Thursday, March 25, 2004


Microsoft Corp. has worked hard at earning all its troubles -- about all it’s worked hard at, it seems, but how nice that it’s paid off. The European Union is demanding the equivalent of $613 million for Microsoft’s monopolistic approach to business, and a class-action lawsuit in Minnesota is further bedeviling the software goliath.

The Minnesota case is bringing forward some interesting documents, including some showing that Microsoft essentially blackmailed Intel Corp. into dropping support for a company called Go Corp., which was focused on creating an operating system for personal digital assistants.

Hedging its bets, Microsoft began work on a similar system, called PenWindows, work that may have been eased by the fact that it had Go technical documents it shouldn’t have. In addition to what looks a lot like extortion and theft, the company committed a final insult, according to yesterday’s New York Times:

In late 1993, Go was sold to AT&T where it was ultimately merged into the company’s portable computer subsidiary. In 1994 the phone company shut down the effort in portable computing. Three months later Microsoft canceled its PenWindows project.

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