EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.17.09

How Bill Gates Denied Access to Office File Format Documentation to Stifle Competition

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 1:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s former chairman shows the company’s attitude towards accessible file formats and competition

IT is interesting enough to know that Microsoft deliberately makes its documentation deficient and unavailable (the word “undocumentation” is actually used internally), but to know who is responsible for it is even more interesting. Comes vs Microsoft Exhibit PX03104 (2000) [PDF] provides an answer which fits the pattern seen in other E-mails.

We’ve recently change the policy for distributing our file formats, at the request of BillG. We used to be fairly lax about giving it out to pretty much everyone who asked for it (Excel even published a book through MS Press).

Our new policy (for Office2000) is that there are restrictions on use (can’t build converters, can’t be a competitor to any of the apps, etc). We required a signed license agreement in hand before we’ll send them the docs. They have to tell us who they are and what their company does, as well as their intended use.

Privileged Material
Redacted

Once we get a copy of the signed agreement back, I sign for Microsoft, and we send them back a hard copy of the agreement via snail mail, and send them the docs via email

This should not be particularly surprising. See other Comes vs Microsoft exhibits that we covered in:

For the investigative, there is more in our Wiki. The full text from this latest exhibit can be found beneath. It is particularly valuable to those who study Microsoft’s reluctance to support open standards, let alone permit other office suites to inter-operate (free of charge). Based on the correspondence below, Microsoft deliberately targets possible competition and hinders access to vital data if the competition is serious. Shouldn’t the European Commission take a look?


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX03104, as text


From: Marc Olson
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2000 7:21 AM
To: Norman Gilinsky
Cc: Joel Frauenheim
Subject: RE: Visio file format

Thanks, he sent a message to the alias and I’ve been in touch with him.

—-Original Message—-
From: Norman Gilinsky
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2000 7:01 AM
To: Marc Olson
Cc: Joel Frauenheim
Subject: RE: Visio file format

Joel Frauenheim will be handling distribution of file format

Norm

—-Original Message—-
From: Marc Olson
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2000 3:49 PM
To: Norman Gilinsky
Subject: FW: Visio file format

Hi Norm,

I don’t know how urgent this project is–is someone covering the file format distribution in Tim’s absence?

Marc

—-Original Message—-
From: Marc Olson
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2000 7:48 AM
To: Tim Davenport
Cc: Erich Andersen (LCA)
Subject: RE: Visio file format

Hi Tim,

We’ve recently change the policy for distributing our file formats, at the request of BillG. We used to be fairly lax about giving it out to pretty much everyone who asked for it (Excel even published a book through MS Press).

Our new policy (for Office2000) is that there are restrictions on use (can’t build converters, can’t be a competitor to any of the apps, etc). We required a signed license agreement in hand before we’ll send them the docs. They have to tell us who they are and what their company does, as well as their intended use.

Privileged Material
Redacted

Once we get a copy of the signed agreement back, I sign for Microsoft, and we send them back a hard copy of the agreement via snail mail, and send them the docs via email

Marc

<< File Word 2000 License.doc >>

—-Original Message—-
From: Tim Davenport
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2000 5:14 PM
To: Office File Format Request
Subject: Visio file format

Hello.

MS-PCA 2545864
HIGHLY
CONFIDENTIAL


As you may know, Visio is now a Microsoft product. We recently completed the documentation of the Video file format and we want to distribute it in the same manner as the Office docs are distributed. I know that there is a page on MSDN that tells requestors to e-mail this alias and ask for the Office documentation. Do you require that they supply you with the details of what they plan to do with it? Do you make them sign any kind of agreement? Is the documentation stamped with “Microsoft Confidential”?

Thanks for any information you can provide me.

Tim Davenport (Timda)
Program Manager
VIsio

MS-PCA 2545865
HIGHLY
CONFIDENTIAL

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

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

2 Comments

  1. Jose_X said,

    August 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Gravatar

    The “docs’ are garbage whether people sign or not.

