OT: MS litigation history, was MS FAQ

Adriaan Renting renting at astron.nl
Tue Oct 18 12:44:05 CEST 2005


 
 
>>>"David Schwartz" <davids at webmaster.com> 10/18/05 7:21 am >>> 
> 
>"Roedy Green" <my_email_is_posted_on_my_website at munged.invalid> wrote in 
>message news:8b09l1tgavuiu3hmatva34624lvsjn6mtl at 4ax.com... 
> 
>>On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 19:44:55 -0700, "David Schwartz" 
>><davids at webmaster.com> wrote or quoted : 
> 
>>>   It is not Microsoft's obligation to be "fair". It is Microsoft's 
>>>obligation to push their vision of the future of computing, one with 
>>>Microsoft's products at the center, using anything short of force or 
>>>fraud. 
> 
>>I think that what they did borders on force/fraud. 
> 
>   I don't think any of it bordered on force or fraud. However, their 
>obligation to their shareholders requires them to do anythign that borders 
>on force/fraud so long as it isn't force/fraud. However, the use of things 
>too close to force/fraud often backfires. Microsoft has an obligation to be 
>strategic and look nice where those things beneficially impact the bottom 
>line. 
> 
>   It's Bill Gates' job to make his company worth as much as possible. 
> 
>   DS 
> 
>

I think MS obligation to its shareholders to maximise profits, does seem to make them cross the line quite frequently. Because of the slow legal process it seems that it's more profitable to do so.
A lot of these were however settled out of court, so technically, in a lot of them MS was not proven to have crossed the line, it does show a certain pattern though, some examples for googling "Microsoft lawsuit":
- 1982 Microsoft vs Seattle Computer Products, settled out of court.
- 1982 Microsoft vs Digital Research, DR won.
- 1985 Microsoft vs Apple, settled by Apple leasing MS access to the MacOS code.
- 1988-1998 Microsoft vs Apple, settled out of court, MS buys $150 mil Apple stock
- 1989 Microsoft vs DEC, settled out of court, MS paid $150 mil
- 1994 Microsoft vs Stac Electronics, MS lost, paid $84 mil
- 1996 Microsoft vs Novell/Caldera, settled out of court, MS paid $200 mil
- 1998-2002 Microsoft vs DOJ&20 states, MS lost, MS ordered to split up overturned in appeal.
- 2003 Microsoft vs Time-warner, settled out of court, MS pays $750 mil
- 2004 Microsoft vs EU, MS fined $613 mil
- 2004 Microsoft vs Sun, settled out of court, MS pays $700 mil

these guys also have a list, but it contains very few details:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=24621
They compute a total of over 9 billion in fines/settlements over the 30 year history of Microsoft.
 
To me it seems that MS finds it more profitable to do cross the line, and just pay the fines afterwards. I find it a real flaw in the corporate legal system that this is a valid way of doing business. That's a whole different topic though.





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