By Siobhan Kennedy The director of Microsoft’s Developer Relations Group was yesterday forced to admit that the software giant systematically uses waivers to disadvantage competitors that it perceives are a threat to its monopoly over the server and workstation application market. During a video taped deposition, played in the Connecticut courthouse yesterday, Bristol Technology Inc’s […]
By Siobhan Kennedy
The director of Microsoft’s Developer Relations Group was yesterday forced to admit that the software giant systematically uses waivers to disadvantage competitors that it perceives are a threat to its monopoly over the server and workstation application market. During a video taped deposition, played in the Connecticut courthouse yesterday, Bristol Technology Inc’s attorney Patrick Lynch showed Morris Beton a confidential internal email that clearly showed Microsoft had developed a list of ISVs that it thought were operating in markets that the Redmond giant said it does not like to see flourishing. The email, from Microsoft’s Dan Neault to colleagues Beton, Takeshi Numoto and Norm Judah, listed companies as friend, enemy or neutral and granted them royalty waivers (for access to its Windows NT APIs) according to which category they fell under. Wind River Systems Inc, for example, was deemed an enemy because its Tornado product helps companies develop applications for a variety of embedded systems on Unix systems. The recommendation: do not waive, the email read.
In the case of Mainsoft, Bristol’s main competitor, the email showed that Microsoft was considering a waiver but that it first needed more information before making up its mind. We should also have Mainsoft include in their request for a waiver, the following information, the email said. Neault went on to say that the company should also provide details of its ownership structure, a detailed description of its application functions and information about when it first became a Unix shop. In essence, he continued, we should put the onus on Mainsoft to present in their request why it makes business sense for MS to grant them a waiver on royalties for that specific ISV and for that specific application, and then later on: The idea is to tell them what kind of projects are doomed to be rejected by MS and discourage them from wasting their time on them. Although there’s no mention of Bristol in the email, the tiny Danbury- based software developer says the internal document is clear evidence that Microsoft was out to squash those ISVs it considered were developing applications for markets where Redmond wanted its software to dominate. In particular, it accuses the software giant of playing Bristol off against Mainsoft and it asserts that the email, showing Mainsoft’s waiver in the balance pending negotiations, is evidence of that fact.
After Beton’s deposition drew to a close, Bristol’s fourth witness, Professor Richard Langlois a professor of Economics and Management for the University of Connecticut – and Bristol’s first expert witness – took the stand. During questioning, Langlois said that Microsoft had started off with a monopoly only in the desktop market, and hence it was happy for ISVs to port its Windows applications to other server-based operating systems, namely Unix. But as the software giant started to move its sights into the higher-end server/workstation space, it wanted to remove all those ISVs who it perceived stood in its way. Professor Langlois is expected to finish his testimony today. That will be followed by the videotaped deposition of Bob Kruger (a former Microsoft employee), then Keith Blackwell, Bristol’s CEO, will take the stand.