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Bill Gates Takes the Stand In WordPerfect Trial

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the apparently-some-people-still-care-about-wordperfect dept.

Businesses 472

Hugh Pickens writes "Remember WorldPerfect? Bill Gates took the witness stand to defend his company against a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit that claims Microsoft duped Novell into thinking he would include WordPerfect in the new Windows system, then backed out because he feared it was too good. Gates testified Monday that Microsoft was racing to put out Windows 95 when he dropped technical features that would no longer support the rival's word processor. He said that in making the decision about the code, he was concerned not about Novell but about one element of the program that could have caused computers to crash. That code, technically known as 'name space extensions,' had to do with the display of folders and files. Novell attorney Jeff Johnson concedes that Microsoft was under no legal obligation to provide advance access to Windows 95 so Novell could prepare a compatible version but contends that Microsoft enticed Novell to work on a version, only to withdraw support months before Windows 95 hit the market. 'We got stabbed in the back.'"

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472 comments

Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147392)

http://groklaw.net/ [groklaw.net] ; tends to give better in depth coverage with fewer misunderstandings than most other observers of this lawsuit.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0, Flamebait)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147414)

Personally, I think Gates has a really good point here. Remember all those old OSs? They crashed a lot. Even Linux. Gates wanted to take out some of that.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147510)

You're comparing Windows 95 to Linux distros of the same era?

Windows 95 was infamous for crashing at least daily, I knew plenty of fairly knowledgeable people who took pride in being able to keep it running for a week. While it was, in theory, capable of multitasking the truth was that very few users would gamble with multitasking under Win9x (except for things like running an IRC client, an MP3 player and a web browser at the same time). Why? Because it crashed fast and hard for seemingly no reason (a single program crashing often brought the whole system down in various fun ways, the common pattern being that a program crashed and you scrambled to save everything you were using in other programs, with alternate filenames of course, just in case the crashing program had corrupted something, within a minute or two the system would bluescreen as you did something like click the Start menu button).

By comparison Linux at the time was rock solid. Yes, both Windows and Linux are more stable than the Linux distros of that time but even Red Hat 4.x and Slackware 3.x were more stable than the average desktop machine is these days.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Funny)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147632)

Wasn't there a Windows95 bug that would 100% crash the OS after 46 days? And it took years to find this bug because usually the OS would crash much much earlier...

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147722)

There was a counter that crashed the system on overflow, but I am not sure on the time it took nor which windows was affected.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Informative)

Arrow_Raider (1157283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147932)

Wasn't there a Windows95 bug that would 100% crash the OS after 46 days? And it took years to find this bug because usually the OS would crash much much earlier...

49.7 days. Affected Windows 95 and 98. http://news.cnet.com/Windows-may-crash-after-49.7-days/2100-1040_3-222391.html [cnet.com]

In fact, this was the reason I started using Linux (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147928)

My first Linux was not for coding or server or e-penis, it was to keep the fucking music playing while Windows did one of its routine crashes. The crashes I had learned to live with but the music constantly interrupting because of it I had not.

Then I learned of course that on Linux you could keep a browser open. Just open. You know, open. Where you left it and come back to it and not found the system had crashes and lost all your search history.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147974)

bullshit. this is the same group of amerifats that keep 200 firefox tabs open and complain when the system starts swapping.

computers aren't like a hummer H2.. or a dump truck!

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148048)

If they had put another 8MB in that shit would have worked. Too cheap to buy 2M sticks.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

krinderlin (1212738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148094)

Need sarcasm or "I'm actually serious" punctuation, please. :-P

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (4, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148026)

Wow. Just wow.

"very few users would gamble with multitasking under Win9x (except for things like running an IRC client, an MP3 player and a web browser at the same time). "

Sounds like actual, genuine multitasking to me. And hitting one of the soft spots, the TCP stack, pretty hard. Browsers of that era weren't much to write home about and were by themselves crash-worthy. MP3 players then were pus. mIRC was tolerable.

Just as a note, I weas running W4W 3.11, dialing into a local ISP and hitting my AOL account via TCP/IP pretty much every night. It would crash every 2-3 hours. Trumpet Winsock was all there was. Then I bought the Win95 upgrade (and a full version for a second machine running Slackware 0.9 at the time). the full version was entirely normal, but the upgrade ran without rebooting until the first patch came out, something about DUN I think. I know of no other machine that did that, not even any of my others. Scary. I was pained to reboot it, and it never ran more than a week after that. One theory was that some modules from the upgrade stayed in memory and I was running a transitional W4W driver somewhere, but that's insane.

