Feeds

Birth of the Evil Empire? Snapshots from billg's early days

Court archive tells of how the Win was won

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Microsoft's settlement (on terms which have yet to be specified) of the Minnesota overcharging lawsuit means that some very interesting evidence that was to be presented at the trial will now, as we say in the Wonderful World of Disney, go back into the vaults for another generation. We'd be the last to suggest that Microsoft is the kind of company that would cut a deal simply to avoid having its senior execs forced to take the stand and have embarrassing emails waved at them, but a deal has, provisionally, been cut, and Hennepin County District Court tells us: "The trial exhibits will remain on the website until Monday, April 26, 2004."

It does not share with us information on where one might find them from Tuesday 27th on, but perhaps it's best to get it while it's still hot. If you haven't got it already, of course. Currently, there is a very large pile of documentation in the plaintiff exhibits folder, much of it of considerable interest to IT history junkies. The Reg is particularly taken with number 0570, a heartfelt ten page letter from Jim Cannavino of IBM to Bill Gates. This sheds much light on the difficulties OS/2 was in by November 1989, and on the breach between IBM and Microsoft. This one incidentally, is stamped Defendant's Exhibit, so we're not sure what it's doing in the plaintiff folder.

But a Bill Gates email of May of that year, Plaintiff's Exhibit 0108, sheds even more light, and gives us an intriguing picture of the Bill of the time. It's intriguing because it's not really evil, conniving sonofabitch or all-seeing visionary, but something you can recognise as a human being, trying to figure out how to stop revenues stalling, but getting himself into tangles in the process. Not that we're suggesting it makes him likable, or anything, just a bit understandable. The Bill of these days has to make OS/2 work because he's allied with IBM and making OS/2 work is the objective. But the numbers from this don't really stack up for Microsoft, so although IBM wants Dos and Windows to be confined to a jumping off point for OS/2, and Bill kind of agrees, he needs to make money from Windows. So he kind of doesn't. And he's got this deal with Compaq over Windows 386 that IBM doesn't know about yet, and what's going to happen when they find out?

You can see how you could just get kind of sucked into evil, conniving sonofabitch, can't you?

We at The Reg trust that there is much more fascinating stuff of major historical significance in the big pile, and look forward to being able to share it with you. And if anybody's a little less hazy than we are about the legal status of the exhibits once the judge puts the lid back on, we'd be grateful if you'd enlighten us. What are the penalties for warezing defunct trial exhibits?

On the basis that the old gags are the best gags, here's one to be going on with. Email from billg, subject DR Dos, September 1988:

"You never sent me a response on the question of what things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS and not run with DR-DOS. Is there any version check or api that they fail to have? Is ther feature they have that might get in our way? I am not looking for something they cant get around. I am looking for something that their current binary fails on.

"This is a fairly urgent question for me and I have received nothing."

Oh, Bill...

Related link: Your exhibits till Monday

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.