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When elephants dance, mice watch out! [legal issues]

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Bristol Technology develops software tools-in particular cross-platform tools that software developers use to port applications software to Unix from other operating system platforms. Bristol had an agreement with Microsoft to get access to technical information about the Win98 application interfaces (APIs), the means for causing applications software to interact with the operating system. According to Bristol, its Wind/U tool was making it too easy for developers to write Unix programs that could also run under NT. Microsoft therefore used pretexts to deny Bristol access to the updated APIs for Windows NT 5, the operating system that will follow Win98 (probably under the name Windows 2000). Microsoft denies that it is doing any more than trying to gain a fair price for the crown jewels of its intellectual property. Yes; Microsoft is demanding four times as high a fee for access to the source code needed to use the NT APIs, but NT code is worth much more than that for Win98 or Win95. The article focuses on the ensuing legal battle between Microsoft and Bristol Technology

Published in:

Micro, IEEE  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan/Feb 1999

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