25th > February > 1999 Archive

Microsoft hissed and booed at Intel event

Intel Developer ForumA keynote speech by a senior executive at the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs this morning was received by delegates with hisses and boos. Carl Stork, a senior hardware exec at Microsoft, was outlining Microsoft's plans for the Windows 2000 platform, only six months after the software company told the same delegates the final beta of Windows NT would arrive by Thanksgiving Day 1998 (see MS under real pressure now to finish beta by Thanksgiving and MS promises NT 5 in 1999). Microsoft's graphical demo, which was supposed to take advantage of the Pentium III's Streaming SIMD instructions, fell over in the first few minutes. Intel and Microsoft don't seem to be getting on very well, do they? ®
Mike Magee, 25 Feb 1999

Technology fails at Intel

The press room at the Intel Developer Forum is a model of efficiency, by and large. The first morning we logged into our system, everything worked perfectly. But some wag had made the picture of the i820 chip we ran last week the default background. We can assure you it was not us. Next day, we tried to print out Intel's plans for Russian journalists but the printer driver seemed to have disappeared, totally. Then an Intel spin paramedic started harassing us about the interviews we were supposed to have first thing...It's really good fun here, you know. ®
Roman O'Gloaming, 25 Feb 1999

Gateway takes 19.9 per cent share in NECX

Gateway has bought into an e-commerce company, thus demonstrating that where Compaq will go, Gateway will follow. The minority interest, just under the 20 per cent limit, is in the NECX Office and Personal Technology Centre, the company said. Gateway has an option to buy more, if it wants, as part of the deal. ®
Team Register, 25 Feb 1999

Compaq to give away VMS licences on Alpha to hobbyists

Pre-eminent Alpha tracker Terry Shannon is reporting that Compaq is set to give away free VMS licences to home and hobbyist users of the Alpha platform. Shannon, a journalist who runs Shannon knows Compaq, said that the system has been in place for nearly 18 months on VAX systems. Compaq is now extending it to Alpha systems, with the date likely to be in early March. Interested people should therefore go to the following URL: Montagar in early March to discover more. This is very interesting, given the close connection between AMD and Compaq, we think. ®
Mike Magee, 25 Feb 1999

MS demo video breaches own licence agreements

MS on TrialA Microsoft demonstration of how easy it is for OEMs to customise the Windows desktop shown yesterday was in breach of Microsoft's OEM licensing agreements. Or at least, it was if the OEM isn't one of a handful of top PC manufacturers. Microsoft showed the video to accompany the testimony of OEM licensing chief Joachim Kempin, who argued earlier this week (see Kempin testimony) that Microsoft's OEM customers have a great deal of freedom to install whatever software they like on their machines. The vast majority of Microsoft OEM customers do not however have this degree of flexibility in their contracts. The fact that some OEMs have secured this flexibility is itself an issue in the antitrust case. In the months before the DoJ filed against Microsoft, the company relaxed the terms of some of its contracts. Permission to modify the online services folder, for example, was initially granted to Gateway, and then extended to other companies, although Microsoft had initially said that Gateway was a 'special case'. This is not quite how Kempin puts it in his written testimony. In spring of last year, he says, Microsoft allowed seven companies, "Acer, Compaq, Dell, Gateway 2000, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Packard Bell/NEC, to make two modifications to the initial Windows 98 startup sequence... Microsoft permitted these seven OEMs to replace the registration wizard in the initial Windows 98 boot sequence with products that provide a single unified end user experience and register the customer jointly with both the OEM and Microsoft "Second, Microsoft permitted these seven OEMs to add their own software for customers to sign-up for Internet access with one or more ISPs selected by the OEMs and to have that software run automatically prior to any customer opportunity to use the standard Internet Connection Wizard feature of Window 98." Kempin says that not all of these OEMs have taken advantage of all of this yet "in the five months since Microsoft granted these exceptions". He wrote his testimony in early January, which means the exceptions were granted in late July 1998, ie. his definition of spring varies from that of other mortals. But we'll let that pass. The fact that there are seven exceptions means that the rest of the industry is not, currently, allowed to make similar modifications. Kempin says permission will be granted to anybody who asks, but that there are "technical challenges" associated with the creation of software for ISP sign-up, so not a lot of companies are asking. DoJ attorney David Boies argues that Microsoft's increased flexibility has been implemented as a response to the DoJ action, and that if the case failed, Microsoft would just put the restrictions back again. But there are a couple of other things worth noting about the changes. OEMs are now permitted "to register the customer jointly with both the OEM and Microsoft". This is still more restrictive than the pre-Windows Experience OEM contracts, and still is designed to ship all registration details to Redmond. And the stuff about creating ISP sign-up software is a distraction. Microsoft's online services folder is Microsoft's mechanism for referring new Internet customers to ISPs, and adding or removing entries in it is not what one would call a technical challenge. Running a referral server is, of course, and that tends to tie the mechanism in to Microsoft's referral servers. But as we recall, various ISPs (AOL springs to mind) are always eager to get PC manufacturers to bundle sign-up software, and even willing to pay them for the privilege. So what's the problem, Joachim? If there has as yet been no stampede for the new liberal OEM contracts, mightn't there be some hurdles you're not telling us about? (Please write, gentle readers who know.) ® Complete Register trial coverage
John Lettice, 25 Feb 1999

