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Re: "Is Nader right?"

  Chuck Swiger wrote:
  >  But is there any documented evidence that MS used some
  >  sort of leverage, hints of retribution, economic threats,
  >  threats of isolation, explicit or implicit, to coerce
  >  Williams or anybody into using MS against their will?
  Well, I wouldn't call this documented evidence, but there
  is anecdotal evidence being collected by Ric Ford, a
  respected Mac market journalist, on his web site at
  http://www.macintouch.com/hughes.html regarding large
  companies that traditionally supported Macs, who are forcing
  their employees to migrate to Microsoft.  The one anecdote
  that I found particularly galling was the following (this
  is quite long -- apologies in advance, but if the
  allegations are true, this is relevant to the list):
  >  _"I am using a friends account to send this since I wish
  >  to be kept anonymous for fear of retribution. I am writing
  >  this to help spread the word about how Microsoft has used
  >  unethical business practices to kill off their competition
  >  at my current employer KPMG.
  >  KPMG has been a big user of the Macintosh platform since
  >  1985. Our consulting group has had a long standing close
  >  relationship with Apple Computer. Last year Apple Computer
  >  chose KPMG to be their auditor. In 1996 we were about
  >  60% Macintosh, although the Wintel platform was becoming
  >  more prevalent(Due to Office 97), the Macintosh platform
  >  seemed to be holding ground.
  >  This past summer an edict came down from our CIO stating
  >  that Apple was no longer on the "approved vendor list".
  >  This made it impossible for any Macs to be purchased.
  >  Someone publicly asked the CIO why, his answer was "Apple
  >  didn't deliver on the promise to sell NT servers" (??
  >  Huh ??).
  >  One month after this, KPMG announced an alliance with
  >  Microsoft. This agreement included a massive change in
  >  the firms technical direction. This decision was not made
  >  on cost analysis or user requirements, it was made
  >  strictly on politics. Traditionally KPMG would select
  >  technology based on our business needs. We would choose
  >  the technology that would allow our business to run
  >  smoothly and efficiently. This is why we chose a Softarc
  >  as our vendor for our corporate wide Knowledge Manager
  >  (BBS) instead of Lotus. (Click _here_ to read about it.)
  >  Microsoft Attacks (How they infiltrated KPMG):
  >  Late in 1996, KPMG had spent several months evaluating
  >  Intranet software. The firm chose Netscape's suite as
  >  the tool set for KPMG's National Intranet (Kweb).(Click
  >  _here_ to see the details of the netscape deal). After
  >  this announcement, Microsoft began calling KPMG at all
  >  levels to find some way in. By the summer, they had
  >  secured buy-in from several members of the board of
  >  directors, soon after the MS deal was made. KPMG would
  >  replace all technologies with MS solutions. This included
  >  Macs, Novell File Servers, Unix, Netscape Navigator,
  >  Netscape SuiteSpot, and any other technologies that can
  >  be replaced with a Microsoft product. We will be rolling
  >  out Windows NT Client out as our new Desktop OS (this
  >  explains why the CIO said Apple's NT boxes were an issue),
  >  Exchange for Email, and NT across the board as our Server
  >  OS.
  >  Inside the Confusion begins (Just a few samples)
  >  (1) Just after the deal was made, many internal projects
  >  were canceled (both national and international) with all
  >  of the funds begin re-routed to our CIO. (I suspect this
  >  money will be used for the costly unnecessary transplant
  >  of MS technology.)
  >  (2) Our intranet has been developed over the past 8 months
  >  using netscape technologies. Tens of applications and
  >  hundreds of web pages have been created using netscape
  >  specific html/java script code. No one has considered
  >  the cost and time to change all of these pages to work
  >  correctly with Explorer.
  >  (3) Our auditors have been using the Macintosh as their
  >  base for years. They have developed highly specialized
  >  programs on the Mac for performing their job. Someone
  >  asked about what the firms plans for these programs were.
  >  "Use Excel" was the answer. These tools are being thrown
  >  away without any plan to replace them.