Gates' claim that they wanted to clean up 95 and that meant leaving out file naming stuff that WP relied upon, though, is disingenuous and a lie. The same APIs were used heavily by Novell for their NetWare client in W4W, and that was a target - MS was dedicated to crushing the NetWare client. Novell kept coming back, but finally succumbed. And discussion about Gates' requirement to make APIs available to all is a lie also - it may have been a legal requirement, but it was ignored, and the Word team took full advantage of their insider access to Windows APIs. Isn't this settled fact, and one of the foundations of the now dying Justice consent decree/antitrust judgement? Really? We still discuss this?

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147532)

I dont remember Linux crashing.

I do remember X crashing and Samba Crashing as well as other apps crashing, I dont remember any instances where the Core Kernel Crashed. I had linux as the core of a ISP from 1994-1999 and never had it crash on me outside of apps crashing and consuming memory.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147642)

Last time I got a Kernel Panic was with 0.99.11.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147776)

I guess that happens if you have no experience with Nvidia's and ATI's horrible kernel drivers. Or those winmodem drivers that could make a Linux users day a living hell way back then.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148178)

I've had a fair share of crashes but usually due to hardware failures. I think I have had perhaps 2 or 3 panics that could not be accounted for through flakey hardware.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147636)

The sad part is that sometimes I think you do actually believe what you're saying. If you do, you just have no idea of Microsoft's history.

We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger."
-Former Microsoft VP James Allchin in a 09-9-91 e-mail (as revealed in Caldera v. Microsoft)

"This really isn't that hard. If you're going to kill someone there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the trigger. Angry discussions before hand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger." -Former Microsoft VP James Allchin in a 09-9-91 e-mail (as revealed in Caldera v. Microsoft)

"It is Microsoft's corporate practice to pressure other firms to halt software development that either shows the potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry or competes directly with Microsoft's most cherished software products."
-Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the Microsoft antitrust trial

"Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products. ... The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest."
-Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the Microsoft antitrust trial

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147968)

So? What's your point?

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1, Informative)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148218)

Boo fucking Hoo.

Let me put this in a way most people these days seem to understand.

"I want to fucking kill andrioid, I will make sure its dead".
-- Steve Jobs

Oh, suddenly thats ok, but microsoft as a company discussing destroying another company isn't?

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148294)

I'm serious with the following question: How is this any different than what Apple does?

Apple gets a way with it. They smile and pull the trigger, they don't get angry they just tell you that your product that you wrote conflicts with there own and refuses you to publish it.

Nah, Linux was pretty stable at that time. (0)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147648)

I worked for a consulting firm during my time in College, and I ran Linux to complete my programming projects from home.

I supported Windows 95 for many years while personally running Red Hat 3 and 4 on my personal machine. Yes, Red Hat's GUI wasn't very good, and making sound cards work was an exercise in patience, but it never blew up like Windows 95 did.

I remember many guys that would stubbornly hold on to DOS, and one huge reason was the lack of stability in Windows 95.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147656)

Yeah, sure.... MS-DOS did crash less than Linux and and NT was just something what any Unix OS could only dream on.

All MS-DOS versions (1.0 - Windows ME) have been terrible on most people.
At least it was good way to throw away MS-DOS after Windows ME and stick on NT operating system what we can enjoy using even today with Windows 7 and in next Windows.

Now think about MS-DOS line how stable it was when Windows 95 (a) came? BSOD few times a week, if not every day. It was pathetic.
Word Perfect would not have made situation worse at all, even after Windows 95c

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1, Flamebait)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147664)

The only Linux crashes I remember from that time are when I misspecified memory sizes on the kernel commandline. Otherwise rock-solid. It was clear back then that in comparison Windows will continue to suck. And it does. Even Win7 is a sorry excuse for an OS where it counts: Reliability, Security, Performance, Simplicity and the tool-set it comes with.

