A new batch of potentially embarrassing Microsoft email was released this week as a court document filed by Caldera in its lawsuit against the software giant was unsealed.
The email extracts pertain to Microsoft?s competitive practices in the operating system (OS) market of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In one, which dated back to 1989, Bill Gates, Microsoft?s chairman and chief executive, wrote to Steve Ballmer, the firm?s current president: "Our Dos gold mine is shrinking and our costs are soaring ? primarily due to low prices, IBM share and DR-Dos?I believe people underestimate the impact DR-Dos has had on us in terms of pricing."
Caldera acquired DR-Dos, an MS-Dos compatible OS, from Novell in 1996, and in a private antitrust case filed the same year, claimed that Microsoft competed unfairly against its purchase.
Another email extract shows Microsoft?s alleged attempts to reaffirm its hold on the OS market by signing socalled "per processor" license deals with PC manufacturers.
Big Green agreed to terminate this licensing practice in 1994 as a part of the Consent Decree it signed with the US Department of Justice.
But Microsoft attested that the Gates? email in fact proved its innocence.
"If Microsoft had such a strong monopoly as Caldera is claiming, then why would we be so worried about DR-Dos. I think it?s really much ado about nothing. All the documents [in the Caldera case] were reviewed by the Government in the early 90s, and the Government decided that no action was needed," a spokesman said.
But Steve Hill, lead counsel for one of Caldera?s law firms, disputed such a claim. He alleged that Caldera had now assembled documents that the Government did not see when it settled its case with Microsoft.
He also claimed that the extracts published this week were just "the tip of the iceberg," and that other documents still under seal would prove Microsoft illegally tied MS-Dos to the Windows graphical interface, so effectively shutting DR-Dos out of the market.
While Microsoft had labelled most of the documents pertaining to the case as "confidential" which meant they had since been kept under seal, two US newspapers and the Bloomberg newswire service have now filed a motion to unseal them.
But Hill said there was more to come. Next week, Caldera intends to file a reply to nine motions of summary judgement from Microsoft and it has hinted that the 200 page document will contain many more compromising email extracts. While it will be filed under seal, Caldera hopes the Judge will decide to unseal it.
The Caldera trial, which has been delayed repeatedly, is now scheduled to start on 17 January, 2000.
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