WinInfo Daily UPDATE, December 3, 2002

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December 3, 2002—In this issue:


  • West Virginia Joins Massachusetts in Microsoft Appeal
  • Microsoft: Windows Less Expensive Than Linux
  • Itanium to Get a Speed Boost in 2003
  • Microsoft Heads Back to Court over Java
  • Microsoft Ships Win.NET Server 2003 RC2


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(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])


  • West Virginia announced yesterday that it will join Massachusetts in appealing a US District Court decision that granted Microsoft a lenient sentence in its antitrust case. Last month, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected the stronger remedies the nonsettling states sought and instead accepted a proposed settlement from Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The attorneys general of both West Virginia and Massachusetts have described the settlement as ineffectual and ridden with loopholes and will now ask the appellate court to impose stricter remedies on the company.

    "We have preserved our appeal," said West Virginia Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw Jr. yesterday, citing Judge Kollar-Kotelly's refusal to prevent Microsoft from commingling Windows and Internet Explorer (IE) code, an act "the federal court of appeals specifically agreed was an antitrust violation," he said. West Virginia and Massachusetts will probably ask the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to require Microsoft to sell a Windows version that lets consumers remove IE, Windows Media Player (WMP), and other software components, giving competitors a better chance to market their own products. McGraw says that Microsoft's dominant Windows OS currently gives the company’s bundled middleware an unfair advantage.

    McGraw's argument is sound. When the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reviewed the case last year, it upheld findings that Microsoft illegally commingled its Web browser code with Windows to destroy Netscape and not for any perceived benefit to consumers. Judge Kollar-Kotelly then decided that hiding IE and other middleware components, rather than making them separate from Windows, was a sufficient penalty. Microsoft implemented this admittedly half-baked feature in Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 2000 SP3.

    West Virginia has money concerns, however. This weekend, the attorney general's office noted that the state would be hard pressed to find funding for the appeal. Yesterday, however, McGraw said that the stakes are too high to back down. "No reputable government should plea poverty and allow an adjudicated lawbreaker to retain their ill-gotten gains," he said. Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, an outspoken Microsoft critic who announced his state's appeal Friday, said yesterday that he was "pleased and grateful" to have West Virginia on board.


  • An IDC study says that organizations that run Windows spend less money in the long run than those that implement Linux because of the open-source solution's complexities and training and support costs. The total cost of ownership (TCO) debate between Microsoft and the open-source community has become heated in recent days, with Microsoft refuting claims that Linux is less expensive than Windows simply because Linux is free. Most of the costs associated with an OS arise after the initial purchase, the company says, and are personnel related. Predictably, however, Microsoft commissioned the IDC study.

    "Linux requires more care and feeding \[than Windows\], basically," said Al Gillen, a research director in IDC's System Software group. "That's what the results are really telling us. The amount of manpower required to run a particular \[Linux\] environment is going to be higher."

    The TCO study looked at five specific workloads that IDC says are typical for corporate IT departments: network infrastructure, print serving, file serving, Web serving, and security applications. In four of the areas, Windows was less expensive; Linux was deemed less expensive for Web serving, IDC says. In the areas in which Windows won, IDC judged Windows 2000 to be 11 to 22 percent less expensive than Linux over a 5-year period. Windows has more mature and easier-to-use management and software-development tools and requires less training and outsourced support, IDC says.

    The IDC study comes on the heels of a controversial Aberdeen Group report that found UNIX, Linux, and other open source software (OSS) solutions to be greater security risks than Windows, based on CERT security-issue tracking. Meanwhile, a Microsoft representative said yesterday that the market will decide the fates of Linux and Windows. "We recognize that there has been a lot of hype around Linux, which directly competes with Windows," said Kevin Hou, the managing director of Microsoft Philippines. "We view it as a healthy situation as it keeps us focused on building software to bring the best value and experience to customers. In the end, the market has the final say."


  • The Itanium, Intel's sagging 64-bit microprocessor, will get a much-needed speed boost in 2003, when the third-generation version of the chip debuts at 1.5GHz. The chip, code-named Madison, is physically similar to today's Itanium 2 design but features smaller internal components and 6MB of built-in cache, twice as much as the Itanium 2. The speed boost couldn't come soon enough: The Itanium line is flailing in the market, thanks largely to the long lifetime and scalability of the company's 32-bit x86 chips, which continue to improve each year.

