Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
antitrust, bill gates

Companies:
microsoft, novell



Bill Gates Called To Testify In Antitrust Trial Over Windows 95; No This Isn't An Old Post

from the the-wheels-of-justice-turn-slowly dept

Thought that Microsoft's antitrust troubles from a decade plus ago were all settled and over with, beyond a little monitoring? Think again. The case involving Novell is continuing onward... and lined up on the docket to testify is Bill Gates, who's being called to explain some questionable emails he sent all the way back in 1994, which seem to suggest plans to use Windows to limit competing office productivity software offerings. Of course, perhaps if Novell hadn't been spending so much time and money fighting Microsoft, it could have spent more time actually building products people want.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 3:48pm

    Why is Windows 95 still not in the public domain for anyone to freely copy? For that matter, why is Windows 3.1 still not even in the public domain?

    Oh, that's right, Win95 isn't in the public domain yet because copy protection lengths are 95+ years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 3:49pm

      Re:

      (and yet somehow it's Microsoft that's being anti-competitive, when our government passes laws that are far more anti-competitive).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re:

        You left out our government actually shilling for MS products abroad. It seems odd that the left hand is shaking a finger at M$ for being naughty while the right hand is handing out M$ brochures to other nations saying how wonderful it is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Psychic Octopus, 18 Oct 2011 @ 4:11pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 18th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

      If lengths are debatable in audio and visual media (though 95 is still excessive), they are the epitome of absurdity in software. When software becomes public domain, chances are there won't even be any machine in the world capable of running it. (though I guess museums or universities might have some made just for the purpose of running old software)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Atkray (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:17pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 18th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

        My Packard Bell works just fine on windows 95. Nothing but problems with 98 and ME.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Chargone (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 18th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

          ...

          ...

          ...

          ya know, i want to make a snarky comeback in response to this, but...

          ...

          there just aren't words.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2013 @ 3:53am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 18th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

      Hugh hephner cannot get a hard on?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike42 (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Apple?

    "Of course, perhaps if Novell hadn't been spending so much time and money fighting Microsoft, it could have spent more time actually building products people want."

    Apple's sudden focus on lawsuits doesn't look to good in this light...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RobShaver, 18 Oct 2011 @ 4:25pm

      Re: Apple?

      Having developed software to work with Novell Netware, I don't think they have ever been a very savvy technology company.

      I agree that once people start suing each other, everybody looses a bit, but I don't quite know how to take Mike's position that they should just roll over and take a screwing from MS (I mean move on, forgive and forget). If you don't stand up then its going to happen again and again and again.

      Mike, do you think IBM should have just rolled over for SCO or am I misconstruing your comment?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cowardly Anon, 19 Oct 2011 @ 8:18am

      Re: Apple?

      That's b/c the only person at Apple who knew how to make products that people wanted has died. If you can't innovate, litigate!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2013 @ 3:53am

      Re: Apple?

      Stiffie

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 18 Oct 2011 @ 4:29pm

    You imply that Microsoft didn't violate antitrust to monopolize OS market.

    "Of course, perhaps if Novell hadn't been spending so much time and money fighting Microsoft, it could have spent more time actually building products people want."

    Since Microsoft was convicted of antitrust, as you mention at the start, how was Novell to effectively compete against ongoing unfair practices and exercise of monopoly? Neither IBM nor Digital Research could, either. You're simply saying let the behemoth use illegal means without contest. The resources that you suggest were mis-directed were in fact a part of Microsoft strategy to force Novell to use up its far more limited resources that way: double hammering.

    I note a "winner takes all" tone here: libertarians have a tautology that gaining a monopoly proves that the monopolist is best, therefore there's no monopoly. Mike has several times implied approval of "natural" monopolies and disparaged breaking up monopoly merely because large. He's a corporatist at heart, outside of some mild disapproval.

    By the way, it seems certain that Justice Dept got secret concessions from Microsoft to put in backdoors and various monitoring in return for a de facto monopoly. The gov't has turned into a massive surveillance state, Microsoft being a key part, and as Mike detailed just this week, even courts no longer consider judgments a matter for public view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gordon (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:44pm

      Re: You imply that Microsoft didn't violate antitrust to monopolize OS market.

