On July 6, 2005, at least one of the following companies (or its successor and assignee) will exist and sell microcomputers, but will not offer any operating system licensed from Microsoft pre-installed on any of their microcomputers: Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer Corp., Gateway 2000 Inc.
(If all of the four companies listed cease to exist by the above date, the claim will not be satisfied, even if Microsoft disappears. Otherwise, the claim would be satisfied if Microsoft no longer exists or no longer sells operating systems.)
Two questions have been raised. First, what would be the effect of a divestiture or name change of Microsoft? Second, what would be the effect of a break-up or name change of Hewlett Packard (or another of these companies)?
My answer to both questions minimizes the impact of a name change or divestiture on the claim. For the purposes of this claim, the company resulting from a name change shall be considered the same as the company before the name change. Similarly, I will consider the activities of the union of the pieces of a broken-up company in place of the original company.
Specifically, if Microsoft breaks up, I will consider each OS licensed from one of the new companies to be licensed from Microsoft.
If Hewlett Packard breaks up, I will consider the claim to be satisfied if one of the new baby HP companies sells microcomputers but none of the new baby HP companies offers microcomputers with pre-installed Microsoft-licensed operating systems.
Nobody has asked yet about the effect of a merger or corporate acquisition.