"I guess we still have some bugs to work out." -- Bill Gates, after Windows 98 crashed during a presentation at the Comdex Spring Computer Show in ChicagoEDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
INSIDE MICROSOFT: A CASE OF DAUGHTER DEAREST?
A NEW BOOK ON MICROSOFT is due on May 20, about the time the Justice Dept. is expected to file antitrust charges against the company. But Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft from the Inside, may be as notable for its authors' backgrounds as for its peek at Microsoft. Publisher Henry Holt says the book will contain revelations from Microsoft programmers about the company's claims that it planned early on to integrate its Internet Explorer browser with its operating system--possibly a key legal issue.
The authors should know. Marlin Eller, a software developer at Microsoft for 13 years before leaving in 1995, wrote the book with journalist Jennifer Edstrom, whose mother, Pam, is co-owner of Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft's longtime PR firm. Mother and daughter have apparently gotten into a major snit about the book. Pam Edstrom confirmed the family relationship, but declined further comment. Says Eller: "They're not speaking to each other." Meanwhile, Eller resisted efforts by Jennifer Edstrom and her editors to include substantial material on the Justice case. The editors won. The last two chapters center on antitrust issues.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
LOUISVILLE'S PIZZA SLUGGERS
FOOD FIGHT! IT STARTED after Pizza Hut's parent, Tricon, moved its headquarters to Louisville last fall after being spun off from PepsiCo. The Derby City was already home to Papa John's International, the No.4-ranked pizza chain and the bane of No.1 Pizza Hut. Now, the rivals are accusing each other of everything short of serving salmonella slices.
Papa John's first targeted Pizza Hut with its "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." TV spots. Incensed, Pizza Hut ran a local newspaper ad accusing Papa John's founder John Schnatter of "Mudslinging. Cheap shots. Misinformation," while snidely noting that Papa John's toppings are "hidden under the cheese." Then, God got dragged into it. On Easter Sunday, Papa John's badmouthed Pizza Hut's tomato sauce in the papers. "Our family believes the hand of God is better than the hand of man," the ad read, likening Pizza Hut's sauce to food "made in the laboratory."
Can the pizza powers achieve detente? The Better Business Bureau brokered a peace on the TV ads. But there's no truce in the print war. Maybe George Mitchell has some spare time now that he's forged a deal in Northern Ireland.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
WHY GAY JOKES MAY MAKE DRESDNER GLUM
HARD ON THE HEELS OF SALOMON SMITH BARNEY's $15 million-plus sexual-harassment settlement, a gay discrimination suit, believed to be the first of its kind on Wall Street, is wending its way through the courts. And if it ends the way plaintiff Joseph Daniel wants it to, his former employer, Germany's Dresdner Bank, could be on the hook for millions.
Daniel says that homophobia, including colleagues' unrelenting "fag jokes," prompted his demotion and eventual dismissal in April, 1997. In federal court, he is asking for $75 million in damages, alleging that Dresdner violated New York City's prohibition against bias based on sexual orientation. Federal courts can preside over cases between U.S. citizens and foreign companies. Lambda Legal Defense Fund is not aware of any previous such suit involving Wall Street.
Dresdner has moved to dismiss, saying the alleged demotion was a case of Daniel's job title being rethought and that his position was lost through downsizing, not bias. It also argues that Daniel was technically employed by Dresdner's securities division, meaning that his complaint should go to arbitration--standard procedure for brokerage houses--and not court.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top