10.06.07

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Microsoft Attacks Novell from a Strategic — Not Technical/Competitive — Persepctive

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Standard at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An item on hostility towards “cross-platform” reveals anti-Novell strategy

In an item that was published the other day, ‘Doug Mitchell’ brought to our attention an invaluable nugget of information. It was a 10-year-old document

The document in question is an OCRed antitrust exhibit [PDF] which reveals Microsoft’s approach to cross-platform development and also the fact that Microsoft was copying Novell and playing catch-up. At the same time, as the previous post clearly indicates, Jim Allchin schemed to “slaughter” Novell. Here are some snippets of the full antitrust exhibit [plain text with OCR errors, PDF] which concentrates on snubbing standards and cross-platform needs.

[Allchin:] I consider this cross-platform issue a disease within, Microsoft. On our current path IE 4 will not be very integrated into Windows. The lE team is not focused on this problem and I was requested to shut down my UI/shell team. Windows will get what other platforms get UNLESS the IE team finds out they can’t do it easily on the Mac, etc. This is the wrong approach. We should be asking for specific Innovations to restricted to Windows. I can’t fight this disease alone. The problem is the company’s 5 not unified on the strategy.

Jim Allchin then proceeds.

[Allchin:] I see the same pattern here as with Novell a few years ago. Some people believed we should drop our work in TCP/IP and only dc only IPXISPX work. It took significant effort in order to convince the PSD team to accept TCP for Windows 95. why? Because we were in copy mode of Novell. We are doing it again. There is a time for this clone strategy, but the better long term approach is always to attack from a more strategic perspective.

Jim Allchin on Novell

The bits about Novell are fascinating in retrospect, in case they were not common knowledge already. Looking at the former bits, did Allchin propose to Bill Gates that they adopt proprietary extensions that would lock rivals out of the market? Recall what Bill Gates said in later E-mail [PDF].

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.

How about some ‘OLE garbage’? How about the general approach to standards [compressed PDF]?

[Microsoft:] “…we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”

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