the Software View: Do not pass GO

Mark Kuharich (
Sat, 30 May 1998 11:26:24 -0700

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the Software View: Do not pass GO

Welcome back, gentle reader. I wanted to share with you some of the
technology I'm using in projects I'm currently working on. For one
Internet database project, I'm using a combination of Java applets on
the client and CGI/Perl on the server. Another project I'm currently
working on is a Java Server Pages[1] project. JSP[2] is a Sun
technology that ships with the Java Web Server 1.1.1 It's very cool.
I'm especially proud because the above projects don't use a single line
of Microsoft code.

Just some tidbits to pass on. On May 11, 1998, Microsoft booted a
64-bit Alpha version of Windows NT for the first time. 64-bit =
allows you to read data from main memory in bigger chunks, support
larger hard disc drives, and may take advantage of Intel's VLW (Very
Large Word) chip instruction set technology.

Here's a funny quote. Read it carefully! I finally got it after
reading it three times. It's worth a chuckle. Futurist Ted Nelson's
words on Microsoft and its operating system proved prophetic: "All =
corrupts, and obsolete power corrupts obsoletely."

I got this gem from Mike Masnick, who runs the techdirt[3] web site.
This gem had me rolling on the floor laughing.

And now, dear reader, on with this week's episode! Much ink has =
been spilled in writing about the recent antitrust lawsuits against
Microsoft. Brace yourself, dear reader, for I am about to add to that
ton of ink. But my ink will be bits, digital, 1's and 0's. When I was
a child and growing up, I used to play this fun game with my brothers
and sisters called Monopoly[4]. If I was unlucky, I would sometimes
draw a card that read, "Do not pass GO, do not collect $200". Well,
Microsoft plays a real game of Monopoly, collects real money, and on =
scale of billions of dollars.

In an upcoming episode of the Software View, I will explain in depth =
dynamics of software markets, the virtuous cycles, essential =
lock in, and the economic theories of increasing returns and network
externalities. Suffice it to say, Microsoft currently enjoys a =
in desktop personal computer operating systems (about 90% market =
And I just read in a USA Today article, that Microsoft also enjoys a =
market share in desktop office suites like word processing,
spreadsheets, etc. These two hugely profitable businesses are the two
pillars that prop up Microsoft's economic value.

History is replete with government antitrust lawsuits against dominant
commercial firms like Standard Oil, AT&T, IBM, Kodak, now Microsoft, =
possibly Intel. Computerworld magazine's David Moschella wrote a great
article that aligned Microsoft with the woes of big tobacco companies.
Like the FoRK list's Robert Harley wrote, "Denial ain't just a river in
Egypt." Microsoft abhors the idea that what's happening to the tobacco
industry today may be a preview of what it will face. Denial is bad.
If Microsoft could learn from Big Tobacco's mistakes, it might spare
itself future trouble. Bill Gates' claim that Microsoft doesn't have a
monopoly on PC operating system software is like tobacco industry execs
testifying that smoking doesn't cause cancer. Both are an insult to
common sense. When you view the increasingly vehement attacks on the
tobacco industry and Microsoft, you see that much of the animosity =
from that initial big lie.

Momma always said, "Do as I say, not as I do." Let's look beyond what
Microsoft says and let's view their actions. Their actions signal =
true intentions. Microsoft had restrictive per-processor licenses with
their personal computer OEM's (original equipment manufacturers) like
Dell, Gateway, and Compaq. Microsoft charged the OEM's for computers
shipped, even if those computer had non-Microsoft operating systems =
IBM's OS/2. It was cheaper for the OEM's just to load Microsoft
operating systems on all their computers. Microsoft also kills
competitors by bundling software into its OS. Examples are QEMM memory
management, Stacker doublespace disk drive software, and more recently,
Netscape's Navigator. Microsoft also attacks competitors on the price
front. Because we all pay a tax to Microsoft for every PC bought, they
have a constant revenue source; thus, they undercut competitors on
prices. Recent examples include Microsoft SQL Server's lowball price
versus Oracle's database and Microsoft giving away Internet Explorer.
This is software dumping at its finest.

