DOJ Weadock Notes : LUSENET : MS-DOJ : One Thread

United States: Glenn Weadock from Eric Liu (

What follows is a digest of the testimony of Glenn Weadock, president of Independent Software, Inc. and the technical expert called by the Department of Justice. The theme of Weadocks testimony was that Microsoft has tried to achieve through software code what users in the market would otherwise reject  a commingling of Windows and Internet Explorer that cannot be undone without potential damage or cost. The attorney for Microsoft, Richard Pepperman, attempted through complicated technical questioning to demonstrate that this commingling was a natural and beneficial result of the evolution of the operating system. Weadock fought off much of Pepperman's questioning, and was careful not to concede unnecessarily what the letter of Pepperman's questions sometimes implied. The attorney for the Department of Justice, Mr. Holtzman, outlined a less technical -- and perhaps to the judge, more accessible -- narrative about customers in the computer market who value choice and flexibility but find themselves frustrated at every turn by Microsofts tactics.

Direct Testimony (written)

 Weadock wrote that software is best defined by feature set and functions rather than by files, since files can be compiled and packaged in any number of ways. It would be a futile exercise to draw clear lines between an OS and applications on the mere basis of application code.

 In his interviews with representatives of numerous corporations, Weadock found a corporate preference to make their OS decisions separately from applications decisions. Corporations want flexibility in the choice of browsers. Most of those surveyed prefer machines with no browsers loaded or with means of easy removal of any preinstalled browsers. Win98 and NT5, with their forced inclusion of IE, compel companies that dont want IE to forgo the benefits of Win98, bear the costs of supporting two browsers, or switch to IE.

 Microsoft builds Internet Explorer such that some of the IE subroutines are in the same file libraries as other subroutines for the OS. This, Weadock says, is not necessarily good for customers, as it can lead to higher application failure rates, application conflicts, or user confusion. MS could easily have included an uninstall feature with IE, but chose not to.


 Richard Pepperman of Sullivan and Cromwell began by chipping away at Weadocks credentials and standing to testify on these matters, forcing Weadock to admit that hed never worked on, consulted on, or been an expert in OS software design; that he did not have mastery of C, which is what W95 and W98 are largely written in, and so is unable to interpret the source code for W98; and that at the time hed submitted his expert report hed read only one of the 98 depositions that had been taken prior to the May 1998 filing of this case. Further, Weadock testified that his survey of corporate opinion was comprised of companies that had been selected or recommended by the Department of Justice, and in some cases, by Netscape.

 Pepperman next focused on the issue of the boundaries of the OS. Through his questions and the answers he sought to draw out of Weadock, he pressed the theme that the OS is an ever-evolving entity. For example, TCP/IP, a basic networking protocol, is now considered part of the OS, even though it hadnt always been. Moreover, features like memory management are now considered part of the OS, even though third parties create and sell memory management products separately. Pepperman then introduced a Netscape marketing document that described IE4, in terms apparently meant to be derisive, as really an OS upgrade.

 A debate then ensued over whether IE code can be removed without damage to W98. If one defined IE code in terms of files, said Weadock, then damage to W98 would result; but if one defined the code in terms of subroutines, damage could be avoided. The problem, he insisted, is that MS does the former.

 Pepperman pointed out that a useful program like HTML Help uses some of the same files as IE, attempting to show how IE is integrated with the OS. But Weadock, while admitting this fact, added that it revealed precisely the problem, which is that W98 forces users to accept IE if they want other functions. Weadock said that the files in question (SHDOCVW.DLL and MSHTML.DLL) eat up 8 MB and if the company doesnt want Internet Explorer, 8 megabytes is a big price to pay to run a help system. Similarly, when pressed to admit the benefits of the Active Desktop features that are made possible by IE code, Weadock says that yes, there are benefits, but they didnt require the existence of IE code to be realized.

