06.26.09

Nathan Myhrvold/Bill Gates Use “Embrace and Extend” Against “Mak[ing] it Easy for People to Do Competitive Operating Systems”

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, OpenDocument, SUN at 2:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft talks about harming competition by embracing and extending

WHEN IT comes to Comes vs Microsoft, we have only just begun. So if you enjoy ‘smoking guns’ that were hardly/never seen before, be sure to subscribe.

This next exhibit, Exhibit plex_5803 (1996) [PDF], is an excellent sequel to the one where Microsoft describes “Embrace and Extend” and the Windows API franchise.

Herein we find Nathan Myhrvold, the world's largest patent troll at present, seemingly passing a long message from Bill Gates, although it is not perfectly clear whether the message came from him or from Gates. The message paints a rather vivid picture of the company’s fear and predatory responses to competition.

For instance, how about this gem at the start?

I am worry a lot about how great Java/Javabeans and all the runtime work they are doing is and how much excitement this is generating. I am literally losing sleep over this issue since together with a move to more server based applications it seems like it could make it easy for people to do competitive operating systems.

The next paragraph is curious too.

I am very interested to get your thoughts on this. Prior to the advanced work you are driving what kind of defenses do we have against this? I certainly havent’ come up with enough to relax about the situation and it is undermining my creativity.

Microsoft fears fair competition where platforms can interoperate:

I think that the risk of Sun really taking the OS franchise away from us is much lower than the risk that they cheapen the entire business. They are so hell bent to give things away, and there is so much cross platform ferver that it will be hard for them or others to harness this energy toward a single platform. In the limit, they can make the web totally OS agnostic but there will still be other things that motivate one platform versus another.

Gates (or Myhrvold) then proposes a malicious “embrace and extend” in order to extinguish Java. Think about MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

The obvious things to do are:

Provide our own means of dramatically improving web pages.

- Continue to “embrace and extend” both at the level of new Java tools (like J++), and our broader browser strategy.

- Create some radical new approaches to improving web pages, or building web applications. I think that it is a big mistake to put all of our eggs in the “embrace and extend” basket. This thinking will lead us down the path to renounce any really interesting edge we could have. Over reliance on “embrace and extend” can lead to what I sometimes call the relentless drive to come in second, which does not help much in a winner take all world.

Here is an embrace (like Microsoft ‘joining’ ODF):

2. Pioneer other means to participate in the new market. It is very rare that there is only one asset that matters. Hell, look at Netscape and Sun – each have an interesting asset, and this is still the EARLY stages of the net. There will be other technologies which matter and we should try to own one of them, even if it is in a totally different direction.

Another last mention of “embrace and extend” (all very explicitly):

We need Windows to be the most compelling platform for users to choose Ideally this means that we win in every category. You are worried that we will only tie in the Java category because Javabeans and other runtime work will make cross platform really work well. I say we should try to tie (or win) with embrace and extend in the Java world.

For naysayings who speak about the age of these exhibits, the important points to be made is that these are new to the public eye and they help educate about Microsoft’s practices, which have never changed since.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex_5803, as text


From: Nathan Myhrvold
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 1996 12:05 PM
To: Bill Gates
Cc: Aaron Contorer
Subject: RE: Java runtime becomes the operating system

——–
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, September 30, 1996 9:36 PM
To: Nathan Myhrvoid
Cc: Aaron Contorer
Subject: Java runtime becomes the operating system

I am worry a lot about how great Java/Javabeans and all the runtime work they are doing is and how much excitement this is generating. I am literally losing sleep over this issue since together with a move to more server based applications it seems like it could make it easy for people to do competitive operating systems.

I am very interested to get your thoughts on this. Prior to the advanced work you are driving what kind of defenses do we have against this? I certainly havent’ come up with enough to relax about the situation and it is undermining my creativity.

I agree that this is a dilemma, but I don’t think that it is severe enough that you should lose sleep over it. Here are some quick thoughts on the matter – I will put more time in on it also.

First, the excitement is overblown at least from a *business* perspective. At the moment Java is expanding into a vacuum. It allows you to make cool web pages, and that is a very attractive thing for people. It gives programmers something new to learn, book people something new to sell books on, software tool companies a way to issue new development tools etc.