UK Internet awards results

Dixon's Freeserve and the Great Stan of Software have taken top honours at the Internet Service Providers Association's (ISPA) first ever Internet Industry Awards. In a glittering ceremony in the heart of London's West End, crowds flocked to watch the leading players of the UK Net industry converge on the Cafe Royal in Piccadilly. Peter Wilkinson -- the man behind Dixons' Freeserve -- was voted Personality of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the Net industry. And to round off a perfect evening for Freeserve it was voted Best consumer ISP in the UK -- an award sponsored by software Stan. But Stan's Internet Explorer was also honoured for being the Most Useful Software -- praise indeed especially from anyone who's used it. Elsewhere, Which? On-line won Best ISP Web Site and Compaq won Best Hardware Supplier -- an award sponsored by AOL UK. Tim Pearson, chairman of ISPA, said: "The awards were given by the industry to applaud individuals, companies and products whose achievements are worthy of special attention. "They are unique in that they give the Internet industry the opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous strides made by this young and fast-moving sector." Next year The Register hopes to pick up a gong or two, maybe for most serious approach to news reporting... ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Feb 1999

Theft of email is a crime, says US court

A US court has ruled that stealing email is a criminal offence and could land offenders in hot water. The Pennsylvania court ruled that an employee of the Internet company Sladekutter illegally hacked into the computer system of rival company Labwerks. In what amount to industrial espionage, the intruder stole email containing the names of Labwerks' customers and used this privileged information to contact those customers. In her decision, US District Judge Donetta Ambrose found that Sladekutter had broken the federal wiretap law by illegally accessing Labwerks' computer system. She ordered Sladekutter to return the files and other materials obtained from accessing Labwerks' computer system. According to Labwerks' attorney Peter A. Santos, the case was so significant that the ruling was returned just two weeks from the date it was filed. "The court has said in no uncertain terms that it will not tolerate one business breaking into another business' computer system," said Mr. Santos of the Pittsburgh law firm Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. "It's illegal and it will be stopped," he said. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Feb 1999

Metabyte to double power of nVidia TNT

US-based Metabyte is developing a version of 3Dfx's Scan Line Interleave (SLI) technology for its upcoming own-brand nVidia Riva TNT-based 3D accelerator cards. According to Metabyte sources cited by US magazine Maximum PC, the new system will allow two TNT-based Wicked3D boards to work together as a single, double-bandwidth card. The technology utilities a hardware connection between the two cards, which can be AGP or PCI, and special software. Metabyte already offers a 3Dfx Voodoo2-based board which can pair up with a second card to double the acceleration power using SLI. Metabyte has been a strong supporter of 3Dfx in the past, but its interest in providing an SLI-style system for rival chip-sets, suggests the company has decided that 3Dfx's domination of the 3D graphics accleration market is effectively over. The sources claim Metabyte's new technology, believed to be scheduled for an official announcement today or tomorrow (so watch this space), can easily be applied to chip-sets other than TNT, specifically S3 Savage3D (and, presumably, the Savage4) and 3Dfx's Banshee, which is based on Voodoo2 but doesn't support SLI. ®
Tony Smith, 25 Feb 1999

