the session, arguing that cross examination would reveal confidential information submitted under seal.

Reuters also mentions the Linux threat in passing, but compare and contrast with The New York Times, which doesn't. CNET and Wired simply carry the Reuters report.

Earlier memos described that it was "untenable" that a key Microsoft partner was promoting Linux. Kuney revealed that Dell disbanded its Linux business unit in early 2001. Dell quietly pulled Linux from its desktop PCs in the summer of 2001, IDG's Ashlee Vance discovered subsequently, six months after we heard Michael Dell declare his love of Linux on the desktop the previous winter.

Compaq was also mentioned in other memos, with Microsoft taking the line that OEMs should "meet demand but not help create demand" for Linux.

Kempin was Microsoft's chief OEM enforcer in the second half of the nineties, contributing a string of memorable memos to the 1998 Trial, and takes the credit for ensuring that the price of a Windows rose as the price of PCs were falling, during this period.

"The plaintiffs are not here to punish Microsoft - the plaintiffs' goals are to make Microsoft behave properly," argued a States' attorney. But how? Short of obliging the executives to wear antelope horns and race in front of an SUV under a hail of rifle fire, it's hard to see what language they understand. ®

Carry on Kempin

Cut a deal or you don't get Win95 - IBM faces PC suicide
Secret deals MS uses to control PC companies
MS OEM VP to IBM: dump Lotus and we'll cut a deal
MS exec's hunting trip: illegally chased and shot 4 antelopes
MS paid $50k to buy 'Compaq of Europe' out of DR-DOS deal
MS exec in shock Windows is great white whale claim
MS pricing strategy exposed - cheap when there's competition, but...
Kempin, star MS enforcer, gets Ballmer special projects gig

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.