Not even really suitable as a toy. And we are not talking VHS vs. BETAMAX here. VHS was at least halfway decent. Windows is not. The hours I have wasted on this piece of trash are incredible. For example, as it ages a bit, Win7 now crashes about as often as XP did before. Fixing things requires the most obscure procedures that are not even logical after you have discovered them. Compared to Win7, a full-fledged modern Linux is simple, clear and easy to administrate. Which it is decidedly not in absolute terms. But whenever you fix something on Linux, you learn something. With Win7 you do not. Except that its designers are morons. And with Linux, things stay fixed. Again, with Windows they do not. I would have long ago moved away if I weren't a gamer.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147836)

What are you talking about? Gnome 3 and KDE 4.x were huge steps back. Windows 7 is a huge step forward from Vista.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147998)

What are you talking about? Gnome 3 and KDE 4.x were huge steps back. Windows 7 is a huge step forward from Vista.

As much as it pains me to admit it, you're right (at least on Gnome - I haven't really used KDE much since the 2.x days). On Gnome 2 my system was running absolutely beautifully ever since early 2009 (which was when I basically transitioned to full-time Linux usage - I'd been dual-booting and using it off and on since 1998). Everything worked exactly as it should - aside from maybe getting some native game ports and a native iTunes, there's literally nothing that my system needed to do differently. Then somebody felt the need to "innovate". Everythings borked now. In Ubuntu 11.10 Unity is a disaster. Gnome 3 isn't even usable for me. Even if you install the Gnome fallback "classic" mode its gotten glitchy compared to the last release (flickering icons, slowdowns, problems with compositing - it almost feels like they sabotaged the classic mode as it's not working like it used to). Right now I'm doing my best to cobble together a usable XFCE setup, which is the lesser of many evils. It's not working exactly how I want but at least it feels like XFCE is working with the users rather than intentionally trying to piss them off.

Right now I'm anxiously awaiting Linux Mint 12. With their efforts to fix Gnome3 and support of MATE (Gnome 2 fork), they seem to be taking user concerns seriously, rather than Ubuntu and Gnome who are in a screaming match with the entire user base claiming that the users just don't really know what they want. Interestingly enough, if you check Distrowatch, Mint has unsurprisingly surpassed Ubuntu as the leader in page hits for the last 6 months. If you narrow that down to shorter time frames (like last 30 days), Ubuntu has fallen from #2 down several spots, with Mint in the #1 spot by a wide margin.

It's like Canonical is shooting itself in the foot while screaming how great it feels.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148298)

What's with the unity sucks bandwagon? I've been running it since debut and I'm perfectly ok with it. No crashes, easy to use, only slightly annoying, which, I can say is still better than windows.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147860)

I don't know what you're doing to your machine but I've been running 7 for over a year and I have yet to see it crash. I used XP for about 9 years on multiple PCs and had a system lock up on me maybe two or 3 times.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148340)

Windows 7 comes with an excellent tool set, you just have to learn to use it. Perhaps you should actually ya know, LOOK at all the tools available, and take some time to learn about Power Shell, I've written scripts with it that I was positive I would have to use Perl for prior to reading up on Power Shell. The ability to call .Net classes, WMI, Remote Machine manipulation, log viewin/parsing, CSV manipulation (include import/export), not to mention the ability to extend Powershell with custom cmdlets you've either written or downloaded to simplify things, there's even a Log4j written for Power Shell, ya know, just in case you don't want to write you're own logging function....

That said, aside from powershell, you have the standard tool set, better users/directory security than XP, can't forget XP Mode (you know, an actual licensed XP VM at no extra charge that a free download as part of 7 professional) just in case you absolutely must have one of the handful of apps (or numerous games) not updated to support the Windows 7 API/Security Model. Plus the compatibility with existing .bat/.cmd/.vbs files

As someone that administers server 2003, 2008, and some Solaris boxes, please, fill me on what's so difficult about windows 7? Group Policy pretty much takes the hard part out, if you're talking about locking down the Servers (i.e., NOT 7) maybe you should consider looking at Security templates, build once then import as needed saves TONS of time.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147952)

Yes, I do remember those old OS's. I stayed away far away from Windows and never could understand why anyone would want to use it.

Back then I was using OS/2 and loved its rock-solid multitasking. I could even use WordPerfect in a DOS box and run other things at the same time and never worry about crashing.

WordPerfect v6 for DOS was, in my opinion, just *perfect* in its user interface. Damn, I hated Microsoft! They bulldozed OS/2 and they bulldozed WordPerfect.

I use Linux now and keep wishing for Microsoft to die.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148192)

Not to mention Novell seems to have an awfully short memory on how long it took MS Office to gain traction. Remember folks we are talking OFFICE software, offices tend to be pretty damned conservative and don't just change software willy nilly. Hell look at how many corps are still running XP even though its two versions behind!

