For the Record: MS 'smoking gun' comments

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 21 May 1998 11:41:15 -0700

Just wanted to archive the commentary and the quotes themselves. No, I will
resist the temptation to score each quote on a 1-10 scale :-)


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If Microsoft ever goes down to defeat in the lawsuits brought Monday by the
Justice Department and 20 states, it may just have been condemned out of
its own mouth. For this, the largest antitrust action in history, DOJ
investigators have spent months assembling an armory of smoking guns:
internal e-mails and memos that, if they are to be believed, represent
Redmond's private face. And it's not a pretty sight.

In Justice's filing, Microsoft executives are shown describing the
promotion of Internet Explorer as a "jihad" to win the browser war.
"Netscape pollution must be eradicated," Microsoft vice president Jeff
Raikes writes. Another memo details company plans to "kill cross-platform
Java." Even Bill Gates appears in a different light, offering Intuit CEO
Scott Cook $1 million "in return for switching browsers in the next few

All in all, it's a far cry from the company line -- and antitrust defense
- - -- that Explorer is a mere part of Windows "functionality." Without having
seen the extracts, Microsoft counsel William Neukom accused the DOJ of
"pulling excerpts out of documents out of context." Yet Christian
Wildfeuer's alleged e-mail of February 1997, for one, couldn't be clearer:
"It will be very hard to increase market share on the merits of Internet
Explorer 4 alone," the Microsoft executive is quoted as writing. "It will
be more important to leverage the Operating System asset to make people use
IE instead of Navigator."

More bad news for Microsoft: It was revealed late Monday that its case
would be heard by Thomas Penfield Jackson, the same judge who ordered
Windows 95 unbundled back in December. Jackson is reported to be giving the
DOJ's request for a preliminary injunction his immediate attention. In the
face of overwhelming evidence, Microsoft has a lot of explaining to do.

-- Chris Taylor

In Its Own Words
Microsoft makes the case against itself

"It seems clear that it will be very hard to increase market
share on the merits of Internet Explorer 4 alone. It will be
more important to leverage the Operating System asset to
make people use IE instead of Navigatior."

-- Microsoft's Christian Wildfeuer, Feb 24 1997

"I was quite frank with him (Scott Cook, CEO of Intuit) that
if he had a favor we could do for him that would cost us
something like $1m to do that in return for switching browsers
in the next few months I would be open to doing that."

-- Bill Gates, e-mail, July 24 1996

"(Computer manufacturers) want to remove the (IE) icon
from the desktop ... this is not allowed."

-- Microsoft executive Chris Jones, 1995

"Memphis (Windows 98 code name) is a key weapon in the
IE share battle."

-- Microsoft executive Brad Chase

"I am convinced we have to use Windows
-- this is the one thing they (Netscape) don't have ...
(Windows 98) must be killer on OEM shipments so that
Netscape never gets a chance on these systems."

-- Microsoft Senior Vice President Jim Allchin,
January 2 1997

"Netscape pollution must be eradicated."

-- Microsoft Vice-President Jeff Raikes

"I thought our #1 strategic imperative was to get IE share.
Our best hope is tying tight to Windows... that is, unless
I've woken up in an alternate state and now work for

-- Megan Bliss, e-mail, March 25 1997

"We should move the sign-up Wizard into the boot-up
sequence somewhere ... this way we can increase the
likelihood that an end user gets the option to sign up for
solutions that promote IE before they get into the desktop or
any customized shell that features other browser solutions."

-- Microsoft senior executive Brad Chase, e-mail,
March 1, 1996

"Look at why people who get IE with a new machine switch
to Navigator and what is being addressed in IE 4.0 to make
that difficult."

--Microsoft executive Jonathan Roberts, e-mail,
March 28 1997

"It is a mistake to release (Windows 98) without bundling IE
with it."

-- Kumar Mehta, March 27 1997

"Internet Explorer will be distributed every way we can ...
bundled with Windows 95 upgrade and included by OEMs."

-- Bill Gates, January 5 1996

"Browser share is job 1 at this company."

-- Microsoft General Manager Carl Stork, September

Target: Microsoft || TIME Daily Front Page

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