Say what you will, but there's no excuse for...
Where will you let us go today, Microsoft?
I didn't begin to suspect Microsoft's strong-armed business practices until I took a job with a computer
manufacturer. Does anybody remember Microsoft Bob? MS Bob was a cartoonish front end for Window 3.1
designed to make computers less threatening to children and the technologically bewildered. (They've
used the same interface for that annoying talking paperclip on the new version of MS Office.) It was
bloated and buggy. Engineering hated it for all the problems it created when we installed it. At the
same time, Sales pushed Bob to customers like it was grain in a North Korean grocery store. "Why?" I
asked. I was told that if we didn't sell X number of Bob, we wouldn't get the best price on some new
earth-shattering OS that was coming. That OS was Chicago, a.k.a. Windows 95.
antitrust.org on Microsoft
Bill Gates is always afraid. That's why, when he wanted his wife-to-be to sign a prenuptial agreement, he couldn't summon up the nerve to give her the contract himself. Some months before his wedding engagement, I'd asked Gates how he felt about prenuptial agreements...
Windows Refund Day
Hundreds of people who prefer other operating systems, but had to buy Microsoft software with their new
computers, converged on Microsoft offices on Monday.
Carrying shrink-wrapped manuals and disks and wielding the penguin mascots of the free Linux OS, they
demanded their money back.
Bill Gates on software copyrights - in 1980
99-Oct Linux Today:
The Korea debacle
Microsoft's trouble with the Korean government first began to surface in October 1997 when the Korean Fair Trade Commission announced an investigation into Microsoft's business practices. This investigation mirrored that of the U.S. Department of Justice. (No resolution of this investigation has yet been seen in the local English language press.)
Germany and the Scientology link
In November, Microsoft announced that disk fragmentation technology developed by Executive Software had
been licensed to Microsoft for use in Windows 2000, due for release in February.
Executive Software's CEO Craig Jensen is a member of the Church of Scientology and has boasted that his
staff is trained according to administrative systems developed by the Church of Scientology. Jensen has
attributed his company's success in selling its defragmentation utility DisKeeper to a 12-volume
encyclopedia on managing organizations written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
InThane offers an insider's view
He tells us, in no uncertain terms, that WSN is going to be the premiere internet service provider in the
next 5 years, and Will Bates had given him personal authorization to do "whatever it takes" to do this.
Somebody asked what this meant.
He said "Somebody close the door" and waited until someone did. He then mentioned that what he said should
never go outside of the room, because certain people had a habit of misinterpreting what he said, and that
nasty things like lawsuits came out of it.
He then proceeded to tell us that Mr. Bates himself had given the authorization to do "whatever it takes,
regardless of any pending litigation" in order to win the ISP war. He said if that meant breaking AOL's
software with a patch, then so be it. I couldn't believe my ears.
Dirty Tricks Department
"We are challenging old and established businesses like newspapers, travel agencies, automobile dealers,
entertainment guides, travel guides, Yellow Page directories, magazines and over time many other areas.
We must devise ways of working with them or winning away their customers and revenue streams."
** Three-year Microsoft strategy memo, quoted by The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 1997
Rash: Why You Might Decide To Run Away From W2K
The part of W2K that's extracting the price is Active Directory. Microsoft has integrated its directory
service so tightly into the operating system that they are basically one entity. As you'll see from Alan
Zeichick's review on Page 29, there are a significant number of Windows features, most of them
management-related, that can't be used without Active Directory.
EU Begins Windows 2000 Probe
Mario Monti, the EU's competition commissioner, told journalists that several competitors had complained
that Windows 2000 would give Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) a dominant position in the server-software market.
...04-06-98 TEXT: FTC ANNOUNCES U.S.-EU AGREEMENT ON ANTITRUST ENFORCEMENT
...Microsoft press release
Stalin would be pleased
00-May Washington Post:
Bill Gates' Executive Style Inspires Cult Following
Bill Barker: Did Microsoft Skip a Grade?
One of the common defenses that Microsoft supporters vocalize is that "Microsoft isn't doing anything that its competitors don't do as well." One could dismiss this argument using the alternative, "Two wrongs don't make a right" observation (i.e., the fact that others are breaking the law is never much of a defense in our legal system). Beyond that, the argument that Microsoft is doing things in the exact same manner as its competitors, even if true, would not be a defense for Microsoft so much as additional proof of the violation of the relevant law.
The truth about Microsoft tech support
Here's a tech support anecdote for you: I actually got my start in the industry by working tech support for Microsoft. One night I was trying to get a modem working with Windows NT 4.0, and because I only had one line, the support person had to call me back after I tested it. When he did, I caller ID'd his phone number and was surprised to see a 770 area code, a local Atlanta number. I was disappointed with the quality of the service and I was sure I could do better, so I asked him for an HR contact number, sent in my application, and was hired a month later. Not by Microsoft, but by a "PSS Partner," Wang, to whom they had outsourced their support.