Well I was working corp and SMB at that time and I can tell you MS Office really didn't start to gain any great traction until Office 97 and didn't cement their place until Office 2K/XP in 200/01 respectively. The reason WP bombed was because like MANY software companies at the time they tried to put out not a Windows program but a DOS program with an updated GUI to look like a Windows program. Remember that there was a BIG difference here folks, DOS is a 16 bit single tasking OS whereas Windows 95 was a 16/32 bit hybrid OS with multitasking and Win98 was a 32bit OS with some legacy 16 bit and a DOS bootloader. I can tell you those companies that tried to put out DOS programs with only a GUI makeover ended up with misbehaving piles of shit because they expected to be the only thing running and thus could stomp all over the memory and that just didn't work with Windows. if you did that you got a HELL of a lot of crashes and hangs!

So they had a solid TWO YEARS which is like a decade in software years to make a new version and IIRC they didn't put out a truly solid Windows version until almost 2001, which by then nobody gave a shit. I had customers that tried to hang onto WP but it simply was too buggy in a Windows environment compared to DOS so when office 97 came along and everyone talked about how it didn't crap itself and die like WP they reluctantly switched. hell last I heard the law firms are STILL on WP, that bunch is so conservative that it'll probably be another decade before anybody starts using MS Office. I know that when i quit doing corp in 05 the law offices were hanging onto WP and I saw no signs it was going anywhere.

TL:DR? Novell had PLENTY of time to come out with a new product but instead hung onto the old code for too long and by the time they saw the train it ran them over.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147456)

Not really. Groklaw doesn't seem to say much about exactly what the APIs in question were. Like TFA, it just nebulously mentions 'name space extensions', which were supported by Windows 95 and NT4. They're also a pretty unimportant thing for a word processor. Why does a word processor need to add something that is effectively a virtual filesystem?

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (4, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147548)

It's worth reading through much more on Groklaw; this article [groklaw.net] explains that they were shell extension namespace APIs which made URL integration possible. It's pretty obvious that if WWW integration is a major new feature relied on throughout your code and Microsoft has promised to implement a large part of it, when they hide those APIs so that partners can't use them it's going to be a big problem.

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147820)

Nothing as filesystem is job of the operating system, not at all any of the programs or libraries.
Even FUSE for Linux does not belong to operating system as it is user space (as Linux is monolithic operating system, it matters, but situation would be different with server-client architectured OS)

Re:Groklaw has a pretty good article. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148018)

The part I don't understand is why this is being litigated today. Shouldn't this have happened 15 years ago?

Remember WordPerfect? ha! (4, Funny)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147402)

Remember WordPerfect? Hell, I'm still using it. I still have an old Toshiba laptop that runs FreeDos and WordPerfect v5.1

Now, get off my lawn you whippersnappers while me and Bill Gates reminisce about the old days

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (5, Funny)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147506)

Is "reminisce" a euphemism for punch in the face?

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147922)

yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147624)

Funny thing is, even in the WordPerfect 5.1 days, your Macintosh and UNIX workstation friends thought you were using a kludgy unintuitive pile of crap. I don't know why you'd keep it around some 20+ years later.

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147798)

Funny thing is, even in the WordPerfect 5.1 days, your Macintosh and UNIX workstation friends thought you were using a kludgy unintuitive pile of crap. I don't know why you'd keep it around some 20+ years later.

Actually, the first Unix system I admin'd was a Novell UnixWare 1.1N machine (a 486DX2/66 with 32MB RAM and a 2GB SCSI drive) with WordPerfect 5.x installed and used by students on VT220 terminals. That was 1995...

I still use WordPerfect 12 on a Mac via Wine, and miss WordPerfect 8 under Linux. A lot of legal documents are still done in WordPerfect, and it makes many things much easier than in Word still to this day (tables of authorities for instance).

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147842)

You're lucky. I didn't use WordPerfect, but used Multimate instead. Now, I have a bunch of Multimate documents that can't be converted into Word or OpenDocument formats.

Re:Remember WordPerfect? ha! (1)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147936)

Didn't Multimate support exporting to RTF (at least DOS RTF)?

Remember Wordperfect? (0)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147406)

I still use Wordperfect, you insensitive clod!

Re:Remember Wordperfect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147630)

I still use Wordperfect, you insensitive clod!

but you don't write about ford prefect with it..

