Palm close to gaining VSIP access from MS

By : |March 30, 2002 0

WASHINGTON: Microsoft Corp. was close to sharing a key programming tool after
learning that Palm Inc. was participating in the antitrust case against the
software giant, an executive from the No. 1 handheld computer maker told federal
court on Thursday.

Palm executive Michael Mace told US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly the
software giant had refused Palm access to the software development tool called
Visual Studio Integration Program (VSIP) and had set one-sided conditions for
allowing Palm handhelds to work with Microsoft’s .NET Internet software.



Mace was the ninth witness called by nine states seeking stiffer sanctions
against Microsoft for findings it illegally maintained its Windows monopoly in
personal computer operating systems. "We are pleased that Palm may now be
offered access to VSIP, but the process by which we go there was very
disturbing," Mace said in written testimony.

Mace, chief competitive officer of Palm’s software subsidiary, said Microsoft
had refused to allow Palm into the VSIP, short for Visual Studio Integration
Program, even though it was supposed to be open to the whole computer industry.

The nine states have rejected a proposed settlement reached between Microsoft
and the US Justice Department and want broad remedies that would also protect
technologies that have emerged since the case was launched nearly four years

Microsoft argues the sanctions cannot go beyond specific wrongdoing upheld by
a federal appeals court last year, mainly that Microsoft tried to crush
Netscape’s Internet browser to preserve its Windows monopoly. Mace said
Microsoft had tried to barter Palm’s entry into VSIP in exchange for Palm
deploying Microsoft’s .NET technologies, a suite of Web-based services.

VSIP allows software developers who write their programs for Windows to
convert easily their programs to run on Palm’s operating system. Palm had tried
to gain entry to the VSIP program for two years and was only now in the final
details of a deal.

"Microsoft sent us the contract only after we had documented clearly
that there was no resource barrier within the Visual Studio team itself, that
Microsoft had been using VSIP entry to get leverage over us in the .NET
negotiations and after it was becoming clear that Palm was participating in the
current court proceedings," Mace said.

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