      OOTB,

      Your comment above is a very well put together and I even say well thought out post.
      If you posted in this manner every time or even most of the time you might not catch so much hell from the other posters here on TD, myself included sometimes.

      I find it refreshing to see you post this way. please keep it up and maybe we here can have some actual thoughtful discussions that don't fall to petty 3rd grade name calling and other such bullshit.


      My 2 cents.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gordon (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re: You imply that Microsoft didn't violate antitrust to monopolize OS market.

        To add,

        I also actually agree with most of what your saying here. Not quite all of what you're saying about Mike directly but the feel of your comment.


        Again,
        2 pennies for you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Greg G (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:53pm

        Re: Re: You imply that Microsoft didn't violate antitrust to monopolize OS market.

        Your comment above is a very well put together and I even say well thought out post.


        Aww, and I thought you were heading toward a My Cousin Vinny moment there.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chris Rhodes (profile), 18 Oct 2011 @ 6:36pm

      Re: You imply that Microsoft didn't violate antitrust to monopolize OS market.

      And yet you support IP, which is the largest government monopoly grant of all . . . funny how that works.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bigpicture, 18 Oct 2011 @ 4:39pm

    "building products people want"

    Do you know anything about this issue at all? Like doing some real journalism.

    This is what the whole "Anti Trust" thing is about. There were products that people wanted like Word Perfect, Lotus, Quatro, remember any of these. Then there was the MS mottos, like "Windows is not done until Lotus won't run" or "cut off their air supply" What the hell do you think is in Bill's e-mails? (1) Lets build a better product than theirs so the customer will get better value, or (2) lets sabotage their products so they can't sell them and MS has a monopoly.

    Now which one do you think was in the e-mails? Why would Bill be testifying if it was (1)? If you can't do any real journalism, then try some reasonable deduction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RD, 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:16pm

      Re: "building products people want"

      "you can't do any real journalism, then try some reasonable deduction."

      Erm, yeah, 1) Mike isnt a journalist, and 2) this is a blog, not CNN. Feel free to take your "mikey is a bad journo!" whining to whichever site it would actually apply to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bigpicture, 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:22pm

        Re: Re: "building products people want"

        So that excuses ignorance on the subject matter?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Any Mouse (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 8:34am

          Re: Re: Re: "building products people want"

          It's a discussion blog. Calling someone ignorant when they are asking for the material you just posted makes you the ass. It's like all the people who mock other posters for asking for citations. Please attempt a civil tone towards these things, or you won't be taken very seriously at all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Terence, 18 Oct 2011 @ 8:23pm

      Re: "building products people want"

      Don't you mean, "Let's buy better product than what we can make"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cowardly Anon, 19 Oct 2011 @ 8:29am

      Re: "building products people want"

      Without seeing the emails, you're hypothesizing and could very well be making a mountain out of an ant hill.

      Perhaps the emails were written from a CEO that wanted to dominate the market, but that isn't an antitrust...that's how CEO's think and work. Deal with it.

      If you could think back to the Windows 95 days, do you remember what a flaming pile of shit Word was? Word Perfect ran perfectly fine on my Windows 95 box, better than Word did actually.

      In this case no one has to wonder what will happen in the future if this is let go....b/c we already life in that future. Did M$ kill those products? No, they didn't. All of them are still being offered today. So, where is the antitrust?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:07pm

    If you remember at the time Novell owned WordPerfect. WordPerfect was the defacto standard in PC word processing before Word came along. If Microsoft was being anti-competitive at that time it still matters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 6:58pm

      Re:

      How could it still matter? OpenOffice exists now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 9:37pm

        Re: Re:

        How do you define unfair competition? Why should Microsoft get away with unfair practices? Do you advocate abolishing anti-trust laws?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        cgt (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 6:38am

        Re: Re:

        First of all, it's OpenOffice.org.

