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October 5, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Tiny Windows-on-Unix company Bristol Technology Inc has gained a powerful ally in its lawsuit against Microsoft Corp in which it alleges the software giant has acted in violation of anti-trust laws by denying the company access to the Windows source code (CI No 3,478). In a brief submitted to the court handling the case, Bristol offered support from an executive at Sun Microsystems Inc, who sided with the Danbury, Connecticut-based company on a key issue in the case. Microsoft, in its response to the initial suit filed in August, dismissed the matter as a contract dispute and contended that anti-trust laws played no part in the matter, as Bristol was not a competitor. But Bristol cites testimony from Brian Croll, Sun’s director of Solaris product marketing, Brian Croll, that says its Wind/U product competes with Windows by allowing Solaris to run applications written for the Windows API. Croll said, Wind/U enables a higher degree of competition between Solaris and NT by expanding the Solaris application base to include Windows applications, thereby reducing the principal advantage that NT has to offer in relation to Solaris. Bristol, which claims to have staked its future on it previously solid relationship with Microsoft, hopes Sun’s support will lead the court to take the case seriously as an antitrust matter. Bristol also alleges that Microsoft’s own internal documents show its predatory intent and expose the power that Microsoft wields through the Windows programming interface, and the plan to use that power to displace Unix in the server and workstation markets. Bristol’s suit demands unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief that would require Microsoft to provide Bristol with source code for future versions of Windows operating systems, including Windows NT versions 4 and 5. Bristol said it has had access to the source code for Windows since 1994. But, as it attempted to renew its deal with the company, Microsoft refused to play ball, offering only what amounts to an oppressive and unreasonable licensing deal that would carve up the source code and offer only certain pieces to Bristol.

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