USDOJ Soyring testimony : LUSENET : MS-DOJ : One Thread

Testimony of John Soyring, Director of Network Computing Software Services for IBM.

Soyring spoke from IBM's experience as OS developer and PC distributor. On paper, at least, his testimony was not overly combative, so he appeared to be a credible witness.


  1. applications: Soyring makes the network effects point  consumers buy PCs to run applications, and ISVs write to the APIs of the most widespread OSs. As a result, even IBM's PC Company preloads Windows, rather than OS/2 on new machines.

  2. difficulty of porting or cloning: Microsoft licensing terms make it difficult for ISVs to port code written with MS tools to OS/2, because the developer tools include redistributable modules that may be used only in Windows apps. IBM considered cloning Win APIs but decided it couldn't because they changed too frequently. The builder of a competing OS would be unable to guarantee that it would work with current and future applications written for Windows.

  3. browsers: IBM has always offered browsers as an "application" with OS/2, first its own Web Explorer, now Netscape Navigator.

  4. integration: OEMs have sufficient coding capabilities to "integrate" software products. This point cuts at the technological tying argument: even if consumer sees a synergy from having both the OS and IE preinstalled, there's no reason the two shouldn't be sold separately in the OEM channel. Software design is flexible; in the bolting sense, software developers can "integrate" any function into the OS whether or not it is efficient or benefits consumers. Integrating unneeded functions can make the OS bulkier and les efficient.

  5. screen restrictions: Soyring testifies to "his understanding" of MS startup screen restictions in contrast to OS/2's flexibility. MS challenges this testimony as without foundation, but it gets in. Soyring contests another of the claimed tying justifications, that tying is necessary for quality control (the punch-card story -- to prevent consumers from attributing an app's poor performance to the OS, just throw all the apps in with the OS). He says allowing suppliers to customize the OS/2 desktop interface did not cause confusion or a loss of goodwill to IBM.


The cross examination often puts IBM as marketer in conflict with IBM as Microsoft- competitor. Soyring keeps having to dismiss rosy statements about IBM technology (the network computer, even OS/2) as "marketing hype" as he tries to portray MS as a monopolist with no real competition, or to oppose MS on integration.


IBM made some early attempts to clone the Win32 APIs in OS/2, but underestimated the expense. Soyring blames Microsoft's "FUD" (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) tactic for halting OS/2 development more than technical difficulties: "Microsoft instilling fear amongst our customers that we could not [clone the APIs]." 17pm85 He said that time, expense, and license restrictions on the ActiveX source code balked IBM's attempts.

Further, even had IBM cloned the APIs, license agreements would have prevented ISVs from using the reusable code of Microsoft developer kits (Microsoft Foundation Classes) to create OS/2 products. 18am13 Holley asks whether IBM ever negotiated with Microsoft about changing the license terms, but Soyring did not know.

IBM has abandoned efforts to get ISVs to write to the OS/2 API, and is instead encouraging them to write in Java for use on the OS/2 platform.

Soyring distinguishes between the OS and the shrink-wrapped product. 18am29 While the installation routine (and the OS/2 box) may present OS/2's web browser as an option as if it were integrated with the OS, the browser remains a separate product. The OEM or consumer can choose not to install the browser and the OS still functions normally. Soyring distinguishes between integrated as technical specification and as a marketing term. On the marketing level, it is frequently used just to indicate that an application will function seamlessly with the OS. It still uses only the public exposed APIs.

Soyring is asked about two more technical definitions of integration he used in his deposition: one level of integration, where an application exposes APIs to third-party apps, and a "deeper level," in which another part of the OS has a cross-dependency on the app's APIs. 18am48 He attempts to show that only the deeper integration produces a synergy benefit for consumers.

On redirect, he says further that OS/2 Warp installation routines were trying to solve a "perception problem," to give users the impression that they were installing one program while they were installing many separate ones. Only the installation interface was "integrated" to handle the install routines of different programs in the same way. 18pm84

Distinguish customizing the Java virtual machine to the specific operating system from customizing the Java itself. The point is to put the system-specific calls into the JVM and keep the program cross-platform.

IBM customers, particularly in e-business concerned about Microsoft's fragmentation of the Java standard, such as non-standard keywords.

While MS makes Java's RMI available on its site for free, customers aren't confident that it will continue to support that part of the standard.

Best line: "I am confident that there is no folder on the IBM desktop for the Thinkpad as it's shipped that has litigation support." 18pm10

Holley tries to establish that OS/2 failed because of design flaws such as requiring more resources than most PCs had. When Soyring responds that large customers had the necessary RAM, Holley pushes him to say that IBM was focusing on the enterprise market, and not really trying to compete in the PC market with MS. 17pm72 On redirect, Soyring focuses on efforts to make the product competitive in the home PC market. 18pm59

Microsoft used its branding program for the Windows-compatible logo to push ISVs to develop for the Win32 APIs before Win95 was introduced to market. 17pm100 "Good Housekeeping seal" 18pm62

Port of DB2 to Linux not an indication that Linux is taking off, but because it wasn't a big jump from AIX.

-- Anonymous, December 04, 1998

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