As you and know very well, this sort of widespread interest can become a self fulifilling phenomenon, because programmer attention creates programs. Some of these will be successful and that only fuels more participation in the phenomenon. However, at the same time you must keep something of a balanced perspective.

I think that the risk of Sun really taking the OS franchise away from us is much lower than the risk that they cheapen the entire business. They are so hell bent to give things away, and there is so much cross platform ferver that it will be hard for them or others to harness this energy toward a single platform. In the limit, they can make the web totally OS agnostic but there will still be other things that motivate one platform versus another.

In the very long run they could make it more and more difficult for us to keep up and thus even though the world is cross platform, we have more baggage, worse implementation and can’t keep up. This is NOT going to happen quickly however – we will get several more swings at them

The new Java applications are NOT credible threats to traditional PC software any time soon. It is just insanity to think that they are. New things are NEVER a threat to the old world as soon as people say. Look at the mainframe vs PC. It has taken us TWO DECADES and even after all that IBM still has billions in mainframe revenue. Cool new technology always expands rapidly into NEW areas (where there is a vacuum). Pundits always say that this is going to kill the old businesses – eventually that happens but not anywhere near as soon as they say.

It is a new and uncomfortable feeling to be the incumbent rather than the challenger in one of these battles. However, we must not panic. The current perceptual battle is a long way distant from actual business and revenue issues, and we can’t let the perceptual issues cloud our thinking too much.

This is not to say that Java is unimportant It is VERY important (just don’t lose sleep!) I think that you are focusing on the wrong *kind* of threat. We are in danger of losing a new market which will grow at a pace which is very rapid indeed. This would be a tradegy to have happen to us, but it is different than a direct assult on our core asset, and our response must also be different.

The obvious things to do are:

1

Plaintiff’s Exhibit 5803
Comes V. Microsoft

MS-CC-Sun 000001396845
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

1 Provide our own means of dramatically improving web pages.

- Continue to “embrace and extend” both at the level of new Java tools (like J++), and our broader browser strategy.

- Create some radical new approaches to improving web pages, or building web applications. I think that it is a big mistake to put all of our eggs in the “embrace and extend” basket. This thinking will lead us down the path to renounce any really interesting edge we could have. Over reliance on “embrace and extend” can lead to what I sometimes call the relentless drive to come in second, which does not help much in a winner take all world.

Note that by “radical” I mean more in concept than in technology i.e. NOT speech or other really hard stuff. Java is pathetic technology. We do not need high tech here we need some technology but mainly creativity in how we look at it.

2. Pioneer other means to participate in the new market. It is very rare that there is only one asset that matters. Hell, look at Netscape and Sun – each have an interesting asset, and this is still the EARLY stages of the net. There will be other technologies which matter and we should try to own one of them, even if it is in a totally different direction.

The key thing is to come up with something which will be buoyed up by the rising Intemet tide Again, this need not be some super hard technical problem it is more about being creative and finding an opportunity. Here are some examples (none perfect).

- Virtual worlds could be such a thing.

- New ways of doing server apps, or doing net transactions (ala Viper) could be such a thing.

I don’t have as many examples here as I would like, but I am pretty sure that we could come up with some things if we really focussed on this area.

3. Continue to invest in our core business assets – in this case the Windows runtime. 99% of worldwide software revenue is still based on Windows apps, and way more than 100% of profits. If we let Windows decline in its non-web attributes then we will REALLY will be up shit creek. I fear that the overexcitement in the web, and the misunderstanding that our core business is only indirectly under attack means that our current course and speed neglects our best avenue
to comete.

We need Windows to be the most compelling platform for users to choose Ideally this means that we win in every category. You are worried that we will only tie in the Java category because Javabeans and other runtime work will make cross platform really work well. I say we should try to tie (or win) with embrace and extend in the Java world. HOWEVER while doing this we MUST NOT allow Windows to lose in the other, non-web dimensions that are important to users selecting systoms! There is more to a user’s system choice than just the Web and it is in those areas where we have a big advantage.

Put another way suppose that Java is totally successful and totally cross platform then why should people choose one – system versus another? It will all hinge on other areas.

Here are some examples:

- We need to be the LEADER in multimedia this means doing very cool audio and video. We want to lead with DVD and make it easy to. We must be the best platform for games (better than Ultra64 or Playstation). We want to be the best platform for graphics/video/audio authoring (better than SGI or Mac).

