July 29, 1998 5:15 PM PDT

Caldera wins Windows access

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Caldera takes on Windows 95

February 10, 1998
Caldera has won the latest round in its fight to gain access to Microsoft's Windows 95 source code.

In its private antitrust lawsuit against the software giant, Caldera alleges that Microsoft engaged in anticompetitive practices by preventing Caldera's competing DR-DOS operating system from running on Windows, and that Microsoft illegally tied its MS-DOS software to Windows.

Caldera chief Bryan Sparks said a federal magistrate yesterday ordered Microsoft to turn over its Windows 95 source code, without requiring Caldera to sign a licensing agreement.

Microsoft had contended that its interest in seeking a licensing agreement was to prevent its trade secrets from being used for purposes other than the lawsuit. Although the request was denied, the judge did agree to warn attorneys and expert witnesses viewing the code in the case that it could not be used for other purposes.

The software giant was ordered to supply only the MS-DOS code that it alleges is tied to Windows 95, and to do so within five days. Caldera has alleged that MS-DOS is not tied to Windows 95, and that Microsoft has used anticompetitive tactics to prevent its DR-DOS operating system from running with Windows.

"We're not going to appeal," said Jim Cullinan, a Microsoft spokesman. "It's only a small percentage of the code."

Cullinan said he did not have specific details on the exact percentage.

In February, the court allowed Caldera to amend its earlier complaint to include Windows 95, and the court ordered Microsoft to turn over the source code.

"We were ready to give them [the code] all along," Cullinan said.

Sparks differs with Cullinan's account. He said his company had to file a motion to compel Microsoft to supply the code--after many delays. He added that getting access to the code should benefit his company's case, but that it will not benefit its operations, as Caldera engineers will not be allowed to view the code.


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