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Book Review:
The Microsoft File:
The Secret Case Against Bill Gates
By Wendy Goldman Rohm

©1998 by Wendy Goldman Rohm Distributed/Published by Times Books/Random House
USA $25.95 (Canada $35.95)

I checked this book out of the non-fiction section of the Baltimore County Public Library.  The book occasionally reads like a novel. A horror story.

Especially horrifying was chapter 16 called "Bombs." On pages 234-256 the author reveals a closer relationship between Steve Jobs/Apple Computer and Bill Gates/Microsoft than many Macintosh users would deem comfortable.  When Apple’s "Copeland"/"Maxwell" OS development effort failed in the Fall and Winter of 1996, four alternative OS technologies were evaluated and considered for use with the Macintosh. The code names for the four contenders were Blackbird, Robin, Bluebird, and Turkey. One of the options considered was Windows NT.

Apple selected the NeXT system for future Macintosh OS development and bought the company. The author further suggests that Microsoft’s $250 million investment and adoption of Internet Explore as the default browser for OS 8 was more then an act of generosity.

Most of the book shows how Microsoft has leveraged MSDOS and Windows to dominate microcomputer operating systems and applications on a worldwide basis. The book also shows some of the steps and missteps by other companies in their attempts to compete and/or survive with Microsoft’s growing market share. Details from FTC and Department of Justice investigations, meetings, interviews and damaging e-mails that the author reveals are chilling.

I’ve been following the closing testimony in the Microsoft Trial in the Baltimore Sun’s Business section and the Interactive Wall Street Journal, after reading this book I wonder if the Justice Department has a chance. When Microsoft Senior Vice President Jim Allchin e-mailed Bill Gates, "If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger." Does that sound like your typical business plan?

It isn’t Microsoft vs Apple at all. It is Microsoft vs the world. Pray for the Justice Department. Now I know why the web pages I created with Microsoft look fine with Internet Explore but don’t with Netscape Navigator..


Steve Webber June 30, 1999.

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