- Prevent barriers from coming up in ease of use. PCs must be instant on, they must go beyond plug and play to be even more self configuring, they must be self diagnosing. There is no technical reason why a PC shouldn’t be the best possible user experience better than those hypothetical web terminals. However, this takes WORK to make it happen It will take those web terminal guys some work too, but in our case there is a certain amount of baggage which will cause extra work for us, but will result in extra reward too. It is critical that we do this.

- Leverage the web to provide dramatic new functionality for old applications. The key example here is the “My Workspace” notion of totally abstracting storage on the net. This would be a dramatic change for users – storage abstractions are one of the hardest things to use in current PCs and we can make this all go away. If we do this based on STORAGE (i.e. file system APIs) it can short circuit the longer term move to distribution based on other APIs or
protocols — storage gets you most of the benefit.

2

MS-CC-Sun 000001386846
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

I am frankly worried that we are not doing enough in this area because we have over-focused on the web We need end user focused people to really make our system great. We are handicapped by the fact that we also need to do an implementation technology shift (to NT) and a cultural/personnel shift (to Allchin’s group which has historically focussed more on underlying technology than on end user stuff).

This is a big challenge to do these shifts AND keep the platform vital. The analogy with Apple is frightening. They pissed away their creativity on non-Mac things (Kaleida, Sweet Pea/Pippin, Taligent, Newton…), and they tied up their Mac team with a technology shift (to Power PC). The analogy is unfair because the web work that Siverberg and Ludwig have been doing is much more relevant than what Apple did. However I still am worried that we are not making enough investment in our core asset. The good news is that we do have plenty of people we can focus on these problems, and if we do we can create some end user value that will be hard for anybody else to match.

——————————-

I am not sure whether I managed to make you less worried or more worried. I think that this is a serious problem, but I think that we have more options than you may think particularly with 2 and 3 above.

Nathan

3

MS-CC-Sun 000001386847
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

Credit: wallclimber

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/06/26/eee-versus-cross-platform/

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

What Else is New


  1. The Story of Techrights, in Banners...

    A look back at site banners from 2006-2021; they help illuminate or show our changing focus over the years



  2. With KDE Plasma 5.22 Having Just Been Released It's Time to Give KDE a Try (or Move to GNU/Linux, Leveraging the Best Features of Any Operating System Out There)

    A quick recommendation of KDE based on a reasonably recent (but not latest) build; there's this myth about KDE being difficult and flaky, but for a number of decades it has been the most advanced desktop (on any operating system) and its developers managed to hide the complexity while offering users all the power they may want/need



  3. Open Letter to the FSF About Taking Control of the FSF's (and GNU's) IRC Channels

    The FSF should have seized the opportunity, in light of self-harming IRC infighting (instability and unpredictability), to create its own IRC network and then help this new (or "GNU") network flourish



  4. EU Already Captured by -- and Lying for -- Corrupt EPO Officials, Team UPC, and Lobbyists of Multinational Corporations

    12 pages of lies; is the European Parliament reduced to a mere marionette of corrupt officials who run the EPO into the ground?



  5. [Meme] Virtual Code of Conduct (ViCoC)

    Cheapening of basic concepts and principles like "right to be heard" or "access to justice" is an international trend; we need to push back in the direction of justice, not fake 'innovation' or 'tech' (where it clearly does not belong)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 11, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, June 11, 2021



  7. Virtual Injustice -- Part 4: Mihály Ficsor, the EPO's Hungarian “Fixer”

    One key operative of António Campinos, who is fiercely in favour of software patents, has quite a colourful past and background



  8. Conversation With Richard Stallman in Brazil, May 31st 2021

    At the end of last month Richard Stallman had a 2-hour (and beyond, considering some of the afterthoughts) conversation, which is now available online



  9. Links 11/6/2021: Nginx Rising and SteamPal Rumours

    Links for the day



  10. New Introduction at Gemini

    As part of ongoing improvements to our capsule we have a new introductory text, reproduced below



  11. Links 11/6/2021: A Torvalds COVID Rant and RISC-V Risk of Takeover

    Links for the day



  12. Petition Against Richard Stallman Continues Losing Signatures, Open Letter of Support Reaches 6,750 Signatures

    The latest (if not last) person to garden the anti-RMS petition is an IBM employee. As has been the case for months. Another removal. IBM has a grudge against GNU's founder and by extension the FSF (they want the FSF to be a slave of IBM, just like the Linux Foundation is; we last covered this a day ago). “An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation” has meanwhile reached 6,750 signatures and that number grows by about 50 every 3-4 weeks, so it’s reasonable to expect 7,000 by year’s end. The anti-RMS petition may fall below 3,000.