Jim Barksdale, CEO of Netscape, said it best. Microsoft is an
"essential facility". In order for Sun or Netscape to sell software,
they must be able to run on Microsoft Windows. Microsoft does not have
to run on Solaris; thus, it does not have to endure the same market
discipline. All software companies today have discovered that when =
purchase Microsoft software, they are actually funding a ruthless
competitor. Every software company in existence has to have an answer
to the Microsoft question. Because the truth of the matter is, if any
software company happens to stumble upon a billion dollar market like
Netscape did with web browsers, Microsoft will swoop down and try to
crush you. Venture capitalists won't even dare fund any software
company that tries to take on Microsoft in its core markets. Bottom
line: Microsoft suppresses innovation. Here's the problem. If you
stumble upon a billion dollar market like Intuit or Netscape, all of a
sudden you appear on their radar screen and they will try to crush you.
The reason is that they must continue to feed their stock price, which
keeps their options hungry employees happy. Also, the collusion and
sharing of code between the applications and operating systems groups =
Microsoft prevent any outside company from becoming a threat in the
Windows software market. ComputerWeekly wrote, "Take Netscape. A
little company develops the world's first popular Web browser and
becomes an overnight success. Did Microsoft really need to develop an
alternative Web browser, then throw millions of dollars at trying to
oust the Netscape product. If IBM could license the Netscape Web
browser, why not Microsoft? Surely the software giant could spend its
more wisely on helping to build better information technology." And =
the bugs that exist in its current software.

Rick Ross wrote it best, "It would be fantastic if Microsoft shipped
100% Pure Java with every copy of Windows 98. It would also be great =
Microsoft would offer Windows IE users the same Java choice they have
offered Macintosh IE users for a long time. Mac IE users get to choose
for themselves which Java implementation their browser will use, from
among the Apple JVM (Java virtual machine), Microsoft's VM, or the
Metrowerks VM. I don't understand why Microsoft gives Mac users a
choice, but refuses to do the same for Windows users?"

When Microsoft tried to absorb Internet Explorer into Windows, it was a
clear case of tying. IE is sold as a separate product for other OS's.
Tying violates Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1914.
Microsoft has monopoly power and has acquired and maintained that power
through exclusionary and predatory acts. Microsoft operating systems
are installed on a large percentage of the PCs being shipped today;
thus, Microsoft has monopoly power. Because of network externalities,
it is virtually impossible for anyone to challenge Microsoft's =
on the PC desktop. The law prohibits Microsoft from engaging in
exclusionary and predatory acts that lead to monopoly or that maintain
an existing monopoly. Since Microsoft has been attempting to exclude
rivals on a basis other than efficiency, it is fair to characterize its
behavior as predatory. Microsoft has engaged in various exclusionary
practices in order to maintain its monopoly or to extend that monopoly
into new markets, primarily the Internet. Microsoft integrated =
Explorer into Windows. Then Microsoft proceeded to give Internet
Explorer away, which amounts to predatory pricing. Companies have been
unsuccessful in selling applications that compete with Microsoft =
Microsoft takes unfair advantage of undisclosed APIs in its operating
systems in order to make Microsoft's applications work better than =
of its rivals. Microsoft uses vapor-ware announcements to freeze out
more nimble competitors already shipping running software.

So now the question is, what do we do about Microsoft? Well, the
Department of Justice was very sly in their answer. They proposed that
Microsoft should ship a copy of Netscape Navigator with every copy of
Windows98. They don't choose to define what an "operating system" is =
isn't, instead they just want Microsoft to level the playing field, or
to at least appear to level the playing field. Regardless of whether
the Department of Justice is successful, we are already witnessing a =
day dawning. Mighty oaks in little fissures grow. With the arrival of
the Java platform, may a thousand flowers bloom ...

