US Report: Microsoft ordered to turn over code to Caldera

A Salt Lake City Federal Court judge has given Microsoft five days from Tuesday to turn over Windows source code to Caldera as part of the ongoing evidence collection process in the Caldera vs. Microsoft lawsuit over DOS.

A Salt Lake City Federal Court judge has given Microsoft five days from Tuesday to turn over Windows source code to Caldera as part of the ongoing evidence collection process in the Caldera vs. Microsoft lawsuit over DOS.

But Microsoft and Caldera officials disagreed about the exact terms of the order. Caldera officials said Microsoft must turn over full source code for MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, including the source for various interim beta versions of the products to Caldera's lawyers and expert witnesses. Microsoft officials said that Microsoft is compelled only to turn over specific files within Windows 95.

Both parties agreed that the judge had requested Microsoft turn over some source code to Caldera back in February. A few weeks ago, Caldera filed a motion to force Microsoft to comply with the Judge's order, Caldera officials said. "I don't know why Caldera would portray this as a major victory," said a Microsoft corporate spokesman, "We are turning over only specific files which represent only a tiny fraction of the millions of lines of code in Windows 95."

When asked why Microsoft had delayed providing Caldera with the source code in question, the spokesman said Microsoft "wanted to make sure it would be protected". He added that Microsoft "now believes that the mechanisms are in place to protect our trade secrets and confidential information".

Caldera CEO Bryan Sparks questioned Microsoft's defence for delaying delivery of the source code. "We employees don't want access to the source. Back in February we said we would restrict it to experts and attorneys. The mechanisms haven't changed at all."

Yesterday's court proceedings also resulted in the decision to exclude Novell from intervening, as it had requested, in the Caldera vs. Microsoft case, said Caldera and Microsoft executives. The judge compelled Novell to turn over "work product," a.k.a., attorneys' notes, that Novell had requested to withhold. Novell figures in the Caldera vs. Microsoft case because it was the original marketer of DR-DOS, which it later sold to Caldera.

Caldera first sued Microsoft for alleged anti-competitive behaviour in 1996, claiming that Microsoft had unfairly monopolised the DOS market. The case was expanded to include the alleged tying of DOS and Windows 95 in February of this year. The Caldera vs. Microsoft trial is slated for June 1999.

Caldera is part of more than just its own private antitrust suit versus Microsoft. Last month, Microsoft officials subpoenaed Caldera, along with Apple, IBM, Novell and Sun Microsystems as part of its information-gathering process in the current Department of Justice antitrust investigation. According to Microsoft, of these vendors, only Novell has refused to provide the information on Internet product integration that Microsoft has solicited, citing the need to keep private its future product plans.

"Microsoft asked for documents about our integration of technologies in OpenLinux," Sparks confirmed. "We include browsers with our products, like they do. We gave them everything they asked for."

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