  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 10, 2021



  14. Virtual Injustice -- Part 3: All the President's Men…

    Benoît Battistelli‘s army of minions, combined with former colleagues of António Campinos, team up to participate in the legal fudge of the EPO



  15. EPO ‘ViCo’ Prior Art (or ViCo Going Back to the 1980s)

    A previous post (video from yesterday) gave examples of prior art from the early/ier 1990s, debunking the EPO’s foolish and irrational embrace of this notion that so-called ‘ViCo’ is so absolutely incredible (we’ve kept talking, e.g. in many prior videos, about how the only real ‘innovation’ was connection speeds); MinceR recalls that “when UMTS (“3G”) was new, video calls on mobile was the feature that was supposed to sell the technology” and in the mid-80s you could already see who you spoke to (almost) in real time



  16. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Needs to Get Its Act Together on the EPO's GDPR Violations

    EU authorities aren't keeping abreast of EPO abuses; as a result, people's basic rights and fundamental sense of dignity erode, with impunity resulting in passage of massive piles of data to foreign corporations and governments that engage in industrial and political espionage



  17. Links 10/6/2021: Raspberry Digital Signage 15.0, NVIDIA Driver 470

    Links for the day



  18. EPO 'ViCo' Prior Art (~30 Years Ago): Barely Innovative at All

    Debunking the EPO‘s Big Lie that ViCo is some sort of incredible and innovative thing that must therefore be embraced fully; the missing ingredient was fast network connections, so there’s no excuse for EPO claiming that we must embrace such stuff irrespective of the law, constitutions etc.



  19. Improvements in the Techrights Gemini Capsule

    Further improvements are being made to our Gemini capsule, which contains all the latest stories sans the graphics; it now has a total of 35,820 pages



  20. Linux Foundation is a Foundation of Mass Surveillance

    Whatever the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation touches turns to dust; they’re already killed the site known as Linux.com and now they scatter the “Linux” brand to the wind (in pursuit of misbranding cash)



  21. [Meme] Lord Justice Sir

    Inspired by an old Internet joke, we present the state of EPO 'justice'



  22. The EPO's Lack of Objective Legal System is No Laughing Matter

    The array of abuses committed by António Campinos and his EPO minions (people who meddle in legal affairs) is mentioned in this new video; we focus on what was shown this morning, i.e. in Part 2 of an ongoing series (to last two more weeks)



  23. Virtual Injustice -- Part 2: The ViCo Oral Proceedings of 28 May 2021

    More than half a day of theatrics and stonewalling by the EBA may have done a damage so enormous to the EBA's credibility that irrespective of the final outcome the case is already seen as compromised



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 09, 2021



  25. Links 10/6/2021: KDE Gear 21.08 Schedule, Librem 5 USA Supply Chain Security

    Links for the day



  26. Linux: Bugs Welcome

    With UEFI ‘secure boot’ (aka ‘wontboot’ [1, 2]) and bad BIOS, are we just accepting malicious ‘features’ and inherently bad design?



  27. Links 9/6/2021: Krita 4.4.5 and Mabox Linux 21.06 Geralt

    Links for the day



  28. Purpose of Patents

    Don't lose sight of what patents are truly about



  29. Why We Fight for Real Justice at the European Patent Office

    European citizens need to join us and demand that the judges who assess patentability (w.r.t. public interest, the EPC, and common sense) do the right thing, not just based on career objectives (which at the EPO means loyalty to patent maximalists with little or no scientific background)



  30. Virtual Injustice -- Part 1: António's Increasingly Wonky Legal Fudge Factory

    The EPO‘s attack on the independence of judges and on patent tribunals’ autonomy hasn’t stopped after Benoît Battistelli left; we take a closer look at the G 1/21 hearing, which took place at the end of May


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