Mark Kuharich

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April 27, 1998 Computerworld article, page 21. Microsoft's missteps a
diversion. Microsoft, with some high-profile blue screens and gaffes
added some color to Comdex Spring 98. Bill Gates' demonstration of
Windows 98 "blue-screened" or crashed during his Comdex keynote speech.
Just after Gates' assistant, Chris Capossela, said scanners are the
most-returned peripheral because of linking problems and that new
technology is available to fix that, he plugged one in and blammo, the
system died. In a breakout session on developing applications with
Microsoft's BackOffice, product manager Mike Iem spent 30 minutes =
to get his system to run before people started to walk out. While
talking about how easy BackOffice makes development, Iem got an error
message. Then the heckling began. "I've never seen this before," Iem
said. Someone answered, "Then you're the only one." So Iem took a
second shot at building camaraderie and said, "This is scary." "Yeah,
we know," yelled another heckler. Bill Gates commented on Windows'
error messages. "We were surprised at how many there are and how
cryptic they are." Chevron Corp. IS staffers figure the actual release
date for a Microsoft product. Take the first date and add 18 months.
"Now that's good math," said one engineer.

Rock the vote. From Sm@rtReseller, the results of the Software
Publishers Association election are in, and Microsoft - the SPA's
largest dues payer - isn't uncorking champagne. Of six two-year seats
that were up for election, none went to Microsoft executive vice
president and chief operating officer Bob Herbold. This is bad news =
the company, because during the past few months the SPA has become a
visible leader among the forces advocating that the government take an
active role in controlling Microsoft. In January, the SPA released
publicly a list of eight software principles designed to guarantee free
and fair competition. Many in the industry said the principles are
aimed directly at Microsoft and could be viewed as proposed remedies
that could be adopted by the DOJ. Microsoft had hoped to temper the
anti-Redmond sentiment by gaining a board seat. From 1986 until last
year, Microsoft had held a seat on the SPA board every year, says SPA
president Ken Wasch

Two Economists Say Microsoft Hurting U.S. Economy
WASHINGTON -- Two economists asked by the Department of Justice to
evaluate Microsoft's practices concluded that the company is harming
American society. In declarations filed with the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia on Monday, MIT economist Franklin Fisher
and University of Texas economist David Sibley each asserted that
Microsoft is harming the country's economy with anti-competitive


Justice Department uses Microsoft's own words against it=20
Microsoft executives poring over the U.S. Department of Justice's
antitrust case will see plenty of familiar phrases and comments - and
may wish they could take them back. The Justice Department's filing
includes several internal Microsoft memos, press interview excerpts, =
other comments that prosecutors say show the software giant has tried
ruthlessly to crush Netscape, Sun and its Java programming language, =
other competitors. the Justice Department filing quotes an internal
Microsoft document as saying that the "strategic objective" was to =
cross-platform Java by grow[ing] the polluted Java market." in an
e-mail written by Paul Maritz, group vice president of the platforms =
applications group, who wrote that Microsoft must "blunt" Java's
momentum and "reestablish ActiveX and non-Java approaches ... [to]
protect our core asset Windows - the thing we get paid $'s for.",4,22227,00.html

Sun asks U.S. District Court to require Microsoft to include compatible
Java implementation in Windows98 and its software tools for the Java
programming environment

Microsoft security exploits
This table summarizes a number of bugs and security concerns found in
Microsoft products since the beginning of 1997, particularly in MS
Internet Explorer as it interacts with other operating-system features.
In most cases the discoverer of a vulnerability posted an "exploit" =
to demonstrate the problem

