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. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    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