Re: IBM Lawsuit Against Microsoft

BOSTON - IBM Corp. will get $775 million in cash and $75 million worth

> of software from Microsoft Corp. to settle claims still lingering from > the federal government's antitrust case against Microsoft in the > 1990s, the companies announced Friday.

How times have changed. Years ago it was IBM that got hit with anti-trust lawsuits. Tom Watson Jr admitted in his memoirs "Father Son & Co" that his rage at CDC coming out with a supercomputer before IBM may have encouraged some not so good practices in sales pressure and "paper" machines. IBM settled with CDC at tremendous cost. The govt kept up its case but lost, costing the taxpayer and IBM millions of wasted dollars.

Bill Gates and his crew ought to read Watson's book. The Watsons (both father and son) felt extremely passionately that IBM was THEIR company and they could do as THEY WISHED with it. They felt they worked very hard to make the company so successful and done so honestly and fairly by being the best. That passion obscured their vision to some business realities and anti-trust law -- even if you did nothing wrong to get be #1, you are still in violation of the law by merely being #1.

Undoubtedly Gates feels the same way toward Microsoft -- it's his company, he worked hard to build it up and should be able run his business without being second guessed by outsiders.

Both Watsons were forced to change their business practices in response to government pressure. Watson Sr had to license out his patents and sell as well as rent his machines. Watson Jr had to go further with sales and break out of bundling into a la carte sales. I think Gates should take a lesson from that and consider loosening up what is a near monopoly in his sales offerings and be more flexible in his licensing agreements.

FWIW, IBM remains a strong company where Control Data is pretty much gone.

I wonder what the Microsoft/Intel "Sloan" sales approach will lose favor. That is, very often they introduce new hardware and software that "obsoletes" what is exists, and people rush out to buy new stuff. Sloan did this at General Motors, coming out with a new model year to encourage people to buy new cars for style. Let's be honest -- the vast majority of users could get along just fine with a 486, Windows 3.1, and comparable versions of Word and Excel, and not need any more horsepower and function.

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