Microsoft?s share price fell as much as 2.6 per cent in mid-afternoon trading yesterday over concern about potential delays to version 5.0 of Windows NT, while pressure on the software giant continued to mount after it emerged that AT&T was filing a lawsuit against it.
The stock fell 1 < per cent to 106 3/16 and at one point slumped as low as 104 5/8 on the news that shipment of NT 5.0 was likely to have slipped again till the second quarter of next year (see Newswire 29 June).
But, the situation was made even bleaker by AT&T?s decision to file suit against the software supplier for allegedly reneging on a contract to provide it with NT code.,p> According to US reports, the suit, filed in a New Jersey Federal Court last October, states that the two vendors signed a deal in March 1991, enabling AT&T to use Lan Manager source code as the basis for developing a Unix version of the offering. Three years later, the agreement was expanded to cover current and future versions of NT source code, so that AT&T could build NT Advanced Server for Unix Systems.
An AT&T spokesman said: "We are seeking access to sourcecode for Windows NT Server 5.0 as well as unspecified damages. Microsoft has not delivered to us the sourcecode and the contract obligated them to do so."
He alleged that Microsoft had delivered the NT 5.0 code late in March 1997 and asked for it to be returned a couple of months later.
But, a Microsoft spokesman denied the software supplier was in breach of contract. "We fully complied with the contract with AT&T and now it appears they are trying to rewrite the contract years later," he said.
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