Testing firm Competitive Systems Analysis has been threatened with a lawsuit if they release benchmark test results comparing Microsoft SQL Server running on Windows 2000 with the same program running on the older Windows NT.
According to figures posted by CSA on their Web site (and subsequently removed), SQL Server turned out to run about twice as fast on NT as on 2000. When these results became evident, Microsoft's own technicians were called in and they worked on software tuning, the methodology and the test equipment for 5 days, but were unable to significantly change the results.
Microsoft invoked a clause in the SQL Server license agreement which specifies benchmark results can not be published without approval of Microsoft. When the test lab resisted, Microsoft threatened the full force of it's massive legal department.
You can read the whole sad story (but not the test results) at Network World.
[ UPDATE: 18-Mar-01 - It has been revealed that these tests were done informally for Network World to reinforce results by Tolly Group that NT was faster than Win 2000 on networks using gigabit Ethernet. The informal approach did not prepare sufficient legal groundwork to resist Microsoft's demands. ]
You think this is bad? Under UCITA it will be illegal for any person or organization that has licensed a software product to say anything negative about it to anyone, or even to reveal the license terms (which you aren't allowed to read until your have paid for the license).
UCITA doesn't even have to pass in your state. Microsoft is lobbying hard to get it passed in the state of Washington, and since that state gives Microsoft absolutely anything it asks for, it's just about certain to pass there. Microsoft licenses will all specify that the prevailing law will be the law of the state of Washington.
If you'd like to feel even more insecure, read our article on Software Licensing.
Microsoft, of course, protests that these test results conflict with their own testing. This is true, because Microsoft's tests are invariably run under highly unrealistic circumstances. For instance, their gigabit Ethernet test used a special "packet-blast" tool and a network with only two clients per segment. We know of a few home based business that have two clients per segment, but that's not exactly an "enterprise" environment.
The truth is, Microsoft's latest software is outperformed by earlier versions and they want to make sure customers don't know that. Actually, we can't think of any Microsoft product that was not significantly slower than its previous version, usually requiring purchase of new computers to retain acceptable performance.
- Andrew Grygus
- Automation Access
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