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Bill Gates’ “Security as a lock in” Memo (to Discriminate Against Non-Windows Operating Systems)

Posted in Bill Gates, Java, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: To Bill Gates, “security” is means of advancing Windows and they “need to make this an explicit goal of [their] security strategy”

THE following exhibit, Exhibit px06105 (1997) [PDF], is a real ‘smoking gun’. People often complain about how TPM [1, 2], DRM and the likes of these technologies stifle interoperability and leave some platforms out in the cold.

This may be no accidental side-effect but an actual strategy that comes from the very top of a convicted monopolist. Today’s exhibit very clearly shows what subject Bill Gates has chosen to bring up. The phrase “Security as a lock in” is right there in the subject line:

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 1997 2:53 PM
To: Nathan Myhrvold
Cc: Paul Maritz
Subject: Security as a lock in

I believe as we evolve our security capabilities there must be some way to set this up so that our operating systems have shared secrets with each other that make them work better with each other than with other operating systems – whether it’s JAVAOS layered on top of us or clones or anything else.

I think we need to make this an explicit goal of our security strategy.

Remember Bill Gates' early writings on DRM. It may be the genesis (at least in part) of that whole mess. The memo above gets a nod from Nathan Myhrvold, currently the company's patent troll. Yasov Yacobi passes it to Paul Maritz, who passes it to Jim Allchin. There is no objection to this objectionable suggestion from Bill Gates. It is anti-competitive.

Take-home message: Bill Gates views “security” as a modality for “lock-in”.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px06105, as text

From: Paul Maritz
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 1997 5:29 PM
To: Jim Allchin (Exchange)
Subject: FW: Security as lock in


—–Original Message—–
From: Yasov Yacobi
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 1997 5:29 PM
to: Nathan Myhrvold; Bill Gates
Cc: Paul Maritz; Butler Lampson; Dan Ling; Rick Rashid: Gregory Faust
Subject: RE: Security as a lock in

Shipping every NT with a unique identifying smart card will do. Else, we can challenge whoever claims to be NT to tell the content of some random line of the NT code — that’ll force him to have a complete NT. Real life is messier (different versions, etc.). Will look into it.


—–Original Message—–
From: Nathan MYhrvold
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 1997 3:52 PM
To: Bill Gates
C: Paul Maritz; Butler Lampson; Yacov Yacobi; Dan Ling; Rick Rashid; Gregory Faust
Subject: RE: Security as a lock in

I agree that this seems very possible. There are customer benefits to having system components that can interact after establishing trust via authentication. We will look into it.


—–Original Message—–

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 1997 2:53 PM
To: Nathan Myhrvold
Cc: Paul Maritz
Subject: Security as a lock in

I believe as we evolve our security capabilities there must be some way to set this up so that our operating systems have shared secrets with each other that make them work better with each other than with other operating systems – whether it’s JAVAOS layered on top of us or clones or anything else.

I think we need to make this an explicit goal of our security strategy.


Plaintiff’s Exhibit 6105
Comes V. Microsoft

MS 002770

Credit: wallclimber

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