If you want to see what I saw inside the beast, read on. Microsoft was focused almost exclusively on closing tech support calls, and not very motivated in the realm of customer satisfaction. We were given an extremely rigid "support policy" which all but stated that if there was any non-Microsoft software on the machine, we didn't have to fix it. If the machine wasn't on the hardware compatibility list, we didn't have to fix it (even if it was an application problem). Hold times and call length were the major concerns. "Going the extra mile" to help the customer was discouraged...I kept a call 40 minutes one time to talk a guy through actually opening his case and moving a jumper on his sound card. Did I get praised for a good save? Nope. I got upbraided for exceeding the average call time on an unauthorized procedure.
DOJ attorneys reveal Gates' emails
Dave Whitinger -- The Battle That Could Lose Us The War
Who Stands with Microsoft?
Dr. Dobbs' on
The first step in discovering why the error message appeared under DR DOS but not MS-DOS was to examine
the relevant WIN.COM code. However, the WIN.COM code that produced this message turned out to be XOR
encrypted, self-modifying, and deliberately obfuscated--all in an apparent attempt to thwart disassembly.
The code also tries to defeat attempts for a debugger to step through it. For example, Figure 2 shows a
code fragment in which the INT 1 single-step interrupt is pointed at invalid code (the two bytes FFh FFh),
which disables DEBUG. The same is done with INT 2 (nonmaskable interrupt) and INT 3 (debug breakpoint).
However, since modern debuggers (I used Nu-Mega's Soft-ICE) run the debugger and debuggee in separate
address spaces, the AARD code's revectoring of INTs 1-3 has no affect on the Soft-ICE debugger. In any
case, these attempts to throw examination off-track are in themselves revealing.
For whatever reasons, while much of it is XOR encrypted, the code contains, as plain-text, a Microsoft
copyright notice and the initials "AARD" and "RSAA," perhaps the programmer's initials.
How the Web Was Almost Won
ZDNet: Gates: Robber Baron of the 1990s?
EU Court: Commission erred in not investigating Microsoft
Development, Ethical Trading and Free Software
The free software movement embodies principles consistent with those of Community Aid Abroad and Oxfam
International. Free software products are tools which fit the needs of Oxfam International members, in
many cases better than alternative proprietary products.
It is therefore recommended that:
Development organisations should include software in their policies on ethical purchasing and appropriate
technology; such policies should encourage the use of free software and open protocols.
Development organisations should encourage and assist project partners in the deployment of software
systems that will enable them to "take control of their own destiny", and to reduce their dependence on
the developed world. They should consider the major advantages free software has in this area.
Development organisations should ultimately try to free themselves from the shackles of proprietary
TMF: Bill Gates anecdote
When her company first began competing against Microsoft, she [Gates friend Heide Roizen] and Gates would
compare sales figures on how WriteNow was doing against Microsoft Word. During one encounter with Gates,
she made the mistake of telling him her company had just shipped a thousand copies of WriteNow to Apple.
Gates was furious. He whipped out a note pad and began questioning her like a prosecutor. Who did she sell
them to? Who signed the purchasing order? Who authorized the sale? Have you shipped them yet? Later, over
dinner, she asked Gates what he was going to do with the information. Gates said he planned to call Apple
and demand they not buy those 1,000 units of WriteNow. Gates never made the call. But he did give his
friend some free advice about himself. "Heidi", Gates said, "don't ever tell me anything you don't want me
to use against you."
The Forced March Towards Win2k
As most MCSE's are aware by now, if you want to retain the certification, you must upgrade your
certification to Win2k standards, else you're liable to be left out in the cold. Microsoft will officially
retire the NT 4.0 MCSE come this December.
The Digital Divas vs. Microsoft
The Digital Divas are devoted to helping women get together to learn from each other in the world of Web
design. More than that, the Divas organize Grey Day, an annual effort to spotlight the dangers of
unlicensed copyright use and plagiarism on the Web. And, oh yes -- it appears that Microsoft has stolen
A Look at Microsoft's Record
In Microsoft's case, competing with its customers has become part of its core business model,
due to its internal lack of innovation. Lack of innovation was a good thing when backwards
compatibility and standardization were the dominant forces driving the industry, but now it's a
real handicap to Microsoft, forcing it to steal entire products from competitors in place of real
innovation. Taking the web browser away from Netscape is only the most recent example. Before that
Microsoft crushed dominant software like Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, DesqView, QEMM, Stacker, Borland
"Turbo" compilers, and dozens of others.
New MSN feature encourages spamming friends
MSN Explorer asks new customers if they would like to import their contact list from Outlook or Outlook Express. If they opt for yes, the program will give them an option to notify everyone in their contact list that they have installed MSN Explorer, a default feature in the system. If new members click "yes," a message is sent.
"It's troubling because the message that's sent has 8 lines of advertising from MSN--inviting people to switch to MSN Explorer--and 1 line saying you have a new email address. And we call that the Melissa virus in slow motion," said Leonhard, who said newsletter author Barry Simon pointed out the feature last week.
Ex-employee accuses Microsoft of racial, gender bias
SEATTLE--Microsoft is being sued for allegedly using a subjective job evaluation process that discriminates against black and female employees.
