EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.13.07

Bill Gates, 1999: Giving out the Office 2000 Formats to Competitors Seems Crazy

Posted in Formats, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Office Suites at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amid discussions about Microsoft’s ‘Open’ formats and hype that surrounds so-called interoperability, here’s something which is worth mentioning [PDF]. It is reverse chronological (the ‘Microsoft way’) and contains a good deal of typos, which we apologise for.

Just look how Bill Gates feels about permitting compatibility with IBM. This series of E-mails speaks for itself.

From: Bob Muglia (Exchange)
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 1999 1:20 PM
To: Bill gates
Subject: RE: JPP response to your source code question etc….

This is a tough one. The format were published on the MSDN website before I took over the group. So the decision about whether or not to publish was already made. This really can’t be undone because there are 100′s of 1000′s of CDs already manufactured which contain the specs.

I can’t say for sure why the decision was made to publish this; I suspect that people believed the PR cost exceded the valie of not publishing.

When I took over ATG last year, I was pretty suprised to find this out. At this point, I don’t know what to do as the genie is out of the bottle and given our current stance with the file formats (ie. they don’t change until at least something major happens), I don’t know what can be done about it.

bob

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 1999 4:36 PM
To: Bob Muglia (exchange)
Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc….

Why would the Office group be giving out the Office 2000 formats to competitors? To me this seems crazy.

- Original Message -
From: Marc Kuperstein
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 2:35 PM
To: Bill Gates; Reed Koch; Will Poole
Cc: Marshall Goldberg; Anthony Bay (exchange)
Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc….

Wanted to chime in ….

If you were not already aware we provided to Lotus documentation on our Office 2000 HTML/XML file formats. Lotus had requested this information several months back and we worked with the Office team to get this information (a) published and (b) into the hands of companies that wanted to interoperate (e.g., Lotus, Novell, Corel). This effort will do a lot to improve interoperability between the products. Also, it is my understanding that Lotus is planning on supporting import & export of thethese formats in their SmartSuite product.

On the WMT/WMP front – we are in fact making progress but there are still a couple of issues to be worked out. In general -

* I believe we are very close to having Lotus commit to shipping WMP 4.0 with Notes.

* The Lotus/IBM team is working closely with our WMT folks on figuring out ow to best create an Integrated experience. Lotus has told us that they see great value for their customers in having an integrated solution between WNT & Donino/Notes on both the server and client. To the credit of ABay’s team, we have been aggressivly evaluating ways to make this happen in the WNT 4.0 timeframe … but I believe everyone agrees that the desired integration would be very near impossible to achieve today and some aspects would be very expensive and the technology risky. None the less, a lot of progress has been made as a result of these oforts and we are getting closer to a stronger commitment to continue down this path – perhaps including some type of
announcement.

- Original Message -
From: Marshall Goldberg
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 1:42 PM
To: Marc Kuperstein
Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc….

You need to see this.

- Original Message -
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 11:57 AM
To: Reed Kock
Cc: Marshall Goldberg; Will Poole
Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc

I pass this along…

- Original Message -
From: Jeffrey_Papows@lotus.com [mailto:Jeffrey_Papows@Lotus.com
Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 6:19 AM
To: Bill Gates
Cc: Will Poole
Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc

Bill,

We strongly believes it is in our customers' best interest to provide compatibility between our desktop applications, particularly file compatibility for word processing (Took us a decade to get there bu hay we've all gotten older if not smarter) - We will provide Microsoft a special .DLL file for accessing Lotus Word Pro files as well as
documentation for its use and sample programs under a mutual non-disclosure agreement. Your teams can request this by sending e-mail to Word_pro_API"lotus.com and we will send a, actually I'll get our folks on it proactivly. We can also supply source code for this DLL file and any assistance required by Microsofot in its efforts to build tighter compatability between MS Word and Lotus Word Pro. Feel free to have the appropriate people in your development organization to contact Joe Guthridge (Joe_Guthridge"lotus.com) who heads up the Word Pro team for any further information or clarification or help they need to make things happen... We look forward to working with your crew, and I know our customers will appreciate it. On another note we're fast proceeding on the media player front, we are waiting for a small come
back from Will's guys now but have also begun to draft a common release, we should have that work done shortly. Keep me posted. By the way looks like the Y2K legislation go somewhere.

Jeff Papows
President and Chief Executive Officer
Lotus Development Corporation
Voice 617-693-8254
E-Mail: Jeffrey_Papows@lotus.com [mailto:Jeffrey_Papows@Lotus.com]

EMAIL ATTACHMENT WILL NOT OPEN

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    April 13, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Gravatar

    In fact, the BillG memo is more innocent than you might think.

    On the one hand, you can still purchase old CDs from MSDN Library, thus grab the specs. On the other hand, what the memo does not say is that what was published in MSDN Library was only a fraction of the actual file format specs.

    This memo (http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/2000/PX02991.pdf) also from BillG is much more devastating in its consequences. To put it in context, you have to remember that back in 1999/2000 days, Microsoft Office was putting all bets on the web documents of the future, MS Office documents that would render in Internet Explorer which meant that in order for anyone to render an MS Office document, you would still be required to use Windows and Internet Explorer. The VML library, built in Internet Explorer, is actually the code porting of the internal MSO layer that is shared across all MS Office applications/documents. That was the trick to ensure that no non-Microsoft party would be able to render this stuff properly : VML, among other libraries, has never been adequately documented (and the VML markup documentation farce added in OOXML is just a sad attempt to betray specs reviewers that don’t pay enough time doing actual review).

    That is still true today since OOXML is just a fraction of what is need to instantiate Office 2007 documents.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks, Stephane. Here’s a better memo, to address your point.

    From: Bill Gates
    Sent: Saturday, December 05, 1998 9:44 AM
    To: Bob Muglia (Exchange); Jon DeVaan; Steven Sinofsky
    Cc: Paul Mariz
    Subject: Office rendering

    One thing we have got to change is our strategy — allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by OTHER PEOPLES BROWSERS is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company.

    We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities.

    Anything else is suicide for our platform. This is a case where Office has to to destroy Windows.

What Else is New


  1. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  4. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  6. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  7. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  9. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  10. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  11. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  12. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  13. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  14. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  15. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  16. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  17. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  18. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  19. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  20. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  21. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  22. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  23. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  24. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  25. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  26. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  27. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  28. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  29. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts