Het gerucht van de afgelopen week dat M$ bereid zou zijn om een overeenkomst met de DoJ te suiten om verder procederen te voorkomen bleek vals. In tegendeel: M$ lijkt het liefst zo lang mogelijk door te willen procederen zodat het in ieder geval zonder restrcities NT5 op de markt kan brengen en zijn greep op de softwareindustrie kan versterken. Ondertussen gaat het gerucht dat Bill M$ helemaal wil verlaten -- zijn huidige rol binnen het bedrijf is al beperkt sinds hij een groot deel van zijn aandelen verkocht.
The current rumours were started by those with most to lose – institutions holding large amounts of Microsoft stock – according to sources. And where better to start the rumour than in the Wall Street Journal?
the gnomes in Redmond, are evidently in some disarray. There are probably serious differences of opinion about the delayed management structure that was expected to be announced a week ago. Morale is low, and it is probable that there will be a mass exodus of Microsoft VPs whose shares have vested.
Microsoft's external lawyers will not really be wanting a settlement, since their massive fees depend on the case going on for ever. The big power play will be between VP for law and corporate affairs Bill Neukom, Microsoft's head lawyer, and general counsel (a recent promotion) Brad Smith, who joined Microsoft some years ago after a stint looking after Microsoft's interests very enthusiastically when he worked for the Business Software Alliance in Europe. Smith has always wanted the top job at Microsoft, and he could be the leader of a putsch to overthrow Neukom.
The big question is now whether Gates will resign. He has relatively little to do with the running of Microsoft. He doesn't really understand the technical issues any longer, and cannot contribute any insight. His sole role is as a figurehead, making sales calls at head-of-government level because of the vanity of politicians to be photographed with him.
If Gates goes, then there is a real chance of a settlement – but it should be remembered that Microsoft's aggressiveness is now in the second layer of Microsoft management and moving down to the third layer. Any settlement would be easier to achieve after his departure, but on humbling terms for Microsoft. It seems that a decision has been taken that Gates will not be a rebuttal witness, or the Microsoft propaganda machine would have been building a suitable image.