Microsoft has responded to a 40-page white paper by the Software Publishers Association (SPA), which outlines the software giant?s alleged monopolistic practices in the server market, even before the document has been published.
The white paper is expected to be approved by the SPA board at noon today Pacific time and will subsequently be mailed to Joel Klein, the US assistant attorney general, and the 20 state attorneys general, who filed a joint complaint in May regarding Microsoft?s alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
But, Microsoft is obviously worried enough about the document to issue a rebuttal even before it is released. It has already posted a 10-page white paper of its own on Windows NT to its Web site, dubbed 'Windows NT: boosting competition in enterprise computing" to try and counter the SPA?s arguments.
This outlines why Microsoft reckons NT is making inroads against Unix and compares the amount and type of feature integration it is doing in relation to its Unix rivals.
Robert Herbold, Microsoft chief operating officer, has also issued a letter to Den Wasch, SPA president, expressing his "concern and disappointment at the SPA?s increasing involvement in the anti-Microsoft campaign currently being waged in Washington DC by Microsoft?s competitors."
"It is difficult to understand how this pattern of behaviour is consistent with the SPA?s goals to 'promote and strengthen' the industry. Your activities in recent months seems to have accomplished just the opposite, dividing the industry and preventing the organisation from focusing on issues important to the broad membership such as intellectual property protection, piracy and encryption," he said.
Herbold further complained about the "troubling" timing of the white paper and claimed the SPA released it to the press prior to a vote by its board - an issue denied by David Phelps, a director at SPA.
He also alleged that the public release of the document was scheduled to coincide with the formal acceptance of Sun as a member of the body - a point further denied by Phelps, who attested that Sun had joined in February and had no influence on the white paper at all.
Phelps added that the aim of the document was "to insure healthy and vigorous debate in the industry in the next area of concern - the back office market", and while Microsoft had opposed the organisation in releasing it, "we have worked with them on it and sent a draft copy to them and other members of our government committee ten days ago. They said it was full of factual errors, but they wouldn?t say what in particular."
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