04.13.07

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  2. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  3. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  4. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  5. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  6. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  7. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  8. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  9. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  10. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  11. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  12. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  13. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  14. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  15. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  17. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  19. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  20. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  21. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  22. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  24. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  26. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  27. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  28. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  29. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts