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Microsoft, Nikon sign patent-sharing deal

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| Detailed terms of the Nikon deal weren't disclosed, but the companies said
| Nikon is compensating Microsoft through the alliance.




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| THE ALLEGATIONS WERE shocking: For years, Microsoft has systematically
| distorted its profit figures in an effort to consistently beat Wall Street
| expectations and keep its stock price steadily rising. The false reports
| would violate SEC regulations, and amount to outright fraud.
| More shocking was the source of the allegations: Microsoft's chief of
| internal audits, Charlie Pancerzewski, who reported directly to the company's
| chief financial officer.
| Most shocking of all was what happened to Pancerzewski when he reported the
| suspicious bookkeeping to his supervisors, Microsoft CFO Mike Brown and chief
| operating officer Bob Herbold, in the spring of 1995. Soon afterward,
| Pancerzewski—who for nearly five years had received stellar performance
| evaluations—received his first-ever unsatisfactory one, and was eventually
| forced to resign.
| Two months ago, Microsoft quietly settled a lawsuit containing these
| allegations, filed in 1997 by Pancerzewski under the Whistleblowers
| Protection Act. The auditor claimed he was wrongfully terminated after
| telling his supervisors that Microsoft might be breaking securities and tax
| laws. The lawsuit made its tortuous way through several rounds of pretrial
| motions until last fall, when US District Judge Carolyn Dimmick denied
| Microsoft's final plea for summary judgment, finding credible evidence that
| Microsoft may have violated SEC rules, as Pancerzewski alleged. Shortly
| thereafter, Microsoft and Pancerzewski settled out of court. Terms of the
| agreement were sealed, but one source who claims familiarity with the case
| says that Microsoft paid Pancerzewski $4 million.


Microsoft sees slide in profits

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