  >  (4) KPMG has had a group of specialized R&D Labs, these
  >  labs were responsible for understanding technologies so
  >  that KPMG can stay on top of technical advances. Their
  >  future looks dim since the MS deal puts KPMG in a position
  >  to only work with MS based technologies. At our last
  >  management meeting, our leadership said "we don't know
  >  what we are doing with the labs" How can KPMG be a
  >  technology leader without the freedom to look at the
  >  possibilities (other than MS).
  >  The MS deal (Gains and losses):
  >  KPMG gets:
  >  $300,000,000.00+ in future consulting business from
  >  Microsoft.  (Is that from or with... How much would we
  >  get without this agreement? How much MS consulting work
  >  were we doing before?)
  >  Free access to Microsoft software for consulting purposes
  >  (basically a site license for use in demos, training and
  >  evaluations, most vendors give us this type of access by
  >  signing a non disclosure agreement).
  >  Microsoft gets:
  >  All desktop technology in the firm (world wide) must be
  >  switched to MS technology by the summer of 98 with a
  >  total transition time of 3 years.
  >  Control of technology in all of the big 4 consulting
  >  firms, KPMG was the last one.
  >  A 500 person Windows NT practice within KPMG that will
  >  help proliferate Microsoft's vision of the future Windows
  >  NT.
  >  Another battle won on several technical fronts,
  >  eliminating more strong holds of the competition.
  >  Here are some of the "Leverage" points that Microsoft
  >  used during the Negotiation:
  >  (1) Microsoft stated that there were other consulting
  >  organizations that could be called on to perform Microsoft
  >  integration. If KPMG wanted a piece of that pie, KPMG
  >  must be part of the team and therefore agree with the
  >  terms of the proposed agreement. Otherwise MS would be
  >  forced to recommend another consulting organization to
  >  perform the work for MS/KPMG clients.
  >  (2) MS threatened us with a "Very Public" investigation.
  >  MS claimed that they had information that our firm was
  >  in major violation of our Microsoft licensing agreements.
  >  We have site licenses for some of the MS products that
  >  are used internally. Since KPMG's purchases of non-site
  >  licensed products is performed by individual partners
  >  and projects, it is difficult for KPMG to track (at a
  >  corporate level) how many copies of each piece of software
  >  we own. The partnership felt it was best to avoid any
  >  investigation or possible lawsuit and give in to
  >  Microsoft's terms.
  >  [Some articles on the KPMG MS deal can be found by
  >  clicking _here_.]
  >  In conclusion, Microsoft "muscled" their way into KPMG
  >  and kicked out many if not all of the competition. They
  >  used techniques that can be seen as bribery and blackmail
  >  to achieve their goals. Can we say "Racketeering" folks??
  >  To the KPMG people out their, I know that many of you
  >  are frustrated with the technology decisions being made...
  >  remember KPMG is a partnership... If you feel that the
  >  decisions are being made in a vacuum, tell your partner,
  >  let them know what you think... Partners have the power
  >  to make change. Speak up about your needs. If you are
  >  more productive on a Macintosh, let it be known !!! If
  >  you know that NT is not the most effective server platform
  >  for Intranet delivery, tell someone. We all have a
  >  voice... let the facts be heard.. You can make a
  >  difference!!"
  The element of this that smacks of coercion is the
  discussion of "leverage" that MS allegedly used in
  negotiation with KPMG.  MS's ability to align the "Big Six"
  firms to their cause by forcing them to choose to be either
  completely with MS and against their competitors, or be
  completely out of the MS business and face reprisals, is
  one of the biggest issues we need to concern ourselves with.
  This would be an invincible weapon in the corporate market,
  which is where most of the money is.  It also sounds like
  they are requiring the consulting firms to violate ethical
  standards by completely compromising their objectivity and
  balance of expertise, if they have not already done so
  Of course, all of this is unsubstantiated.  :-(
  *** speaking only for myself, not my employer ***