Re:Remember Wordperfect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147846)

In Soviwt Russia Wordperfect still uses 1!

Wrong summary!!! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147424)

"into thinking he would include WordPerfect in the new Windows system" This is WRONG! Novell thought Windows would include some (4) APIs about "name space extensions".

Re:Wrong summary!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147542)

There is a list of defunct companies as long as the dictionary who thought they could trust Microsoft. Even the ones who profit in the short-term eventually discover that their product is now a free feature of the next version of $MicrosoftProductName$.

Re:Wrong summary!!! (4, Insightful)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147986)

Right, because the success of Word Perfect entirely hinged on being able to do something funky in file open dialog instead of using the standard OpenFile dialog, with the customization support everyone uses!! Adobe, Core, Autodesk, no one else had this problem. That wasn't at all a fundamental function of a word processor AND when you develop on a beta operating system you CAN expect things to change before it ships.

Novell is killing babies now? (5, Funny)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147430)

Bill Gates is spending his time and money these days looking for a cure for malaria and other diseases. Taking time away from that to testify in this case = more dead babies. Novell is killing babies.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147482)

He's saving babies now? I thought he was just developing the intellectual property required to save babies.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147544)

He's just trying to swing the karma bar from "scourage of the wasteland" to something more on the good side of the neutral line.

All old rich guys do this. They do really nasty evil things to get rich and then spend a little of their trillions trying to buy back their soul.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147754)

Steve Jobs didn't seem to do that :p If he did, nobody found out about it. I find it hard to believe that nobody would find out if he did though.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147858)

Even worse, he still didn't give a shit after he got rich.

Steve Jobs' philanthropy / good deeds (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147950)

Steve Jobs did found the Steven P. Jobs Foundation shortly after being forced out of Apple, but it went away when he chose to focus on NeXT instead.

More importantly, he did get California's DMV to force the question of organ donation, hugely increasing the number of potential donors, something which is saving lots of lives and making many more better and longer.

I don't see that his personal income tax statements were public, so no idea on how much he personally donated.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147960)

Jobs wasn't old.

WOW, the bar for nasty evil must be real low (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147810)

because I can think of hundreds of people rich or not who would be more in line for such a description of their activities, trouble is most are politicians and the like who apparently always get off free.

Frankly if Gates was nasty evil then Satan was a choir boy.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147612)

Nope, he's licensing the IP required to save babies and 'giving' the short-term temporary use of it to countries that agree to sign one-sided IP protection treaties with the USA.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147550)

Bill Gates is spending his time and money these days looking for a cure for malaria and other diseases. Taking time away from that to testify in this case = more dead babies. Novell is killing babies.

And lining up the lawyers to prevent other people from saving babies without paying him patent rights.

Re:Novell is killing babies now? (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147674)

BG is trying (and failing) to make up for all the evil he did. Not Novells fault.

Real reason he bought WordPerfect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147444)

At the very least, he wanted to use the name for his shiny new word processing software. But when they found the very first Word macro virus in the wild, they had a change of plans.

So many lawyers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147498)

So much money spent on so much legal representation when it makes so little difference. Who cares if one company duped another? Thats business, and it clearly was not intentional, so even if there was a law that says "changing your mind within pre-agreed legally defined parameters is against the law if such action could be classed as: dickettry" then it would still be moot since it was never intentional dickettry.

Re:So many lawyers (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147594)

I'd save the "clearly not intentional" until after the court's findings. I most certainly wouldn't put it past them, especially not back then.

This was vintage Gates (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147514)

This is what Microsoft was throughout the late '80s and entire '90s. People today look at Gates and see a great man donating billions to help starving people in Africa. Yes, he is that, but remember how he made those billions. He made them by crushing the rest of the PC software industry using heavy-handed, often blatantly illegal means, from his perch as CEO of a monopoly.

Gates is the modern day John D Rockefeller or Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Re:This was vintage Gates (3, Insightful)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147962)

Yep. Read Jerry Kaplan's book _StartUp_ for another side of this story.

How could this have sunk WordPerfect? (3, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147528)

Namespace extensions are things that let you mess with Windows Explorer and add your own contextual menus and folder layout. How could that sink a word processor? From the user's point of view, are they really not going to buy the word processor because they can't initiate feature X from explorer? I don't even know of any word processor that even has a feature like that, and it's been 15 years since Windows 95 came out.