        Second, LibreOffice is here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2011 @ 8:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And both are complete crap. Unusable when you need to share documents with users that have the latest version of MS Office. I know we deal with it everyday at work. Even our die-hard linux desktop users hate both Open and Libre. What joke those products really are, compromise all the way around.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Chargone (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 1:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            i think the issue with incompatibility might have more to do with Microsoft, seeing as how OpenOffice.org seems to go out of it's way to handle Microsoft's file formats.

            especially as Microsoft has a habit of attempting to sabotage any standardization that would let other people's stuff work when they want people using their own.

            (IE's incompatability with the standards everyone else used, for example.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2011 @ 6:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not claiming MS Office is good or that I love MS. In my experience and in the experience of those around me (on PCs, Macs and Linux) I get the most consistent experience with MS Office.

              MS does not believe in 'do no evil' and if you read my post above you'll see that I say that it still matters if MS was being unfair in the marketplace.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            monkyyy, 19 Oct 2011 @ 2:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            *die hard linux user* ms office sucks as well

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2011 @ 6:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Just not as hard as Open or Libre which are no better. If you set cost/licensing aside, where does Open or Libre outperform MS Office?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                walterbyrd, 20 Oct 2011 @ 6:50am

                MS always seeks to lock users into their proprietary format. Once you are locked into MS's format, you are owned by MS - you are vendor-locked. Also, since MS formats are completely closed, there is no assurance that documents you create today, will be readable years from now.

                Using MS office products can also lock you into an OS platform.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2011 @ 8:31pm

                  Re:

                  If I cannot find a better tool then I don't really care if I'm 'vendor locked'.

                  "there is no assurance that documents you create today, will be readable years from now"

                  Not sure how many years you mean but I can still open my docs from Word 2.0 years later.

                  "Using MS office products can also lock you into an OS platform."

                  Various forms of virtualization make that untrue.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 10:40pm

      Re:

      "WordPerfect was the defacto standard"

      WP was a DOS product then, with no mouse support. Meanwhile, Word for DOS had mouse support. WP was on life support, with customers looking for an alternative. Word for DOS would have won eventually.

      When Word for Windows came out, WP had nothing. That was when WP lost the game. Customers saw the new Word and decided, "At last, WYSIWYG."

      WP for Windows was a horrible buggy mess, which shipped late. They found out the hard way that reliability is something you design in from the start, not bolt on later when you suddenly realize you have a problem. Customers do not forgive software which crashes and loses hours of work. Look at how good document recovery is in Word and Libre Office.

      WP's loss of market share was almost entirely caused by management mistakes at WP. They thought they were going to get away with shoddy, but they faced a competitor who was just that crucial bit better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2011 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re:

        Apparently you never worked in the legal profession.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2012 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:

        "Look at how good document recovery is in Word and Libre Office."

        But look at how often you have to *use* document recovery in Word, Libre, etc. In my experience they all suck.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:25pm

    bleh...

    It's hard to compete when you have people like bill gates who will lie cheat and steal to squeeze everyone out of the business. So many good companies have been assassinated by microsoft. This is not good for consumers. Novell actually made a lot of quality products, which can't be said for MS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert Freetard, 18 Oct 2011 @ 10:11pm

    Novell wasn't out-teched it was out marketed.

    When the CFO's only exposure to networking was microsoft in college he expects the server to need rebooting weekly and patches (that also require reboots) twice or more a month.

    I have a Novell 4.11 server at a client that has literally been running since 1997 with only every couple of year swap-outs of hard drives in the (hardware) mirror _ever_.
    It gets rebooted perhaps once a year.
    It supports groupwise which they won't replace and one app that they aren't ready to re-write.

    Novell's tech is far superior to Microsoft's but their marketing sucks as compared to Microsoft's

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 19 Oct 2011 @ 7:21am

    Further facts showing /why/ Novell had to spend "time and money fighting Microsoft".

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20111017182502925

    And why Mike's advice to just ignore Microsoft criminality is just his usual blatantly wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Allomancer (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 7:49am

    I don't have any problem with Microsoft being investigated for antitrust issues, but why in the world is this case still going? Does Novell even exist anymore? And if they do win, what then? I guess Microsoft will have to pay some money to the company that's already been destroyed, for whatever good that'll do.

    Of course, the reason it's gone on so long is probably due to Microsoft dragging it out anyway (just a guess), but the whole thing is ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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