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 2/8/2015: KDE Applications 15.08 Beta, Zorin OS 10

    Links for the day



  2. Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

    Links for the day



  3. Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

    Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called 'partners' in the process



  4. As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

    The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'marketing') grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant



  5. Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as 'Linux Hero' and systemd Conference Coming

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  8. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  9. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  10. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  11. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  12. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  13. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  14. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  15. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  16. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  17. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  18. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  19. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  20. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  21. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  22. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  23. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  24. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  25. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  26. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  27. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  28. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  29. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  30. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    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