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Intel exec made up quotes, says Microsoft attorney
We expect he made up all those Bill Gates emails as well then...
Intel VP Steve McGeady came under sustained attack from Microsoft attorney Steve Holley today, who claimed he embellished his notes from a key 1995 meeting with Microsoft, that he'd made up the critical 'cut off Netscape's air supply' quote from Paul Maritz, and that his superiors regarded him as a prima donna. McGeady held up well, pointing out that the Maritz quote was highly memorable, and that although it didn't appear in his notes of the meeting, these did include Microsoft claims that it would "kill HTML," and "keep the browser a commodity." He might also have mentioned, if he'd had the chance, the curious longevity of the "cut off their air supply" quote. This reached the press well in advance of the trial, and Microsoft has had ample opportunity to deny it. Until today, it had not done so. Holley has been trying to establish several things in the course of the cross-examination of McGeady. First, McGeady has to be portrayed as an embittered maverick who had his software projects canned, and who blamed Microsoft for this. Second, he is prepared to lie and to embellish in order to wreak revenge on Microsoft, and third, that Microsoft's opposition to NSP was perfectly logical and justifiable under the circumstances. So time-warp territory, gentle readers. We'll take these in order. NSP was not simply a project run by a junior Intel VP. In 1995 it was viewed by Intel as a key technology that would place clear blue water between the company and the Risc rivals who were then chasing its tail. The Register has a vivid recollection of it being explained to us by Vinod Dham, then a senior Intel employee and the man who masterminded development of the Pentium. Next, the lies and the embellishments are somewhat difficult to credit. McGeady claims there was direct linkage between Microsoft agreeing to support MMX and Intel abandoning NSP, and we've already seen evidence of Bill Gates emails which could be interpreted as linking support for Merced with Intel doing Microsoft's bidding. We've also seen Microsoft absolutely adamant that, when it comes to software, it calls the shots. (Drop NSP or MMX gets it) Even if McGeady is embellishing, he's embellishing on top of a ton of other stuff he can't have added bells and whistles to after the event. But as we see it, Microsoft's justification of why it was agin NSP is the real killer. McGeady concedes that Intel was wrong in trying to develop NSP for Windows 3.1 rather than Windows 95. He justifies this as being because Intel didn't think Microsoft could get 95 out of the door when it said it would (perfectly reasonable, if you remember 1995), but with hindsight not going for 95 was a big mistake. Microsoft today rages about this, because NSP was being designed so that it wouldn't be compatible with Windows 95, and that's why in 1995 Microsoft was trying to kill-off NSP - it was going to be irrelevant, and bad for users. But remember we're still in time-warp territory here. Back in 1995, in the run-up to the Windows 95 launch, Microsoft was moving heaven and earth to secure the most complete set of driver support ever for its forthcoming OS. All of the hardware suppliers who were going to be supported by the platform were urged to produce drivers, supply them to Microsoft for validation, and have them there on the first CDs when 95 shipped. It was a remarkable, and a remarkably successful, effort. Set against this we have the bizarre image of the most important partner Microsoft had barrelling along producing software for Windows 3.1, but not for 95. But rather than doing the sales and support job on NSP in order to obtain drivers, as it had done with every other key piece of hardware for the Intel platform, Microsoft decided NSP had to die. So was Microsoft offended because Intel had kept NSP secret from it initially? Or because Intel was moving the fuzzy line that divides hardware and software too far into the territory of software? Microsoft most certainly did not treat NSP in the same way as it treated every other piece of hardware that was going to go into a Windows 95 PC, and if we bear in mind that at the time it needed 95 to be a huge success, straight away (OS/2 was still potentially a threat), then that's remarkable. ® Complete Register trial coverage