Microsoft had something of a rough week: Salesforce.com picked an old enemy to head up its patent-infringement lawsuit against Redmond, an alleged internal slide deck detailing Windows 8 leaked to the public, and its Kin phones went bye-bye.
Microsoft did not have the best week, at least on the corporate front.
First came the appearance of an old enemy: in its
patent-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft, Salesforce.com has
retained David Boies, who represented the Justice Department in its
historic antitrust lawsuit against the software giant, as counsel. That
lawsuit can be seen as a response to Microsoft's own
intellectual-property suit filed in May against the cloud-computing
Although Microsoft's subsequent relationship with the Justice
Department has become far more nuanced, with Microsoft executives
complaining to regulators about their rivals' business practices,
chances are good that Boies is still roundly hated in certain corners
In any case, Boies's hiring suggests the heavyweight nature of the looming case
"The stakes are getting bigger and bigger," Ray Wang, an analyst
with the Altimeter Group, said in a June 28 interview with eWEEK. "In
the battle for the cloud, the two leaders are going to be Salesforce
and Microsoft. Microsoft's Azure is the .NET side of the war, while
Salesforce is the Java side. So you're going to have drama." Azure is
Microsoft's cloud-based platform.
The battle is also likely to continue for some time to come, according to Wang.
"It's part of doing business here in the Valley," he said.
"Litigation is part of the process as things get ultra-competitive. As
the lines between enterprise and consumers blur, that means a huge
volume of users, and that's the key here in many ways."
Salesforce is asking for unspecified damages, as well as a jury
trial, in its suit filed June 24 in the Federal District Court for the
District of Delaware. There are five patents at issue, which Salesforce
alleges are violated by Windows Server AppFabric platform, the Windows
Error Reporting system for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2,
SharePoint, the Windows Live Delegated Authentication system, and the
For its part, Microsoft indicated June 25 that it fully intends to
continue with its own lawsuit against Salesforce, which alleges
infringement of nine of its patents. "We remain confident in our
position and will continue to press ahead with the complaint we
initiated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Washington," Microsoft Deputy Chief Counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a
The cloud will also be a big part of Windows 8
at least according to an alleged internal slide deck that leaked online
this week, detailing Microsoft's discussions about the next-generation
On June 26, a Website called Microsoft Journal-which subsequently
disappeared from its Windows Live Spaces host site-posted what it
described as a leaked slide deck, dated April 2010, detailing internal
discussions about Windows 8. Among the features apparently under
consideration: ultra-fast booting, a "Microsoft Store" for downloading
apps, fuller cloud integration, and the use of facial recognition for
One slide also contained an image of a "Windows 8 Prototype
Machine," which looks distinctly Apple-like with its minimalist curves.
Another mentioned slates and tablet PCs as a preferred form-factor.
Other sites subsequently posted the material, including the blog Microsoft Kitchen
which posted the slides along with commentary; those blog's
administrators said the information had come courtesy of an Italian
Windows-enthusiast site called "Windowsette."
"Windows accounts could be connected to the cloud," reads one of the
slides, which follows that up with another bullet-point: "Roaming
settings and preferences associated with a user between PCs and
devices." If the slides are indeed authentic, this indicates that
Microsoft is developing the next version of Windows with not only an
eye towards its "screens and a cloud" strategy, but also taking into
account potential competition from upcoming cloud-based operating
systems such as Google Chrome OS.