Jim Allchin, Microsoft?s senior vice president for personal and business systems, has defended the company?s decision to integrate its browser technology into Windows in his written testimony released today.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged in its antitrust case filed against the software giant last May that Big Green bundled the Internet Explorer (IE) browser into its Windows operating system (OS) to drive Netscape out of business.
In his 130-page testimony, which was posted on Microsoft?s Web site, Allchin provides the most detailed account so far of how, when, and why Microsoft decided to integrate IE into the OS.
He said: "When Netscape was little more than a gleam in the eyes of its founders, Microsoft had already decided that future versions of its operating system software should include Web browsing capabilities and that those capabilities should be unified with other information viewing resources."
He goes on to provide a detailed timeline. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft?s current president, suggested in December 1993 that Windows 95 - then codenamed Chicago - should be positioned as "the greatest front-end to the Internet".
The idea of providing a common way of viewing data on local disks and the Web then surfaced in an email from Microsoft executive, Tom Evslin, dated 13 January, 1994.
Evslin wrote that Windows 95 should provide a common view of information, regardless of whether it was located "on a local disk, on the Internet, in [Microsoft Exchange], on [Lotus] Notes, in [MSN] or on some other information provider".
In April 1994, Microsoft?s Brad Silverberg gave Bill Gates, the software giant?s president and chief executive, a presentation on the firm?s three year plan for personal Oss, and one slide included the caption, "Integrated Net Browsing in Explorer". Allchin further noted that Netscape was incorporated in April 1994.
Email messages from the latter part of that year show Microsoft executives, including Brad Silverberg, Paul Maritz, Microsoft?s vice president of platforms and applications, and Bill Gates himself, kicking around ideas on how to integrate browsing into Windows.
An email from Maritz, dated 11 November, 1994, noted that Windows 95 "will ship a standard initial access and browsing package".
But Allchin?s testimony also included a mockup by Microsoft employee, Chris Brown, dating from before February 1995, which showed a version of IE for Windows 95 displaying HTML information. The mockup strongly resembled the integrated version of IE that is found in Windows 98.
Allchin also criticised the testimony of two government experts, David Farber and Edward Felten, and particularly focused on Felten?s demonstration of how IE could be removed from Windows 98.
"My hand can be surgically removed from my body, but it was certainly a well integrated part of my body before that surgery", he claimed, arguing that Felten?s deinstallation program caused Windows 98 to malfunction.
As a result, Allchin attested that Microsoft owed its success in the desktop OS market not to illegal practices, but to its efforts at pandering to the needs of software developers.
"IBM?s OS/2 and Apple?s Rhapsody failed, not because of any actions taken by Microsoft, but because those companies made fatal mistakes in both the design of their products and in their relationships with developers," he said.
Allchin will take the stand to be cross examined by DoJ lawyers as soon as Paul Maritz finishes his live testimony.
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