    Intel's experience with constantly revving its chips' performance might ultimately help the Itanium line gain ground on 64-bit stalwarts from IBM, Sun Microsystems, and other companies. And the release of Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 in April 2003 will include 64-bit versions optimized for Itanium, which might jump-start software development for that platform.

    Intel has also learned not to orphan early adopters. The Madison chips and their successors (code-named Montecito) will be socket-compatible with today's Itanium 2 systems, giving customers a simple upgrade path for years to come. This strategy also lets Intel quickly rev its chips, an unusual practice in the high-end market for server-based microprocessors.


  • Today, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems will begin a 3- or 4-day standoff in Baltimore, Maryland, arguing whether Microsoft should include Sun's Java technology in Windows XP. Sun wants US District Judge Frederick Motz to force Microsoft to stop shipping its "incompatible" version of Java in XP and instead bundle Sun's version.

    The hearings begin today with opening arguments from both sides. Sun will then call three witnesses: Dennis Carlton, a University of Chicago economist; Rich Green, a Sun vice president; and Rick Ross, founder of the Java Lobby. Microsoft's witnesses include Chris Jones, Microsoft vice president of the Windows Client Group; Kevin Murphy, an economist; Andrew Layman, a recognized XML expert; and Sanjay Parthasarathy, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Platform Strategy Group.

    Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft is only partially related to the wider antitrust problems that face the software giant. Sun first sued Microsoft in October 1997, alleging that the company violated its Java licensing agreement by offering a Java version that was incompatible with other versions while advertising it as being compatible. Sun was en route to a resounding victory in the case when the two sides settled in January 2001 after Microsoft agreed to pay Sun $20 million and stop shipping its incompatible Java version. When a federal court found Microsoft guilty of sweeping antitrust violations in mid-2001, Sun sued again, arguing that Java would have been vastly more successful had Microsoft not illegally wielded its market power against the technology. The company is seeking billions of dollars in damages.

    Judge Motz ruled previously that Sun can use some of the findings from the wider antitrust case in the Java case, which could bolster the company's chances of winning its lawsuit. In response to the charges, Microsoft says that Sun is trying to force the distribution of one of its products in a manner that would give Sun an unfair advantage of its own.


  • Microsoft announced this week that it has finalized the long-awaited Release Candidate 2 (RC2) build of Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003, which the company will soon issue to testers, partners, and corporate preview customers. Microsoft will release Win.NET Server to manufacturing in early 2003 and will launch the product in April 2003, although the company hasn't yet announced the venue or exact release date.

    "With the Win.NET Server RC1 release in August, we instituted the Corporate Preview Program, a broad reach program to let people get their hands on the product," Bob O'Brien, the Win.NET Server group product manager, told me recently. "We had anticipated 100,000 to 125,000 people would join the program, but over the last 100 days, we've distributed 350,000 copies of RC1, plus another 10,000 to 20,000 at \[the COMDEX Fall 2002 trade\] show. Every one of those customers can download RC2 on the day it becomes available."

    Microsoft also revealed this week that Win.NET Server will ship with new licensing terms, some of which are less restrictive than previous licenses. In addition to per-device Client Access Licenses (CALs), Win.NET Server customers can purchase per-user CALs, which will save money for enterprises with users who connect with many devices, such as desktop PCs, laptop PCs, and Pocket PCs. Customers can use either CAL option or mix them as appropriate. Microsoft is also introducing a new licensing option called External Connector, which lets an organization's partners and customers use the Internet to access servers remotely without requiring individual CALs. The External Connector replaces a previous option called Internet Connector, which required a company's external partners and customers to purchase individual CALs.

    Finally, Microsoft is also changing the licensing for Terminal Server, the Win.NET Server component that lets users remotely access server-based applications and services. In the past, each Windows desktop OS license included a free Terminal Server CAL. Now customers will have to purchase one Terminal Server CAL for each user who accesses the service.

    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)


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