U.S. Suit Says Microsoft Tries to Blunt Java Language's Success
another bitter Microsoft competitor makes a few cameo appearances in =
court papers filed last Monday - Sun Microsystems Inc. Quoting =
Microsoft e-mail messages tinged with profanity and hostile intent, the
Justice Department papers discuss Microsoft's plans for blunting the
success of Sun's Java programming language. These plans, the =
contends, are pertinent to the antitrust case because Java includes
technology that makes it easier for software developers to write
programs that run on a variety of computer systems. This =
capability means that Java technology has the potential to loosen the
grip of Microsoft's Windows operating system -- the technology standard
to which most desktop applications are written today. The Justice
Department argues that Microsoft's tactics in the browser market have
served to deflect the Java threat. This is because Netscape
Communications Corp. incorporates Java technology in its Navigator
browser, so thwarting Netscape in the browser market serves to choke =
Java's main distribution channel. Microsoft also licensed Java from =
in 1996, but later began adding modifications to the code. The
resulting Microsoft version of Java is tailored to run only on Windows,
which negates the cross-platform purpose of Java. Sun has a civil suit
pending against Microsoft on this issue, charging contract violation =
unfair business practices. In the court memorandum, the government
quotes a June 1996 e-mail message sent by Paul Maritz, a Microsoft =
vice president, in which he stated, "No matter what happens, we have to
slow Netscape's ability to drive new protocols or standards down."
Maritz went on to explain that it was "necessary to fundamentally blunt
Java momentum" in order "to protect our core asset Windows." Adding =
own commentary, the Justice Department memo stated, "In short, =
feared and sought to impede the development of network effects that
cross-platform technology like Netscape Navigator and Java might enjoy
and use to challenge Microsoft's monopoly." Referring to another
internal Microsoft planning document, the government memorandum said,
the goal cited under the heading "Strategic Objective" was to "kill
cross-platform Java by growing the polluted Java market." In a
footnote, the memo states, "As used in Microsoft documents, the term
'polluted' appears to refer to Java implementations that can only work
with Windows." A September 1997 e-mail message, sent by a Microsoft
official identified as P. Sridharan, is quoted as saying: "Let's move =
and steal the Java language. That said, have we ever taken a look at =
long it would take Microsoft to build a cross-platform Java that did
work? Naturally, we would never do it, but it would give us some idea =
how much time we have to work with in killing Sun's Java." Lloyd Day
Jr., a partner of Cooley Godward, a Palo Alto, Calif., law firm
representing Sun, said that Microsoft had engaged in a "longstanding
scheme to fragment and hijack the Java technology."=20


Sun Vice President Jim Mitchell says Java Software dreams of an open
market for Java products
Sun Microsystems' newly established Java Software division is poised to
take Java from the technology stage into the products stage of its
evolution. InfoWorld Senior Editor Niall McKay recently spoke with Jim
Mitchell, Java Software vice president of architecture and technology,
about how Java will evolve into Sun products


Talks between Microsoft, Justice Department collapse=20
Negotiations between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice,
designed to forestall a large antitrust lawsuit against the software
giant, broke down Saturday, and were not expected to resume, the
government said. The failure to reach agreement meant that the Justice
Department, as well as up to 20 state attorneys general, likely would
file a broad, coordinated antitrust effort against Microsoft on Monday

from a JavaSoft sales rep about JavaBlend pricing and availability.
Here's what she said
>Here's the Java Blend pricing, there are 2 types of licensing.
>Enterprise Devel and Deploy, 1 Dev Seat $ 2,995
>Enterprise Devel and Deploy, 5 Dev Seat $14,475
>Enterprise Devel and Deploy, 10 Dev Seat $27,950
>ISV Develop-Only, 1 Devel Seat $ 1,495
>Either price could apply to you, since you'd be an Enterprise =
if you used Java Blend for in-house use, or you could be an ISV if you
shipped commercial software with contains Java Blend. Binary
redistribution pricing is still under discussion. We expect it to ship
on 6/7/98. They are taking orders now