French ISP gives up the ghost after barrage of legal actions

Altern, a French service provider that hosts Web sites for free, has shut up shop after its owner said he was hacked off with being taken to court. Owner Valentin Lacambre decided enough was enough after facing six separate legal proceedings against him. In one instance he was taken to court for hosting nude pictures of model Estelle Halliday on his service. Although he maintains that he took them down as soon the complaint was made, a court ruled that the service provider -- and not the individual who posted the pictures -- was in breach of copyright. He was told to pay damages to the owner of the pictures. Using AltaVista.com to translate his statement from French to English, Lacambre said: "After six legal procedures to have allowed the public expression of the citizens, I return my apron." "The 47,634 Internet accounts lodged by altern.org go disparaitre or to transform itself into bibendum advertising elsewhere, the company of the spectacle will have had their skin in all the cases." "With each one of you to act, telephone your deputy, the data processing specialist will cultivate his garden," he said. The Register is a little bemused by the translation, and can only assume that M Lacambre has decided to throw in the towel (or maybe that should be trowel?) and that the data processing manager is on gardening leave. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Feb 1999

Apple's FireWire Future

AnalysisInterim CEO Steve Jobs' recent claim that he wants Apple to emulate Sony's approach to designing and marketing computers shows that the company really has figured out it needs to think 'consumer' if it's to continue to grow in the long term. That doesn't mean simply punching out faster iMacs, though that's clearly part of the wider process, but considering what consumers, particularly those who don't yet own a computer, might want to do with a PC in the digital age. Jobs' interest in Sony, outlined this week in an interview with the Japanese business newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun, centre on the notable success the company has achieved with its Vaio notebook PC range. In the dark, depressed Japanese PC market, there have been just two stars: the Vaio and the iMac. According to the Japanese Electronics Industry Development Association (JEIDA), what little growth Japan's PC business experience came from new computer buyers, many of whom were attracted by those two machines. JEIDA estimates put iMac sales since its late-August launch at 120,000 units. Vaio sales in the last quarter of 1998 also reached 120,000 units. According to Jobs, the Vaio range has become a real 'must have' product for consumers because the machines themselves not only look great - something they share with the iMac - but they make it really easy to hook up and work with consumer electronics kit. For now, that's a big advantage over the Apple machine. Apple likes the Vaio approach for two reasons. In part, it validates the Mac maker's decision to drop serial ports and SCSI in favour of USB and, in particular, FireWire. Mostly, though, it highlights one of the routes Apple can take to win the hordes of new users it needs to attract to rebuild, perhaps even extend, the marketshare it has lost over the last four or five years. Now, Apple got into a little hot water earlier this year over allegations that it had begun charging PC vendors, peripherals suppliers and consumer electronics manufacturers a $1-a-port royalty on every FireWire-enable device they ship. Whether it was right to do so is a moot point. Apple invented the technology and despite submitting it to the IEEE as a standard (its official title is IEEE1394 - FireWire is just what Apple calls it; Sony's moniker is i.Link, for example), IEEE regulations allow the company to levy a royalty on its intellectual property. On the other hand, companies opposed to the levy claimed the fee would severely limit the technology's appeal to the wider computing and consumer electronics world. In fact, Apple was well within its rights to charge a licensing fee, and with FireWire already chosen by Intel and Microsoft in their PC2000 specification as the new standard high performance peripheral connectivity mechanism, PC and peripherals vendors would ultimately have to support if they were to maintain their products' Windows-compatibility certification. Besides, adding a couple of bucks to the prices of a high-speed hard drive isn't exactly going to break the bank. As it turned out, however, Apple's opponents appeared to win the day, and the Mac maker decided to share out its FireWire intellectual property with Compaq, Sony (that name again...), Matushita, Philips and Toshiba, probably under pressure from those very same companies, most of them among the technology's earliest adopters. The point is, in all the debate over FireWire licensing, the PC players who most openly criticised Apple's behaviour all viewed and continue to view the technology as a high-end one. So do the majority of their competitors. Years ago, even Apple did. When it comes to consumer-oriented systems, most vendors are more interested in USB, because not only is it more suited to 'consumer' peripherals like modems and printers, but it's free. However, that argument ignores the fact that the most common use of FireWire right now (and probably for the immediate future) is in digital camcorders and cameras, many of them aimed at mainstream consumer electronics markets. Editing digital video at home is clearly way easier than manipulating analog footage, and it can be done on an entry-level computer. Now, the next generation of iMacs due this summer and probably Apple's upcoming consumer portable, codenamed P1, will almost certainly sport FireWire ports. Quite apart from reassuring everyone who bought a Blue and White G3 that Apple's serious about FireWire, adding the technology to the consumer line-up will allow Apple to address the huge number of people who will be producing digital content on an amateur basis and will need some kind of computer to manipulate that content. Of course, they'll need software to encourage them to start playing around or even just to persuade them that they really can edit their home movies cheaply on a computer, and this is where Apple's initially nonsensical purchase of the Final Cut video editing utility from Macromedia finally clicks into place. And you thought Apple just wanted to annoy Adobe... In the quest for new users, Apple has to develop new ways of making its machines a more obvious choice than a Windows box, and that's going to have to go beyond the old 'easier to use' arguments. Building sexier boxes is one such a new method - so is leveraging high end technologies like FireWire into the consumer space. And with the Sony example in clear view, Apple can exploit both before its rivals follow suit. ®
Tony Smith, 25 Feb 1999

