MS ANTITRUST - Evidence in Microsoft-Iowa case online

More than 3,000 pieces of evidence in the antitrust lawsuit between Iowa consumers and Microsoft Corp. were to a public Web site late Thursday. Thousands more could be posted, pending a ruling from the presiding judge on objections raised by Microsoft.

The include original letters, memos and e-mails, many of them going back 10 or 20 years and quoting then-Microsoft employees, using intimidating language in letters to PC vendors and talking frankly about announcing products far before they are ready -- what the industry calls "vaporware" -- as a tactic to hurt competitors.

In one (PDF format) to an executive at Taiwanese PC maker Acer Inc., a Microsoft employee writes, "It only takes a couple of reports about non-compatibility to give the kiss of death to a PC: we've seen that on the hardware side as well as in the operating system area."

In another 1990 (PDF format), then-Microsoft executive and Bill Gates' adviser Nathan Myhrvold advocates announcing a new Windows server operating system far in advance of its delivery date as a way of hurting competitor Sun Microsystems Inc.

"The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level," Myhrvold wrote. "Preannouncement is going to give Sun a real problem."

Previous exhibits in the Comes v. Microsoft case have included a transcript of a 1996 speech in which a Microsoft employee calls independent software developers "pawns" and compares wooing them to a "one-night stand." In a 2004 e-mail to Gates and Steve Ballmer, Windows development chief James Allchin complained that Microsoft had "lost sight" of customers' needs, and that he would buy a Mac if he wasn't working for Microsoft.