IBM ‘dossier’ to detail MS Windows threats

The DoJ has a squealer from Big Blue, apparently...


MS on Trial A dossier kept by an IBM executive details threats made by Microsoft, include company OEM head Joachim Kempin, during licensing negotiations between the tow companies. According to a report in today's Wall Street Journal Garry Norris, who ran these negotiations for IBM's PC division from 1995-97, kept a diary - and the Department of Justice has got it. Norris' evidence and the supporting IBM documentation is potentially devastating. So far the DoJ has produced documentation from this period showing that HP, Gateway, Compaq and even faithful old Dell were increasingly hostile to Kempin's activities, but Big Blue has been largely silent. Kempin was however pushing the 'Windows Experience' to PC OEMs, with no exceptions allowed, so IBM will inevitably have received the same treatment. From the PC companies' point of view the Windows Experience was a massive extension of Microsoft's control of what they could and could not do with Windows installations. They lost the ability to produce their own set-up procedures, to get the first bite at licence registration (Microsoft wants to control the numbers) and to do their own deals with ISPs. More recently, some of these restrictions have been rolled back a tad. The Microsoft explanation, as doggedly put forward by Kempin himself in court a couple of months back, is that the company has a right to defend and police its intellectual property, and that letting the OEMs go every which way would result in Windows collapsing in Unix-style splits. The internal Microsoft email traffic of the time tells a somewhat different story; but frankly, friends, life's too short for us to put all the links in. If you want the background click on the link to complete trial coverage at the bottom of this page, then find OEM and Kempin. Or just do a Register site search for Kempin - it's wonderful stuff. The IBM evidence will help explain more of what was going on under the covers as Kempin tightened the screws and the OEMs squealed. According to the WSJ Norris' notes cover the mysterious Market Development Agreements (MDAs) extensively. This is an area well-worth exploring. The MDAs are deep classified deals between Microsoft and individual OEMs, and include discounts and subsidies ostensibly designed to, well, to develop markets, right? But as Kempin said in court, MDA cash was used by Microsoft to compensate OEMs for the cost of switching from their own procedures to the Windows Experience. Kempin insisted nevertheless that they were in breach of their licences if they didn't implement the Windows Experience, and that Microsoft was just being generous in helping them out with cash. People with less integrity than our Joachim would quite possibly use words like 'bribe', 'carrot' and 'stick' at this juncture. ® Complete Register trial coverage


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