Intel snubs IEEE 1394 for USB 2.0

Mainstream PC support for the FireWire connectivity system looks set to vanish following Intel's announcement at this week's Developer Forum that it is readying the next generation of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and a faster version of the ATA-66 interface. And Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's desktop division, went as far as to claim FireWire, aka IEEE 1394, could quickly become a "niche" technology. Work on USB 2.0 has already begun and is set to offer a data transfer rate between 120 and 240Mbps, according to Gelsinger. Sources cited on various US newswires claimed the bus could reach 300Mbps. Even at the slowest figure, it marks a significant improvement on the current USB speed of just 12Mbps. Gelsinger went on to promise an initial spec. at next September's Intel Developers Forum and predicted PCs using the new bus would ship in the middle of 2000. The follow-up to ATA-66, dubbed Future ATA, was said to operate at up to 1Gbps. Intel isn't the only player here, said Gelsinger -- various other companies are working on the specification. "There's no other alternative I can see for in-the-box I/O storage," he added. So where does all this leave FireWire? Acording to Gelsinger, "1394 will play a role in connecting consumer electronics devices to the computer which can enhance those devices. But that's something of a niche, and it doesn't make sense to integrate that into our chip-sets." He also couldn't resist a dig at Apple, claiming the company's reported decision to charge a royalty for its FireWire intellectual property (see Apple caught charging crafty FireWire fee) had "confirmed our strategy" of "looking at a new version of USB". Apple recent decision to share the rights to that IP with five other key FireWire supporters, Compaq, Sony, Philips, Toshiba and Matsushita (see Apple caves in over FireWire licensing) hadn't resolved the royalty issue, he claimed. Compaq, for one, rejected Gelsinger's claims and said it remains committed to 1394. But if Intel pushes FireWire support out of the PCxx specification and replaces it with USB 2.0 and Future ATA, that's likely to leave Compaq in the minority. That said, it may not matter. While USB 2.0 will undoutedly appeal to manufacturers of traditional peripherals, such a printers, modems, scanners and perhaps even back-up devices. However, since these aren't really FireWire applications even now, USB 2.0 won't threaten 1394 too much either. And USB 2.0 is going to have to go some way to match the technical superiorities of 1394 that make it so suitable for high-end applications. Key to the coming battle will be consumer electronics devices, and this is perhaps the ace up FireWire's sleeve. USB 2.0 is essentially predicated on the idea that people want only to hook up traditional computer-oriented peripherals to their computers -- FireWire supporters believe they want to connect other devices too. Of course, that won't stop the consumer electronics adopting USB 2.0 if it's powerful enough and garners sufficiently widespread support among PC vendors, but FireWire has gained a heck of a lot of ground here. Much will depend on the likes of Apple, Compaq, Sony and co. now making 1394 easy and attractive to implement. ® See also Analysis: Apple's FireWire future
Tony Smith, 25 Feb 1999

