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May 1, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Court Clears HP/Compaq Merger
- Microsoft Remedy Hearings: Microsoft Drops Witnesses, States Try to Present New Evidence
- Study: IE Dominates the Web
- Win a Personal Cinema Card at the Connected Home Virtual Tour
- Mobile and Wireless Solutions—An Online Resource for a New Era
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
A Delaware judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleges that Hewlett-Packard (HP) officials acted improperly to gain shareholder votes for the company's proposed merger with Compaq. The decision clears the way for HP's $18 billion purchase of Compaq, the largest corporate consolidation in PC-industry history. Walter Hewlett, a recently ousted HP board member who filed the lawsuit, says he won't appeal the ruling and will instead support the acquisition.
"Members of HP's senior management testified credibly, in accordance with the evidence and without exception," Delaware Chancery Court Judge William Chandler wrote in his ruling. Chandler said that Hewlett failed to meet the burden of proof in his lawsuit, in which he alleged that HP lied to shareholders to gain approval for the Compaq purchase. "Plaintiffs have failed to prove that HP management improperly enticed or coerced Deutsche Bank into voting in favor of the merger," Judge Chandler wrote, "\[and\] nothing in the record indicates that HP lied to or deliberately misled \[shareholder adviser Institutional Shareholder Services\] or the HP shareholders about its integration efforts."
HP plans to merge the two companies May 7. Ironically, Hewlett's tenacious legal battles might ultimately help make the complicated merger a success because it forced HP executives to plan each step of the merger down to the last detail. About 15,000 workers—10 percent of the new company's workforce—will lose their jobs.
A surprise Microsoft decision to cull its list of witnesses has the nonsettling states and the District of Columbia scrambling this week. In a related development, the states had hoped to introduce new evidence proving that the company's proposed settlement with the federal government is ineffective, but Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has indicated that she probably won't allow the evidence.
Microsoft's decision to cut back its witness list reflects the company's confidence in the outcome of the remedy hearings, in which nine US states and the District of Columbia seek stronger remedies than those the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and nine other US states proposed. Microsoft culled its witness list "after reviewing the progress we made so far in our case, as well as assessing the states' witnesses and what we believe are shortcomings in the states' case," a company spokesperson said. Microsoft originally planned to present 28 witnesses, compared to 16 for the nonsettling states. But the company now says it will call as few as 12 witnesses, including those who have already appeared. Four of the remaining witnesses are high-level Microsoft executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer and Group Vice President Jim Allchin.
Lawyers for the nonsettling states say they have received evidence that Microsoft's proposed remedy will continue to let Microsoft retaliate against PC makers. Attorney Howard Gutman read an email message from Dell Computer to Microsoft in which the PC maker complained about Microsoft's new contracts. "Dell cannot imagine that the intent of the \[DOJ settlement\] decree was an even greater degree of control by Microsoft," the email reads.
However, Microsoft lawyers complained that it's too late for the states to introduce new evidence. "We are in our case, \[and\] they have rested their case," Microsoft attorney John Warden told Kollar-Kotelly. "That is not what conduct of a trial is in our system, that a plaintiff presents a moving target to a defendant." Kollar-Kotelly indicated that she agreed with Microsoft but hasn't yet made a final decision in the matter. "You generally admit \[evidence\] during your part of the case," the judge told Gutmann. "I want to be very careful about this. I'm not going to do it off the top of my head."
According to Web analysis firm OneStat.com, Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is, by far, the dominant Web browser, with more than 95 percent of the market. But perhaps more astonishingly, OneStat.com says that the recently introduced IE 6.0 is the Web's most-often-used browser; almost 45 percent of all Web surfers use this version.
"Microsoft dominates the browser market with a total global usage share of 96.6 percent on the Web," said OneState.com cofounder Niels Brinkman. Netscape, which owns only 2.8 percent of the market, and Opera, which owns 0.5 percent, round out the total global browser-usage-share list. OneStat.com says that, by usage share, the top seven browsers are:
- Microsoft IE 6.0 (44.7 percent)
- Microsoft IE 5.5 (25.6 percent)
- Microsoft 5.0 (25.0 percent)
- Netscape Navigator 4.0 (1.6 percent)
- Microsoft IE 4.0 (1.3 percent)
- Netscape Navigator 3.0 (0.5 percent)
- Opera 6.0 (0.4 percent)
If you think you've already seen the Connected Home Virtual Tour, think again. Browse through the latest home entertainment, home networking, and home automation options, and check out our special feature on wiring your home. Sign up for prize drawings, too, and you might win a free personal cinema card, courtesy of VisionTek and nVIDIA. Take the tour today!
Our mobile and wireless computing site has it all—articles, product reviews, and other resources to help you support a wireless network and mobile users. Check it out today!
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