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The Allchin Papers

Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall at the Microsoft Redmond campus during some of their strategy meetings? Well, you almost can, courtesy of Jim Allchin, senior VP of the systems division. Yes! That's the guy whose email about leveraging Microsoft's Windows monopoly to kill Netscape caused such a stir at the DOJ trial and almost cost Microsoft an involuntary breakup. It turns out that, when the DOJ subpoenaed Allchin's email records, they got quite a handful. Most of it was irrelevant to the trial and would have never been publicized. That is if it weren't for my secret source, the Netscape Avenger.

I was contacted by this individual (if it's an individual!) through email. He (or she, or they) directed me to a password-protected web site which contained a veritable treasure trove of top-secret documents from the Microsoft trial. How the Netscape Avenger got his/her/their electronic hands on these documents, I have no idea (although the thought that the Avenger and judge Thomas Penfield Jackson were the same person did cross my mind).

Incidentally, the secret web site could only be accessed using Netscape 7.0, which I have dutifully downloaded and installed (version 7.0 really sucks, but that's another story to which I shall return at some point).

I feel that it is my duty to make some of the secret documents available to the public, even though I am aware of the great dangers to my company--Reliable Software--and to my person, to which I am exposing myself by this selfless act. (In particular, well informed sources at Microsoft told me that their new version of Source Safe [which, by the way, sucks] has a codename "Code Co-op Killer" alluding to my company's flagship version control system. At some point they also had plans to release a game for their XBox system called "Bartosz Killer," which would depict yours truly as an arch-villain in cahoots with the evil Adversaries Of Life empire).

By far the most interesting part of the secret cache was the collection of Jim Allchin's email messages (many addressed to himself, as a form of an online diary). You might have seen some of them quoted in the media in connection with the DOJ investigation, but that was just the tip of the iceberg--a few lines out of megabytes upon megabytes of Allchin's electronic ramblings. Most of them are really boring, those I will skip, but some are of great interest and I shall present them to you with my commentaries.

The first selection dates back to the release of Windows 95. You might remember that the big advertising campaign's centerpiece was the Rolling Stones' song Start me up. Here's how Jim describes the meeting that led to this selection.