How MS tried to keep the lid on its OEM customers

MS on TrialIn his written testimony and in court this week, Microsoft OEM chief Joachim Kempin argues that Microsoft is willing to be flexible over the software its OEM customers can install. The permission to modify the Windows 98 startup sequence granted to seven large OEMs in the first half of last year will also be granted to other OEMs on application. We covered this a little this morning (MS demo breaches own licence) - but the story from the first half of 1998 (just) is a little different. A short email exchange from late May early June lists five OEMs who are allowed to implement "an alternate first boot process." These are Packard Bell, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and IBM. The list is from one Pete Peter, who stresses: "Remember this process is only to be offered on an exceptional basis to those OEMs that cannot utilise the registration and/or referral server process as delivered [in Windows 98]." Clearly general permission is not available at this point. The first break with Microsoft's restrictions had been offered to Gateway, in consideration of the fact that it was running its own ISP service. This clearly wouldn't operate sensibly via MS' referral server system, although sense doesn't necessarily change minds at Redmond. The other OEMs had climbed onto the bandwagon, and around about this time Dell, which hadn't yet, was complaining about being penalised for being a 'good citizen.' Kurt Kolb forwards Peter's message to Kempin, adding: "Reports coming in that other OEMs are now asking for the additional Windows Experience provisions we offered the OEMs below." He suggests permissions be granted "on a case-by-case basis." Kempin, who you'll recall has this week been saying this flexibility is available to all and sundry, responds: "I agree - no flood gate please, this needs careful monitoring knowing that some might use this to abuse it." ® Complete Register trial coverage
John Lettice, 25 Feb 1999

Nice and Easynet does it

Easynet Group reported its first profit after announcing that its turnover last year increased by 128 per cent to £17.0 million (1997 £7.4m). Revenues from corporate customers were up 143 per cent to £11.2 million (1997 £4.6m) and dial-up revenue climbed 107 per cent to £5.8 million (1997 £2.8m). Reporting pre-tax profits of £143,000 -- compared with a loss of £1.3 million last year -- chairman David Rowe said: "1998 has been a landmark year for the company. "We moved into profitability in the second half of the year on the back of rapidly growing revenues. Corporate and consumer sectors have performed extremely well, and the move into telecommunications to strengthen the company's network has proved very successful. "It's helped underpin the Internet dial product in the UK by generating a revenue stream from call minutes," he said. Rowe added that he anticipates significant growth in data traffic across its network in 1999 both in the UK and across Continental Europe. Easynet was established in 1996 and has operations in the UK, France and Germany. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Feb 1999

Review of call charges procedures is delayed

Telecomms watchdog Oftel has delayed the publication of a consultation document which could jeopardise subscription-free Net access in the UK. The document was scheduled to be published this week but has been delayed until the beginning of next month. A spokeswoman for Oftel denied that there was anything "sinister" going on or that it posed a problem. "It's just taken a bit longer than we thought," she said. The eagerly awaited document will look at Number Translation Service (NTS) and ask for comments from the industry on whether this should be revised. If it is revised -- or scrapped altogether -- then the pricing structure that is being used to fund existing "free" services could collapse and all hell could break loose. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Feb 1999

Ex-Soviets seek $$$ for Merced-killer – Transmeta linked?

Russian microprocessor design company Elbrus International today announced details of E2k, a CPU it claims will run three to five times faster than Merced - and there may, or may not, be a Transmeta connection.
John Lettice, 25 Feb 1999

Only real men have fabs

Intel Developer ForumJerry Sanders III, the CEO of AMD, said at a conference a few years "only real men have fabs". He was referring in that case to Cyrix, now a subsidiary of NatSemi. But in his keynote speech at the Forum this morning, Mark Christiansen, a VP of the networks communication group at Intel US, seemed to hint that maybe being fabless is better. Christiansen said: "It's no longer plant and equipment and factories that determine your wealth, it's intellectual property. "Today, you feel that your value is in design and the soft items. For Coca Cola it's their secret sauce. "We have $25 billion in our fabs but our market capitalisation is about $140 billion, the delta is in our intellectual property. "Today with so much value being put in intellectual property, it's incredibly easy to have your intellectual property stolen." Of course, Intel has to keep building very expensive new fabs and a bit like the Red Queen in Alice through the Looking Glass, has to run fast to stay in the same spot. So why doesn't the Goliath just outsource all of its technology and save itself a lot of money? ®
Mike Magee, 25 Feb 1999

