SPA to DOJ: The Problem Is Windows NT Too

The Software Publishers Association, an industry advocacy group with 1,200 members including Microsoft Corp., issued a report last month outlining what it sees as Microsoft’s efforts to dominate the server market as it has the desktop and asking the Department of Justice to expand its antitrust inquiry to include Windows NT as soon as possible.

The report acknowledges that Microsoft does not have a monopoly in the server market, but it points out that Microsoft has publicly announced plans to make Windows NT the successor to Windows 98. As a result, the report states, Microsoft’s monopoly on the desktop will be extended to the server OS market.

The report also points out that Microsoft has already leveraged its dominance on the desktop to help boost its server OS by demanding that software developers write applications that support both Windows 95/98 and NT in order to become Microsoft certified.

The report also accuses Microsoft of "using its monopolistic power on the desktop to eliminate competition on the network through bundling, predatory pricing, tied pricing, [and] manipulation of technical standards." It also says Microsoft deliberately pre-announces products to prevent third parties from developing software in areas Microsoft intends to focus on in the future.

In response, Microsoft publicly issued a letter written to SPA president Ken Wasch by executive vice president and chief operating officer Robert Herbold which accuses the SPA of allowing the report to be "prepared by our most aggressive competitors," including Novell Corp., Netscape Communications Corp., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc. "It is a disservice to the SPA membership that you would consider publishing such a partisan and one-sided document in their name," Herbold wrote. "Microsoft’s ability to provide better technology at lower prices is the real reason for the growing success of Windows NT, not the groundless allegations in your so-called white paper."