01.27.09

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Walt Mossberg and Bill Gates Know Each Other Well

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 6:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And Microsoft compares OEMs to “delivery people”

Couple
‘Independent’ journalism

HAVING witnessed and come across journalists who develop relationships in Microsoft, with whom they coordinate their writings, it seems important to disclose and inform. Examples that are more familiar include Bloomberg's Dina Bass, Rob Enderle [1, 2], and Maureen O’Gara [1, 2].

“Buried among piles of evidence in the Comes vs Microsoft case (which Microsoft settled very quickly in order to hide the truth) we find the company’s correspondence with Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg.”Buried among piles of evidence in the Comes vs Microsoft case (which Microsoft settled very quickly in order to hide the truth) we find the company’s correspondence with Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg. This is interesting for various reasons; the first is that Microsoft shamelessly compares companies like Dell and H-P to “delivery people”, the second is that it shows a long-standing relationship between Gates and Mossberg and thirdly, as one of our readers put it, “Mossberg is just as much in Microsoft’s pocket as Rob Guth [...] Mossberg has consistently bashed free software and completely missed the boat on investigating Microsoft wrongdoing. [...] His collusion in the name of convenience is an endorsement of corruption. The more “reasonable” he makes that endorsement seem, the more evil it is.”

A partial summary of Walt Mossberg’s merciless (and consistent) criticisms of everything Free software is already available and Exhibit plex0_2905 [PDF], which appears as plain text below, ought to leave the rest to readers’ own judgment.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex0_2905, as text


PLAINTIFF’S
EXHIBIT

2905

Comes v. Microsoft

From: Brad Chase
Sent: Friday, May 15. 1998 3:57 PM
To: Walt Mossberg (E-mail); Bill Gates
Cc: Brad Chase
Subject: Windows 98

lets keep this discussion going a bit. we support choice and agree with your fundamental point there on how oems present windows. understand your view that says the best product should win and that we should let oems do their own shells. we do let oems ship their own shells today but they can’t boot up into them directly . the user has to select them say by clicking on a link the oem can add to the desktop or somewhere else we also let the oems do significant customization of windows that they can boot up into. finally oerms can add anything may want to on the windows desktop they can add navigator and they can even make it the default browser.

however. if corns can boot up into an alternative shell then what is Windows? we market and invest significant R@D into Windows and if anyone can change its initial UI then that impacts people’s understanding of windows, in additions, it sets up a situation where our Competitors can try to replace Windows with their own UI and apis. again an oem could ship the these UIs and APIs today but it is aIot to ask us to have the users first boot and experience with Windows be. not Windows, but a competitive shell or OS.

take the wsj for example. you ship via delivery people. they are your oems. you have dominant share of the daily news market. what if the delivery people. could substitute someone’s else’s front page for your own and furthermore what if it was not even clear that it wasn’t the wsj? it content and design that makes the wsj. now you support choice and competition to but the wsj would not allow that for that matter may would not even allow the delivery boy to add vie NY Times business section to the inside of the WSJ. we, in essence, allow the equivalent, by allowing oems to add any icon to the desktop and even allowing navigator to be the default.

you night argue that people know the Windows UI so they can tell but many people don’t and besides we want to improve the UI over lime and that will mean changes so it will look differently.

walt we have become a leader but to innovate in windows includes the UI and while I understand your point of view on this I would contend that we are being asked to hold to a radically different standard then anyone else would ever be asked to be held to

—Original Message—
From: Walt Mossberg [mailto: mossberg@swj.com]
Sent: Friday, May 15. 1998 7:38 AM
To: Bill Gates
Cc: Brad Chase
Subject: Re: Wndows9B
Importance. High

Bill.

I was glad to have a dialog with you and Brad before I wrote my Win98 column. and I’m glad to have your views on now it came out. As you know, from the very first time we met back in 1991, I have invited you to let me know what you like and dislike. about what I write and nave extended the same invitation to others in the industry. I believe we in the media sometimes are too closed off from outside views, and I feel a responsibility to open myself to them, especially because Journal is a very influential platform and as a columnist rather man a reporter, I have great license to express opinions. Our exchanges did in fact have an impact on what I finally wrote.

On your conflict with the government I appreciate your sharing your views on it. As I’ve explained. I’m not up on all the details of the the situation because it hasn’t been my responsibility to cover it.