Rosen takes lead as least credible MS witness

MS on TrialDan Rosen, previously senior director, strategic relationships in Microsoft's so-called advanced technology group, and now general manager for new technology, has taken over the yellow jersey as Microsoft's least credible witness. His testimony may be his epilogue so far as his future career a Microsoft is concerned. His manner in the witness box was, shall we say, unfortunate. His sworn deposition and testimony were frequently out of synchronisation. He claimed to have spent "20 to 30 days minimum" preparing for his day and a half of infamy. Why therefore did this former vp of AT&T claim that AT&T did not own Unix in 1995? (Novell did the deal to acquire it in December 1992, and completed it on 14 June 1993, when Rosen was still at AT&T.) Another example of Rosen's knowledge: "I don't know that I understand what browser market share particularly means." He told the court what he was told to say at witness training school, that he was just "trying to be very precise in [his] answer". When he was floored by a question, he asked David Boies to repeat it, so consequently his cross-examination was very drawn out. While showing off in court and claiming a new meaning for "browser" in an attempt to steer through a minefield of damning Microsoft documents, he slipped up several times by being inconsistent in his own terminology -- running into one of his own mines you might say. Overall his manner was of one of loquacious insolence, and Judge Jackson's body language showed that he found it rather unconvincing. Some Rosenisms are so awful that they should be recorded as a warning for others who may have the same affliction. "In the spring" meaning during what date, sir?" Even worse was the episode with his email to 12 Microsoft apostles on 15 May 1995 that he claimed was not sent. It is worth citing Rosen on Rosen, as it gives a good example of his, er, style: Boies: And is this what it appears to be, sir -- an email that was actually sent on May 15, 1995 at 12:48 am? Rosen: Oh, no. Oh, no, not at all, Mr Boies. When you prepare -- let me start with what I do. When I prepare any document, the first thing I try to think about is my audience. Who am I sending it to? At what level do I want to write it? What kinds of thoughts would I have? So the first thing I would do typically in doing something like this is put together a thinking -- a thought list of who the distribution should be. The second thing I would do is type the memo, which is what's contained. And what you see with all these funny little characters on them says that it is just what was, at that point in the mail system, allowed to be embedded rather than attached at the beginning. But I recall that I prepared this as a discussion to have with my boss at the time, and had the discussion with him, and decided that it really wasn't necessary to send it. Secondly -- I mean, my pride in authorship wouldn't allow me to send something with this many errors in it, and without ever having even completed the end of it, to senior executives at Microsoft. [sic throughout]" He had to retract this when David Boies proved it had been sent (and the DoJ is doing a very good job organising its documents, it should be noted). It is indeed a rough draft, as Rosen claimed in the witness box, and shows what a rough state Microsoft was in at the time, before the dear leader had invented the Internet. "Microsoft's efforts are currently fragmented, specific offerings designed and run by different groups, with limited ability to create end-to-end offers or decided appropriate product tradeoffs [sic - it is a draft, after all]. This allows our competition to gain footholds in the areas where we are weak and to recruit the best Internet talent to implement a focussed effort. There are also gaps in our products ..." Just two months later, who would pitch up at Netscape to "evangelise" but Rosen, offering Microsoft's great expertise () in Microsoft's well known Internet technologies, such as TCP/IP, http, and html. Unfortunately Boies did not take issue with him on these claims. No wonder Rosen was interested in, to use his phrasing, "sucking most of the functionality out of the current Netscape browser". Another comment made Rosen the subject of some laughs and headlines, and it seemed that Rosen was ridiculed for being wrong and occasionally right. Gates wrote in his 26 May 1995 "Internet Tidal Wave" document that "a new competitor born on the Internet is Netscape. Their browser is dominant, with 70 per cent usage share, allowing them to determine which network extensions will catch on. They are pursuing a multi-platform strategy where they move the key API into the client to commoditise the underlying operating system." Rosen remarked: "Bill was probably wrong, because