Bug holds up IE 4 users=20
Microsoft has acknowledged the presence of a bug that may be related to
three of its Internet software products. The problem occurs in =
Explorer 4.0 browsers that are linked through Microsoft Proxy Server =
to Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0. When trying to
refresh pages that contain Java or Active Server Page (ASP) scripts,
images may be lost and fail to download, according to Microsoft,4,22094,00.html

Microsoft's Dangerous Game of Chicken
What do you think of someone who plays chicken with his automobile? =
about someone who plays chicken with his automobile when it is filled
with friends and family? That's what Microsoft has been doing with its
Windows98 operating system

Microsoft's FrontPage erases hard drives
Calls have been made for Microsoft to deliver on-screen warnings with
its Web design software following the discovery of a bug that can erase
an entire hard drive, write Gavin Clarke and Janice McGinn. US =
researchers Bugnet, which found the bug, called it the most potentially
destructive bug they had encountered in the past five years. If a user
creates a disk-based Web page in the root directory of the hard drive
and later deletes it, FrontPage will delete everything on the drive.
Paul Bailey, sales and marketing director of UK Web developers Discover
IT, called the bug a damn shame. He added: It's pretty unforgivable =
Microsoft not to post a warning box. The Research Group, home of
various user support groups said Microsoft had to make people aware of
the problem with a new on-screen dialogue box. Microsoft denied that
the problem was in fact a bug, and instead labeled it a feature of
FrontPage. Geof Wiley, an ISP employee, had this to say about his
run-in with Microsoft's "Front Page" HTML editor: Microsoft Front Page
98 will allow you to delete entire web directories or whatever you want
to delete. I work for JCN ISP and we had the Microsoft Front Page
extensions installed so users could use Front Page extras. Well those
extras cost us one night. A few nights ago someone deleted all of our
users directories. Luckily we had a backup from earlier that night. I
used a copy of Front Page 98(v3.0.2.96) and it allowed me to click on
the open folder and type in a server name such as and it
would show me the root directory instead of just my directory. I was
then able to delete any and all directories I wanted to. I even =
the FTP logs, it didn't even show that a user was logged in during that
time. We have since taken these extensions off our server. I don't
know who this affects, but you may want to test your Front Page
extension equipped servers to see if this happens to you. Make sure =
have these set up correctly

Janet Reno trades in computer for pencil
Yesterday as her antitrust group waged war against Bill Gates and
Microsoft, US Attorney General Janet Reno at a press conference said =
has stopped using a PC and gone back to
paper and pencil. That's it, let's throw out all this stuff out and go
back and give Gary Kildall (RIP) a second chance to move CPM to the IBM

UPDATE: Why the MS-DOJ Talks Collapsed - And What Comes Next
Microsoft broke off talks with the government this weekend. In doing
so, it got into more trouble than it realizes

We have learned that Microsoft recently has signed agreements with some
of their customers
which require those customers to use nobody else's Java machine other
than Microsoft's," Baratz said. He pointed to guidelines on =
web site that state that in order to qualify for a Win32 logo, "a Java
application, when running on a Windows PC, must use and redistribute =
Microsoft Win32 virtual machine
Q: But don't you require Java applications to work with and ship the
Microsoft VM(Virtual Machine)? Why?
A: Yes. In order to carry the Windows Logo, we require that an
application written in Java function properly with the Microsoft Java =

From: Peter Gutmann <>
The MS CryptoAPI mailing list recently carried an example of how an
actual "You are now in France" attack might work. It turns out that if
you switch the system-wide locale of an NT system to French, the
encryption functionality of CryptoAPI disables itself (signing and
hashing still works). Conversely, switching the locale from French to
something French-related (Belgian, Swiss, or Canadian French) reenables
the crypto. Since NT allows per-thread locales, it'd be interesting to
see if you can selectively enable/disable the crypto for a particular
application without needing to change your system-wide locale setting
(set the system locale to French Canadian, then set the thread locale =
French so you get the UI acting as "French" French but the crypto =
as Canadian French).