I don't doubt that MS over-promised on what features the OS would deliver, given that they've done that with every OS release I can recall, but to say that they shelved a viable feature to sink Novell, and that it was actually the cause of Novell going under is a real stretch.

Re:How could this have sunk WordPerfect? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148240)

"I don't doubt that MS over-promised on what features the OS would deliver, given that they've done that with every OS release I can recall, but to say that they shelved a viable feature to sink Novell, and that it was actually the cause of Novell going under is a real stretch."

Well, at least one federal judge stretched that way. Go back up a few posts and read.

worLd perfect ? (0)

alexhs (877055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147536)

Remember WorldPerfect?

Sorry I haven't read that book by Rabbi Ken Spiro yet, and don't intend to read it.

AP claim (repeated in summary) is confusing (2)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147560)

"The company said Gates duped it into thinking he would include its WordPerfect writing program in the new Windows system then backed out because he feared it was too good."

The whole story seems to be about the namespace extensions thing. So where is Novell claiming that MS agreed to bundle WordPerfect with Windows?

Re:AP claim (repeated in summary) is confusing (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147652)

TFS is a bit confusing. Mind you, Novell claiming that the inability to make clicky hyperlinks caused them to spend a year rewriting their open file dialog (seriously, WTF?) and cost them 40% of their sales is also a bit... interesting.

Re:AP claim (repeated in summary) is confusing (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147676)

they claim that the namespace extension thing was means to that end, apparently.

but WHAT THE FUCK? the namespace extensions thing doesn't really make any sense as a real reason for word perfect to be lagging from win95 release.. eh.. just rewrite the save and load dialogs? wtf were they doing at novell?

Re:AP claim (repeated in summary) is confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147904)

just rewrite the save and load dialogs

Actually, the word possessor was built around that dialog. It could spell check file names, different paragraphs were different files, and you could print your whole file system.

It would have been revolutionary. But MS screwed it up!

Similarities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147566)

There are some differences due MS having it's own competitor. However isn't this quite similar to the sitaution where Adobe's CS4 suite was 32-Bit on the Mac due to Carbon 64-Bit being stripped from Leopard?

Re:Similarities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147616)

It would be the same if, instead of putting out an okay 32-bit product that people still used, Adobe had released a piece of shit that everybody hated and then blamed it entirely on the lack of 64-bit support. Except even then it wouldn't be the same as there's a much more significant technical case to be made against 32/64-bit than there is "My word processor sucks because I can't have custom pseudo-folders & icons on context menus!"

Why Anti-trust and not breach of contract? (2)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147588)

I'm curious as to why this is not a contract dispute? I can only assume it is because no contract existed. If they had a contract with Microsoft that stated what the interface was supposed to be then they would be in violation of contract. If there was no contract and MS was just building an OS and told them the interface would be and then decided not to include it or change it there is no case.

Wordperfect did one thing every program should do. (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147598)

Show codes.

When you ran into trouble with the way your document was displaying, you could hit show codes and edit the paired tags (a lot like HTML).

No program should ever hide your data so that you cannot directly edit it when the "interpretive" parts of the program guess incorrectly about what you want.

The first and foremost abuse of this is web-based comment fields with little mini-GUIs to help you format your text. When the system "guesses" the wrong bullet point, or line spacing, etc. you can fix the problem in three seconds with a show codes option.

Sadly, many programs and web sites do not do this. They think it's too complicated for their users. While this may be true of the 90%, it's not true for the rest, and they're slowing us down with the simpleton interface.

Grrr.

Re:Wordperfect did one thing every program should (4, Funny)

Jay L (74152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147734)

No.. all programs and web sites do this.

It's called a hex editor.

Now, that may be too complicated for 90% of the techies, but it's not true for the rest of us, and you're slowing us down with the simpleton demands for ASCII-editable interfaces.

Upping the ante? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147918)

If you're upping the ante anyway, go butterflies [xkcd.com] .
Now Ctrl-Alt-GetOffMyLawn.

Re:Wordperfect did one thing every program should (2)

LandoCalrizzian (887264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147900)

Show codes.

When you ran into trouble with the way your document was displaying, you could hit show codes and edit the paired tags (a lot like HTML).

No program should ever hide your data so that you cannot directly edit it when the "interpretive" parts of the program guess incorrectly about what you want.

The first and foremost abuse of this is web-based comment fields with little mini-GUIs to help you format your text. When the system "guesses" the wrong bullet point, or line spacing, etc. you can fix the problem in three seconds with a show codes option.