Microsoft "permits managers, who are predominantly white males, to rate employees based upon their own biases rather than based upon merit," Monique Donaldson, a former program manager at Microsoft, states in the suit
Are Canadian Tax Dollars Promoting Microsoft?
On Friday, Canada Internet.com reported a partnership between Canada Post and 3Web. The announcement boasts a service, which can reach "70 percent of all Canadians." You have probably guessed the rest: This service, paid for with our tax dollars, supports and promotes Microsoft to the detriment of other OS vendors: This federally funded program is implicitly restricted to only those Canadians who buy their O/S from Microsoft. The 3Web site presents an explicit message: There is no connection software for Mac, Linux, nor, dare I guess, for BSD or OS/2 or...
00-Nov Times of India:
Microsoft votes down first-ever shareholder measures
SEATTLE: Microsoft shareholders on Thursday defeated the company's first-ever shareholder proposals that
would have forced the software giant to detail political contributions and take a vocal stance on human
rights abuses in China.
Gates Goes Too Far
M010425 - Microsoft: Prizes for Rat Finks
Microsoft has started a pilot program rewarding computer system builders for turning their customers over
to Microsoft's license enforcement department. If the builder or reseller receives an RFQ (Request For
Quote) that includes computers to be shipped without Windows installed, Microsoft wants a copy of the RFQ
sent to them, and, if you are the first to submit that particular RFQ, you'll be awarded points toward
<h3>Strongarm tactics and censorship</h3>
Is Microsoft Trampling on First Amendment Rights?
In three separate legal actions, Microsoft has been using the courts in an attempt to smoke out sources,
challenge the first-amendment rights of writers and reporters, and chill press coverage and public
disclosure of important information that it prefers remain secret.
Two of these cases have been conducted publicly, and one in secret. In early October, Microsoft subpoenaed
the source materials of Dan Goodin, a reporter for the online news organization C/NET, and a hearing on
the matter will take place next week. Appealing a lower court decision that denied its demand for source
materials, Microsoft is still pursuing access to these materials from the authors of Competing on Internet
Time, Harvard professor David Yoffie and MIT professor Michael Cusomano.
Less known are Microsoft's activities to determine the confidential sources of my articles and my
best-selling book The Microsoft File, published in August by Random House, through a bizarre motion filed
under seal against Caldera Inc., which has sued the software giant for antitrust violations.
Beggars at the Door
00-Mar Philippine Daily Inquirer:
Lotus chief sues Microsoft RP head for grave threats
Documents obtained by the INQUIRER show that Lotus Philippines managing director Victor M. Silvino has
filed charges against Microsoft Philippines managing director Darren G. Lockie at the Makati City
Metropolitan Trial Court.
Criminal Case No. 278388 or "The People of the Philippines vs. Darren Lockie" stems from an alleged
confrontation between the heads of the two rival software companies on Nov. 16 near the main entrance of
the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. In a shouting match, Lockie reportedly had uttered grave threats against
Silvino and his family by saying: "Mr. Silvino, where is your mother? You and your mother are finished,
Microsoft Asks Slashdot To Remove Readers' Posts
Software king in odd role with cell-phone makers
00-Dec Security Focus:
No more Microsoft bulletins
It seems Microsoft was not very amused at my posting of their
advisory to the list the other day. As the copyright holders
of the work they have told me in no uncertain terms that I do
not have their permission to redistribute a text version of
their web page bulletins via the mailing list or the
securityfocus.com web site, and that doing so would be considered
an act of copyright violation.
Microsoft Development tools forbid open source development
Open Source. Recipient's license rights to the Software are conditioned upon Recipient
(i) not distributing such Software, in whole or in part, in conjunction with Potentially
Viral Software (as defined below); and (ii) not using Potentially Viral Software (e.g.
tools) to develop Recipient software which includes the Software, in whole or in part.
For purposes of the foregoing, "Potentially Viral Software" means software which is
licensed pursuant to terms that: (x) create, or purport to create, obligations for
Microsoft with respect to the Software or (y) grant, or purport to grant, to any third
party any rights to or immunities under Microsoft's intellectual property or proprietary
rights in the Software. By way of example but not limitation of the foregoing, Recipient
shall not distribute the Software, in whole or in part, in conjunction with any Publicly
Available Software. "Publicly Available Software" means each of (i) any software that
contains, or is derived in any manner (in whole or in part) from, any software that is
distributed as free software, open source software (e.g. Linux) or similar licensing or
distribution models; and (ii) any software that requires as a condition of use,
modification and/or distribution of such software that other software distributed with
such software (A) be disclosed or distributed in source code form; (B) be licensed for
the purpose of making derivative works; or (C) be redistributable at no charge. Publicly
Available Software includes, without limitation, software licensed or distributed under
any of the following licenses or distribution models, or licenses or distribution models
similar to any of the following: (A) GNU's General Public License (GPL) or
Lesser/Library GPL (LGPL), (B) The Artistic License (e.g., PERL), (C) the Mozilla
Public License, (D) the Netscape Public License, (E) the Sun Community Source
License (SCSL), and (F) the Sun Industry Standards License (SISL).
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