Jim Barksdale [CEO, Netscape] was telling me -- and I was the one talking to them -- that Netscape didn't intend to compete in this way. That they saw their core competence as being in the servers and value-added functionality, not in the platform arena." Rosen was inclined to exaggerate his closeness to Gates. He told Barksdale: "I've been thinking about strategic linkages and have discussed my ideas with Bill ..." He was forced to admit to Boies: "Perhaps I've overstated it a little bit because my discussion with Bill was sort of in the hallway next to his office when I passed him and said, 'Bill, if I can reach a win-win deal with Netscape, would that be okay with you,' and he said 'Yes.' " [Laughter in court] Rosen wasn't alone in exaggerating his success and importance. The transcript shows that a Ms Fox of Microsoft had emailed Rosen that she had "closed the Visa deal for a per-transaction revenue deal" and wanted to bring in MasterCard, but MasterCard had an existing deal with Netscape. It turned out that Fox did not have a deal, and it now seems probable that both plastic companies were interested in a joint agreement on standards, and Netscape was not going to have the same standards as Microsoft so the deal collapsed after the unsuccessful attempt by Microsoft to "wrest" the browser from Netscape, although Rosen would not confirm this. Rosen made some interesting claims for his acquaintanceship with Jim Clark, Netscape's chairman. He'd introduced himself at an Internet trade show, and seen him again at Comdex. In his deposition, Rosen said he had no other contacts with Clark, but in his written testimony he remembered a more substantial conversation. Rosen admitted: "I believe I saw him in the hall and said 'hi' ". At this rate, Rosen will be writing biographies of the pioneers of the business if he ever gets the key to the executive washroom. Rosen's account of the 21 June meeting at Netscape provided more material for whoever is going to write the definitive novel. Rosen said in his deposition that there was no pre-meeting at the hotel in San Jose where the Microsoft team was staying. Suddenly, in his direct testimony, there was a pre-meeting, and lo and behold, when Boies asked Rosen: "In your direct testimony you have several paragraphs in which you purport to set forth in some detail not only that there was a meeting but who attended it and what people said at the meeting; right?" Rosen replied: "Correct." This suggests that Rosen's account of the key 21 June Netscape meeting is unreliable, as his memory was clearly faulty at the time, and Rosen failed to provide any convincing responses to Boies' searching questions. Soon afterwards Boies abruptly terminated his cross-examination when Rosen was playing his new trick of getting the question repeated, and playing semantic games about the meaning of 'browser' and 'client'. For once it is possible to sympathise with Microsoft's legal team, but there was no way to rescue the situation in redirect examination. Boies had another go in what should have been a recross examination, but in fact it was a continuation of his cross-examination. Discussing an email exchange on 22 June, Boies summarised the position to Rosen: "So your testimony is that when Mr Wolf at 2:13 wrote about the client involved, he was talking about a browser, but when you at 4:29 wrote about the client, you were talking about something else? Is that your testimony?" Rosen echoed back: "That is my testimony." Boies accused Rosen of making up a story about whether he had a beta copy of IE before the 21 June 1995 Netscape meeting. It turned out that Rosen had been given a copy of the code at a Netscape meeting on 27 April. "I stand corrected," Rosen said when Boies produced the inevitable proof. He also produced Andreessen's account of the meeting that was typed on a laptop during the meeting (Netscape co-founder Andreessen's greatest skill may well be as a very fast typist) and Rosen was unable to provide any evidence that the account was incorrect. Microsoft's failure to release any key exhibits on its web site add to the extreme doubt about Microsoft's claims as to what happened at the 21 June 1995 meeting. The only exhibit that Microsoft did release was an email from which it can be seen that in October 1995 David Kaiser of AOL was trying to recruit Rosen to be CEO of a small company of which he was a director. Who had proposed him? Step forward Marc Andreessen. At the end of the day, only Rosen might have thought he had won in court. For everybody else, including no doubt the Microsoft legal team, there must have been a feeling of profound relief at his departure back to the other Washington. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 25 Feb 1999

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