Sadly, many programs and web sites do not do this. They think it's too complicated for their users. While this may be true of the 90%, it's not true for the rest, and they're slowing us down with the simpleton interface.

Grrr.

I agree with you that Reveal Codes is a extremely helpful feature that is or should be standard on almost all current WordProcessing software. As someone who supports the 90% and 10% of WordPerfect Reveal Codes users, I can safely assume that this feature was not born out of innovation but necessity. I've been "fortunate" to support users using WordPerfect since WP8 and it is a notoriously buggy program that has trouble handling WP codes present in documents from older versions hence the birth of reveal codes. At best Reveal Codes is a great feature to find a bad code present in page 2 that crashes a document whenever you scroll past page 9 but that doesn't mean that it wasn't a "hack" created by the programmers that made it into production as a feature.

Re:Wordperfect did one thing every program should (1)

dominator (61418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147902)

So, go use LaTeX then.

F2 for Search (1)

mcn (112855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147626)

I can still (vaguely) remember the keystrokes for search, indent, blocking (selecting), copying, pasting, etc... for WP5.1 on DOS.. That was the best word processor I have ever used... I have a difficult time doing indents in Word even today.... Sadly, WP's user base for it has shrunk since Windows took over DOS.... I missed the Reveal Codes badly.. That's the feature that no other word processing software is able to replicate...

Re:F2 for Search (1)

nemoid (1976020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147698)

Agreed -- WordPerfect was (and arguably still is) better than Word. I hate Word with a passion. Getting consistent indenting with lists on Word is just torturous. Even after I spend time setting up all the properties (indents, tab stops, etc) correctly, word still fucks up. I hate it.

Re:F2 for Search (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148124)

I gave up on automatic bullets and numbering in Word long time ago. I use several simple para styles with necessary indents and insert numbers and bullets manually instead. This has never failed me. I think there is a field in Word called "sequence" or something like this that can be used with such styles to implement automatic numbering more reliably.

Pansies ... (1)

ragnar.ruutel (924008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147628)

" ... only to withdraw support months before Windows 95 hit the market."
Its a risk that comes with business venture!

Novell is Dying (1, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147638)

I think Novell is just grasping for straws. They are a dying company and have been fading out for quite sometime. I work at a large software company and out of all our customers only 2 use Novell and both plan to migrate off of it in the next few years because of compatibility issues with API calls and lack of support. Microsoft nor any company is required to make their system compatible with your software, that is your job as a software developer.

Very important stuff (3, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147646)

Nothing like having a defunct company bring a lawsuit 10 years after the fact, never settle, and force a trial over 15 years later. Not because Novell wasn't cool or anything, but they did manage to lose every single market advantage they had year over year until they died. Must have been some other company's fault.
Very happy to see this judge refuse to throw this one out and make sure we all get to read about him in the press every day.

A brief history of sucky software (4, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147678)

I have been a fan of WordPerfect for many years. I liked how it was ported to many platforms (eg. Amiga). I liked the reveal codes and macros. Some of the keystrokes were a bit obscure, but you got used to them.

But the features of the software were its downfall when it came to a Windows version. Their keyboard shortcuts directly conflicted with that used by Windows, and their massive library of printer drivers were superceded by the Windows drivers. But the biggest problem was the delay in getting a Windows 3.1 version out, and how buggy it was. They can't blame missing features in Windows 95 for that. They went 3 or 4 years before they finally came out with a non-sucky version (WPWin 5.1 to 6.0a). Even the DOS version of 6.0 was buggy - I seem to recall that they had to release a version 5.2 AFTER 6.0 was out.

When they finally did come out with a Win95 version, it would not run on Windows NT. With such a history of poor releases, it doesn't seem to unreasonable to believe that any problems that they had were of their own making.

What now? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147746)

Can someone care to enlighten me as to how not implementing these API into Windows back in the day could cause a $1 billion loss for WordPerfect? Or did "Name Space Extensions" mean something else back then? I just don't see how this relates to word processors, and the article even seems to confirm that suspicion with Bill Gates saying the feature didn't have word processors in mind.

WP had poor support back in the day (4, Informative)

linebackn (131821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147764)

I duno how much Microsoft really had to do with it, but it seemed like WordPerfect really screwed themselves with poor quality software and service.