But I would observe, just as a personal view, that there’s a distinction between your retaining full ability to integrate innovative features into Windows — like the browser or, eventually, speech recognition — and tie wall of formal and informal business arrangements you typically have built around Windows to restrict how OEMs can present it to users. It seem to me there’d be nothing wrong with agreeing to let Compaq do its own shell or opening screen. Just like they once did in the Win 3.1 days. even though

MS-PCA1541608


they did it badly. I might Criticize these screens if they wore too marketing-oriented, just as I have criticized your own desktop channel bar for plastering ads on the user’s desktop. But _in principle_ I see nothing wrong with it. Hell, somebody might even hit upon a simpler or better metaphor using HTML for the shell, just lite HP and then Compaq did a good thing for users by adding a hard-wired keyboard Internet button, which launches a browser and dialer.

I also really do think users benefit from choice, so a pre-load of Navigator would be fine, assuming Netscape can cut the deals This a no different from the common bundling of AOL, MSN and CompuServe on new machines. or from some OEM packages which include both Quicken and Money.

I think JIE, in both standalone form, and in the form of the ActiveX control, should be able to stand on its own quite well in the competitor with Navigator, even if both were available or some new PCs. And I thank Outlook Express is more than a match for Netscape Mail or Eudora as a POP/flMAP4 client

These are just my random thoughts, and I have no idea whether they are relevant to your current talks. I hope you can gain a settlement.

Walt Mossberg

===========================
Wait Mossberg
Personal Technology Columnist
The Wall Street Journal

—Original Message—
From: Bill Gates <billg@MICROSOFT.com>
To: Watt Mossberg <mossberg@wsj.dowjones.com>
Dale: Thursday, May 14, 1998 7:29PM
Subject RE: Windows98

Thanks for engaging with us on a discussion of Windows98 before your column came out. Brad and I were discussing just now that although we feel the article is not really as possible as we might have hoped for you followed your admirable approach of calling it exactly like your see it. Windows98′s biggest impact will be problems that don’t occur for the millions of people who get it on new machines or choose to upgrade but you right that it is not a vital upgrade. The peripheral makers and retails channel are not enthused about the product. I hope the “Update” feature can change how we distribute fixes and driver improvements. As always you were thoughtful and fair in your analysis even if you don’t see it exactly the same way.

Our biggest problem with the government is the principle that us adding new features like the browser is a bad thing. So far they just aren’t showing any willingness to accept the fact that the browser is not there just because it makes Netscape’s life hard. This is the principle we can’t give up on and they still haven’t budged on it. It seems a crime to have a lawsuit because of this when the law and the consumer benefits are so clear.

The use the word “consumer choice” to talk about letting OEMs side the browser from the users. We got started down this path because they decided that most features of the OS could be separated out like the device drivers.
Wordpad, the file viewers, the network stack and that maybe we wouldn’t be able to package them into a single product. We always told them the browser was a bad place to start because the deletion breaks things but they were confused on that point. They thought the remove function actually deleted the browser which of course it did not — only the invoker and some tiny ICW files. When the browser goes so do the browser APIs.

Having all the government resources against a company like this is mindblowing. I hope I get a change to get back to software before I see you next.

MS-PCA1 541609


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5 Comments

  1. mpz said,

    January 27, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Gravatar

    That seems odd behaviour for a ‘journalist’? Solicit (and incorporate!) feedback from the vendor in his writeups?

    Well if this is true …

    http://blogs.businessweek.com/the_thread/blogspotting/archives/2008/06/walt_mossberg_r.html

    … he’s probably worth any influence MS or any other company get … Apple for instance, going by the google results – never heard of him before myself.

  2. twitter said,

    January 27, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Gravatar

    The relationship you see above, mpz, is odd for a journalist and their beat. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly, but Mossberg has gone far beyond that. The anti-trust trial, one of the biggest stories of the decade for example, is discussed as co-conspirators. Mossberg says, “I’m not up on all the details of the the situation because it hasn’t been my responsibility to cover it, ” and, “I hope you can gain a settlement.” That’s like a police man walking past a corpse and wishing the accused murderer well while sympathetically discusses the details of the crime.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 27, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Gravatar

    He must educate himself wrt the broader picture.

    It is not possible (and not responsible) to cover one small aspect of a system without knowing how it relates to others.

  4. macmascot said,

    January 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Walt Mossberg is a Mac user and evangelizes for Apple’s superior OS and computers every chance he gets.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Gravatar

    I am also well aware of his Mac fetish.

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