Microsoft?s attempts to defend itself against Department of Justice (DoJ) antitrust investigations suffered a heavy blow when Compaq, Gateway and Micron filed depositions showing they were pressured by the software giant.
According to Stephen Decker, director of software procurement at Compaq US, Microsoft threatened to end Compaq?s licence to install Windows 95 unless it placed the Internet Explorer logo on desktops.
Decker said that Compaq already had an agreement with Netscape and wanted to put its logo on the screens but Microsoft sent it a memo called 'Notice of Intent to Terminate Licence Agreement' last summer and demanded that in a spirit of reinstating mutual cooperation and trust, Compaq had to put back the IE and the Microsoft Network logos on its pre-installed machines.
Compaq capitulated because of the threat and two weeks later Microsoft withdrew the threats.
A Gateway 2000 executive, James Joseph Von Holle, said in his deposition that Microsoft used the threat of not renewing its Windows 95 licence to give it a better deal on Office software and the Microsoft Mouse. He told the DoJ that before Microsoft started any contract negotiations with it, it negotiated these other details.
Micron Technologies also testified to the DoJ that it was threatened with the pulling of its Win 95 licence if it attempted to remove the IE 3.0 icon.
Last week, Bill Gates, Microsoft?s CEO, said: ?It would be a great disservice to our customers if Microsoft did not enhance Windows with Internet-related features.?
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