The original release of WordPerfect 7 ONLY ran on Windows 95 (Not at all on under NT), was late to to release, and was not very stable. They later produced an update of WP 7 that was more stable and ran on NT 3.51/4.0 but the only way to get that was to order a new CD. No downloadable update patches for you!

WP 7 for Windows 3.1 was just a rebadged version of the 16-bit WP 6.1.

Then they pulled the same trick with WordPerfect 8. Initially buggy and updates required obtaining a new CD.

To this day there is still an option to turn off the "enhanced" open/save dialog because it is buggy and crashes under odd environments - especially under Wine.

It also didn't help that at the time it was switching ownership left and right. WordPerfect corp? Novel? Corel? Good way to destroy confidence in a product.

Re:WP had poor support back in the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148114)

I distinctly remember calling a 1-800 support line for WordPerfect and speaking with a friendly American in Provo without waiting on hold. This was mid-1993.

Re:WP had poor support back in the day (1)

shippo (166521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148138)

The DOS version was somewhat quirky, too. I recall one of our customers having problems with WordPerfect 5.1 (or was it 6.0?) creating huge temporary files on network file volumes. Another had problems with print queue parameters getting mangled, as if WordPerfect was writing directly to the print buffer, bypassing the standard API calls.

WordPerfect killed itself (4, Informative)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147778)

One of the three members of the trio who ran WordPerfect corporation, Pete Petersen, wrote a detailed book about the WordPerfect saga called Almost Perfect [wordplace.com] . Go read it now, it's a fascinating tale of a once-great company so busy shooting itself in the foot that it hasn't noticed that it's going down the tubes. WordPerfect Corp was doing such a good job of committing suicide that it really didn't need any help from Microsoft, or anyone else for that matter.

Intentional comedy (2)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147790)

"He said that in making the decision about the code, he was concerned not about Novell but about one element of the program that could have caused computers to crash."

Out of the jabillion things that made 95 crash, he just happened to focus on the one thing that was not in-house?
Not that Novell is looking any better.

Irony (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147826)

Wouldn't it be great if the minutes from the hearing were typed up in OpenOffice :)

The horses are gone (2, Funny)

CaroKann (795685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147838)

Wordperfect? Windows 95? What decade are we talking about here? Not only have the horses left the barn, they have established a healthy feral population.

WorldPerfect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147880)

Remember WorldPerfect?

No, no I don't.

Wait, this is about Win 95? (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147908)

Well, I guess if you want to pick a beef you might as well go for it. One more question, am I the only person who never had Windows 95 blow up on them? I mean, going to 98 was a heck of a lot smoother, but I never had any problems with '95.

Statute of limitations? (1)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148002)

Windows 95 came out what - 15/16 years ago??? WTF?

Either way, unless there is some sort of tengible evidence beyond heresay proving that Microsoft had serious intentions to bundle WP, I don't think Novell will get anywhere here. Even then, Microsoft can tell any number of wendors or 3rd parties it intends to bundle a certain app or piece of functionality in, that doesn't make it true. This is generally why you sign contracts and letters of intention. I can remember lots of features in Windows OS's that were purported to make it in, and never did. Vista was originally supposed to have WinFS.

Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148152)

Remember WorldPerfect?
No, but I do remember WordPerfect. Making WorldPerfect would be much harder.

Wordperfect could stand a chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148170)

... if Linux had more widespread use.

It was great a 5 years before Openoffice.org. We should never have allowed such an amount of power to a single OS provider.

Which is exactly what happens at work, so the above is my personal opinion only, unrelated to anyone or any organization.

I was there (3, Insightful)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148182)

I suspect the majority of us working in deploying word processing environments at the time would tell you: WordPerfect was the better word processor; Word had better, prettier Windows integration. The integration, along with bundled "Works" versions, pushed the market to Word.

Anyone remember OS2/NT ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148212)

What really happened is Microsoft pushed Novell and Word Perfect, different companies at the time, to port their products to OS2 and then killed OS2 for Windows. The first kernel API spec for Windows/NT that I received from MS said OS2/NT at the top of every page.

Can they prove actual wrongdoing (1)

jholyhead (2505574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148234)

Surely this suit requires Novell to prove that Microsoft mislead them with the intention of causing them to lose market share. Unless there's a smoking gun I'm not seeing, how do they plan to achieve this? We can't punish Microsoft for not including a feature they weren't obligated to implement. If we can, I want to sue them for not providing an API that enables me to torture that damned paperclip.
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