[ANSOL-geral] Novos documentos mostram a face oculta da Micro$oft...
Quinta-Feira, 25 de Março de 2004 - 15:57:52 WET
Novos documentos mostram a face oculta da Micro$oft...
Se estes documentos estivessem no antigo processo anti-trust...
Será razão para o reabrir?
-- Newly Released Documents Shed Light on Microsoft Tactics
By JOHN MARKOFF
Published: March 24, 2004
Even as Microsoft prepares to face penalties from the European Union, which
accuses the company of abusing the Windows monopoly, new details about the
tactics Microsoft used to secure a dominant position in software markets for
nearly two decades are emerging in a state courthouse in Minneapolis.
Testimony during the second week of trial in the consumer class-action lawsuit
in Minnesota has revealed some embarrassing internal documents from Microsoft
which were not disclosed in the bitter 1997 federal antitrust lawsuit that
focused on the company's attempt to control the browser markets in the
Among the documents introduced in court this week was a letter from June 1990
in which Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, told Andrew S. Grove, the chief
executive of Intel at the time, that any support given to the Go Corporation,
a Silicon Valley software company, would be considered an aggressive move
Other evidence presented by the plaintiffs' lawyers at trial yesterday gave an
account of how Microsoft violated a signed secrecy agreement with Go and
showed that Microsoft possessed technical documents from Go that it should
not have had access to.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said that many of these newly disclosed documents were
not relevant to the trial, which focuses on Microsoft pricing actions.
"These are very old documents, taken out of context for the sole purpose of
obscuring the real issue of this case," said Stacy Drake, the Microsoft
But lawyers for the plaintiffs contend that the documents show how Microsoft
unfairly dominated the market. "All of Microsoft's conduct was designed to
acquire and hang on to their monopoly,'' said Eugene Crew, a lawyer at
Townsend, Townsend & Crew, based in San Francisco. "Consumers were harmed by
being deprived of choice. The greatest harm out of the Go story was the
suppression of innovation and new technology by Microsoft."
Microsoft has already paid $1.6 billion in its efforts to settle consumer
antitrust claims filed in 10 states.
The new lawsuit, which contends that Microsoft overcharged Minnesota customers
from 1994 to 2001, seeks almost $500 million from the company. If the
company, based in Redmond, Wash., loses, it could also be forced to pay
triple that amount under Minnesota state law.
This week, the lawyers representing the Minnesota consumers are focusing on
Microsoft's efforts to undercut Go, a start-up company that was developing an
operating system for hand-held computers.
The first witness appearing at the trial yesterday was Jerry Kaplan, the
co-founder of Go. Mr. Kaplan, who was a software developer at the Lotus
Development Corporation before he started Go, has been a longtime opponent of
Yet he said he was surprised by what was revealed about Microsoft's activities
in the documents. "I was shocked," Mr. Kaplan said in a telephone interview.
"This was a corporate mugging that went uncorrected and unknown."
The events surrounding the failure of Go have often been cited as a reason for
the animosity between Silicon Valley executives and Microsoft. Go was one of
the most prominent efforts by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture
capitalists to create software for tablet-sized devices. In addition to an
all-star cast of technologists, the start-up had backing from major industry
players like I.B.M., Intel and AT&T.
The plaintiffs contend the new documents show that Microsoft violated
nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build
PenWindows, a competitor to Go's PenPoint operating system. The documents
included Microsoft's internal e-mail messages showing that it had detailed
knowledge of Go's product plans.
The documents also suggest that Microsoft sought to pressure Intel to cancel
its plans to invest in Go. On June 28, 1990, Mr. Gates wrote a letter to Mr.
Grove trying to convince the Intel executive that he should back a version of
Windows for portable computers, then code-named Windows-H, rather than Go's
"I guess I've made it very clear that we view an Intel investment in Go as an
anti-Microsoft move, both because Go competes with our systems software and
because we think it will weaken the 386 PC standard," Mr. Gates wrote.
Shortly after the letter was written, according to Mr. Kaplan, Intel reduced
its planned investment in Go from $10 million to $2 million, and stipulated
the investment be kept a secret.
An Intel spokesman declined to comment on the events.
Silicon Valley executives said that Microsoft's aggressive behavior in the
early 1990's led to a widespread belief among technology companies that
Microsoft was using its operating system monopoly and unfair tactics to
compete in markets where its technology was inferior.
Microsoft was well aware of this perception, and in 1991 tried to alter the
way the company was viewed.
In a document titled "Microsoft Criticism," the company's outside public
relations consultants recommended training for its executives on "personal
demeanor and style." The advice read in part that the focus should be shifted
from "killing the competitor" to "providing a better solution to the
"It's a bit of artifact, but in its day it was a good memo," said Marianne
Allison, an executive at Waggner Edstrom, Microsoft's longtime public
In late 1993, Go was sold to AT&T where it was ultimately merged into the
company's portable computer subsidiary. In 1994 the phone company shut down
the effort in portable computing. Three months later Microsoft canceled its
In 1996, Mr. Kaplan wrote a book, "Start-Up: A Silicon Valley
Adventure" (Penguin USA), in which he blamed Microsoft, in part, for the
demise of Go. Two years later, Marlin Eller, a former Microsoft programmer
who was part of the PenWindows project, wrote in "Barbarians Led by Bill
Gates" (Owl Books) that the intent of the PenWindows project had been
primarily to undermine Go."
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