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This is the original open letter written by Nick Petreley in an attempt to discover the truth behind Ed Curry's allegations.

The results are also available. And they are not pleasant.

An Open Letter to Microsoft

Ed Curry ran a company called Lone Star Evaluation Laboratories in Texas, the company Microsoft chose to write the security diagnostics software that led to Windows NT certification. Ed Curry alleges that Microsoft misrepresented Windows NT to government customers by telling them versions other than 3.5 with service pack 3 were C2 certified.

Here is a known fact: Only one version of Windows NT has ever met with U.S. C2 certification -- Windows NT 3.5 with service pack 3. Even then, NT is only certified as a ***stand-alone system (no network connection)*** on the Compaq Proliant 2000 and Proliant 4000 Pentium systems, and a DECpc AXP/150.

Ed has the advantage of credibility. Ed supplied me with a number of documents to support his case. Those documents verify Ed's qualifications, and they support his claim to some of Microsoft's promises, although some of the promises are only implicit in the written agreements and not spelled-out as they should have been. But if you've spent any time conversing with Ed Curry (he contributes to these forums at times), you'll know he isn't a rabid anti-Microsoft hate monger by any stretch of the imagination.

So I called my contact at Waggoner Edstrom to arrange an interview with a Microsoft representative by phone so I could get Microsoft's side of the story. They agreed, but they didn't want the conversation taped (I tape all my interviews because I'm terrible at taking notes). So I e-mailed a list of questions. (As an aside, I want to praise my contact at Waggoner Edstrom, who went to great lengths to accommodate me and present my questions.) On the advice of their attorneys, Microsoft refused to answer.

I asked my contact at Waggoner-Edstrom to filter the questions any way she liked -- even if it meant removing the issues surrounding Ed Curry -- in order to get some answers. Once again, Microsoft refused to answer anything. You can read this weeks full column for a subset of the issues they will not confirm or deny.

What's going on here? If Ed Curry's claims really don't have two pennies to rub together, surely Microsoft isn't afraid of him. So why the secrecy? Why not simply deny the charges? Doesn't Microsoft realize its silence looks like a tacit admission of guilt? If our tax dollars have paid for thousands of copies of Windows NT that should never have been purchased because they didn't meet government security requirements, I think we have a right to know. Don't you?

Nicholas Petreley