 An illustrative exchange followed, on the implications of the fact that IE and Windows are commingled (Weadocks word) or integrated. PEPPERMAN: As a result, even if IEXPLORE.EXE is removed from Windows 98, a user can still access the internet through "My Computer" or Windows Explorer using IEXPLORE.EXE; correct? WEADOCK: Thats true. PEPPERMAN: And it's also true, isn't it, sir, that the file EXPLORE.EXE cannot be removed from Windows 98 without disabling features of Windows 98 that users typically require? WEADOCK: That's my point. Microsoft designed it that way. PEPPERMAN: In fact, isn't it your understanding, sir, that if the file explore.exe were removed, the windows 98 user interface would break? WEADOCK: That is at the same time true and irrelevant.

 Pepperman introduced into evidence a memorandum from Weadock to the DoJ saying that it was impractical to remove IE3 files wholesale because [doing so] removes shared program libraries essential to the operation of Windows 95 and Windows 95 programs. This memo was written three days before the DoJ asked the court for just this impractical remedy.


 Much of questioning by the DoJs Holtzman stressed the theme that users can incur significant costs if they are forced to support two browsers or remove an unwanted preinstalled browser like IE. Netscapes browser, Weadock testifies, offers the benefit of operating across platforms. Holtzman introduced an internal MS email by Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing for IE, in which Medhi had reported that the number one reason why some corporations dont go with IE as their standard is that they want a common platform for web apps and end-user feature similarity, which, impliedly, IE does not provide. The other significance of this email is that it referred to IE as an application rather than as an element of the OS. Holtzman then played an excerpt of testimony by a Boeing representative who attests to the cross-platform benefits of Netscapes browser.

 On the core issue of the boundaries of the OS, Weadock noted that the mere fact that an application like Norton Utilities or MS Word adds or changes Windows DLLs does not make that application part of Windows, implying that the mere fact that IE does the same does not make it part of Windows either. He added that features like TCP/IP or memory management, features that MS had earlier described as part of an evolving OS, were simply plumbing and did not implicate cost and user-convenience issues the way a browser does.

 Weadock went through some reasons why a user would want to decouple the OS and the browser: the user may not need a browser at all; a commingled browser entails memory upgrade costs, as well as training and support costs. An email from Gateway to MSs account manager was then introduced, in which Gateway said it wanted to be able to uninstall IE for the sake of flexibility and responding to customer choice. It could not. By constrast, Weadock pointed out, consider the loose way that Novells Netware OS is bundled together with its own browser product (the browser can be removed and replaced without damage or loss of function).

 Further evidence was introduced to underscore the theme that MS squelches the users sense of choice and flexibility: A Boeing email stated that the company felt that so long as it was using Windows, it had no choice but to go with IE. A Compaq survey showed that many corporate customers want a barebones Windows and the freedom to decide what features are added and how. A Packard Bell exec stated that his company would not add Netscapes browser to machines pre-loaded with IE because of the redundant use of disk space and the fear of customer confusion.


 Weadock conceded, at Peppermans prodding, that IE, like Netscape, can operate across platforms and that Netscape can be installed on W98 and used to access the Web. (It was unclear, however, just how this tactical point advanced MSs strategic argument that IE is now fully integrated into Windows). Pepperman suggested that IE was distinguishable from applications like Word or Excel because only IE can operate like a platform atop which applications can run; Weadock disagreed, saying that Word or Excel could be considered a platform in that sense as well. He admitted, however, that IE is different from Word or Norton Utilities  applications that also modify DLLs  in that IE modifies the DLLs to a much greater degree.

 Much of the balance of this session was devoted to Peppermans efforts to discredit the claims of the Packard Bell exec and of the Compaq survey, and Weadocks insistence that such items were in fact evidence of a widespread feeling that customers dont want IE forced upon them.

 Pepperman closed with a reiteration of the fact that Weadock himself had deemed impractical the very form of relief DoJ had at one point sought  removing IE files wholesale from Windows.

-- Anonymous, November 22, 1998

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