Windows Interface Source Environment
WISE was issued in 1994. WISE software development kits were not directly provided by Microsoft. Instead Microsoft established partnerships to several software providers (which needed to have access to Windows internals source code) which in turn sold WISE SDKs to end-users. A few software providers provided WISE SDKs or emulators, mainly:
- Mainsoft developed a product called Mainwin, which provided an implementation of MFC on Unix platforms,
- Bristol Technology Inc. developed Wind/U, which ran on top of Motif,
- Insignia Solutions provided an emulator called Softwindows,
- Locus Computing Corporation provided an emulator called Merge.
Unfair use of Microsoft dominant position
The WISE program, which was discontinued shortly after its inception, was seen by some[who?] as a Trojan horse designed by Microsoft to penetrate the Unix market. Companies which provided WISE SDKs needed to have access to Windows source code, which made them dependent on Microsoft's good will. In 1999, Bristol Technology Inc., a software company which provided a WISE SDK, sued Microsoft, arguing that it illegally withheld Windows source code and used its dominant position with Windows to move into other markets. A ruling later ordered Microsoft to pay $1 million to Bristol Technologies.
Source code leak
To be able to develop WISE SDKs, software providers needed to have access to Windows internals source code. In 2004, more than 30,000 source files from Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 were leaked to the internet. It was later discovered that the source of the leak originated from Mainsoft, one of the WISE software providers.
- "Windows Interface Source Environment (WISE". January 1995. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- "Analysis: How MS used the WISE Trojan Horse against Unix". theregister.co.uk. 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
Bristol may yet appeal after its loss against Microsoft (as of Friday, it hadn't come to a decision on this), but as the case stands it serves as an awful warning for companies doing business with Microsoft. A nice little business took it into an alliance with Microsoft, then it got sucked in deeper, and then the carrots started to disappear, replaced by the stick.
- "Bristol: Microsoft unfairly withheld NT code". zdnet.co.uk. 1999-06-04. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
Bristol claimed Microsoft raised prices on the contracts unfairly and offered only a sliver of the code. But Microsoft said NT 4 and 5 are far more advanced versions of the operating system and should cost more. Bristol makes a product called Wind/U, which lets developers port programs written for Windows to other operating systems such as Unix.
- "Bristol: Microsoft aggressive, not anti-competitive". zdnet.co.uk. 1999-06-07. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
Bristol sued Microsoft in August, arguing that it illegally withheld source code and used its dominant position with Windows to move into other markets. Prior to filing suit, Bristol had a three-year contract to license Windows NT version 3. But Bristol claimed that when it came time to renew the contract and include versions 4 and 5, Microsoft illegally raised prices.
- "Bristol Technology v. Microsoft". techlawjournal.com. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- "Microsoft Ordered To Pay $1 Million In Bristol Case". crn.com. 2000-09-01. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
"Microsoft's deceptive acts constitute affirmative acts of misconduct which were designed to injure those to whom they were directed, and wantonly risked serious injury, albeit of a purely economic nature," Hall said in her ruling.
- "Mainsoft Eyed as Windows Source Code Leak". internetnews.co. 2004-02-13. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
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