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The Register: MS could still be found guilty in Bristol antitrust case

Sep 05, 2000, 17:36 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Lea)

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"US federal judge Janet Hall of the Connecticut District Court, who is presiding over the Bristol Technologies case against Microsoft, said in her Ruling last week (in which Bristol was awarded $1 million punitive damages against Microsoft) that "Microsoft could be exposed to civil and criminal penalties under other unfair and deceptive trade practice statutes for its deceptive conduct". Criminal penalties sounds ominous - jail at last for some of the excs?"

"The judge was also critical of a speech by Bill Gates in which he made "an affirmatively false statement and not merely an omission of material fact" at the Unix expo in New York (attended by some 20,000 people) in October 1996. Gates said: "... we work together with [Bristol and Mainsoft] to make sure they've got the very latest Windows API technology. Bristol and Mainsoft also provide source and binary compatibility, and again that's a close relationship where it's not just some old version of Windows, it's the very latest." It's the bit about the Microsoft claiming to offer the latest version of Windows that particularly caught the court's eye, because in fact Microsoft had refused to give Bristol access to the latest version of Windows."

"It appears that Gates believed until August 1997 that Microsoft's WISE program (Windows Interactive Source Environment) was actually doing what it publicly said it was going to do. When Gates realised this, he signalled his understanding of the consequences ("less than eloquently", in Judge Hall's view)... Muglia purred to Gates, "We prefer that 'they are taking full advantage of our platform', Bill." Meanwhile, Microsoft vp John Ludwig wrote in an email that he and others were "rolling on the floor at the irony" of the situation. In fact, the irony was that Gates may actually have been innocent of any subterfuge on this occasion for the humiliating reason that nobody had previously told him what was happening in his company."

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