    Another Comes quote from the late 1990s I think was about how wine would be much more evolved if wine devs had access to source code and info not discernable from the docs (eg, “bugs”/misimplementations/extensions/etc in MS products).

    Samba had clearly been dealing with headaches and lack of docs by this time.

    These papers being signed might involve patent acknowledgments [?]

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Nowhere does it say what happens if a solid competitor requests those documents.

What Else is New


  1. Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 06, 2020



  3. Our Collective Privacy is Under Unprecedented Attacks and Privacy is Now Conflated With Bad Hygiene, Not Just Criminality

    At warp speed the "War on cash" or "War on anonymous transactions" is moving ahead; now that COVID-19 infects a lot of people we're led to assume that mass surveillance saves lives not because of counter-terrorism but because of contact-tracing or whatever (in practice it's hardly effective, but it's conditioning people to give up any remnants of their privacy)



  4. The Psychology of Developers

    "It turns out, there are ways around a free license -- you can make software "less free" or more imposing, without changing the license at all."



  5. Social Justice is Fine... When It is Not Just a Shallow Marketing Ploy

    Don't let well-meaning concepts such as "Social Justice" become mere buzzwords or tools of corporate propaganda (greedy people's objectives disguised as populism)



  6. Site Upgrades Likely Coming Soon

    After more than 28,000 posts are published it might be time to move from the WordPress x.9.x LTS to something newer (5.5 is about to be released); we explain why it’s not as simple as it might first seem



  7. Focus on the Big Issues, Not the Words

    The pattern that is emerging in recent months if not years is that words hurt and therefore contributors to code must shut up about injustices, including corporate misbehaviour



  8. Computing vs. Marketing

    “The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”



  9. Release: Several Police Reports About Searching the Home of Bill Gates' Engineer (Stockpiles of Child Pornography Found Along With Illegal Firearm)

    The final part of the first installment from Seattle PD, this one focusing on people who searched the home to find a lot of underage pornographic material being amassed



  10. Video: Microsoft-Sponsored 'Copyleft' Conf (Keynote Sold to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator and Primary FUD Source) Features Previous FSF (Co)President and RMS Ouster

    There's now a video online of the debates in CopyleftConf 2020



  11. Miseducation

    "...the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren't teaching computers at all -- they're doing application training."



  12. [Meme] RMS Succeeded by a Microsoft Sponsor

    Congratulations to the FSF, which elected a president almost a year after pushing RMS (its founder) out; but questions need to be answered by the new president, who apparently sees nothing wrong reinforcing the Microsoft monopoly, participating in a PR ploy designed to distract from the notorious ICE contract, and even paying Microsoft (as if it deserves the money)



  13. Controlling Your Computing

    "We at least want our software to be free, and for a while, that was possible. We want software to be free again, so let's talk about what made it free, what made it less free, and what could hopefully improve in the future."



  14. User Libre: Free Computing For Everyone, Start With Perfection

    "As the threats to user freedom evolve, so too must the response to those threats. So long as freedom remains the first priority, worthwhile responses will give more power to every user, and keep limits on how much control can be imposed by developers."



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 05, 2020



  16. Release: Search Warrant and Reports on Findings When Bill Gates' Engineer Arrested for Pedophilia

    Readers can finally see all the details about what was taken (portable drives, laptop, desktop etc.) and what was found when a search was executed at the home of Bill Gates' engineer while he was at Bill's house (where he worked regularly); as far as we are aware, the police never searched Bill's house and computers



  17. Links 6/8/2020: FSF Has New Chief, LibreOffice 7.0, Linux App Summit Goes Online

    Links for the day



  18. Links 5/8/2020: Wayfire 0.5 and Plasma Browser Integration

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 04, 2020



  20. SUSE is Still Pushing Microsoft Proprietary Software and Bragging About the Novell Patent Collusion With Microsoft

    SUSE seems to have learned no lessons after the aftermath of its (or Novell’s) Microsoft patent scam, which had been negotiated partly by Miguel de Icaza (now working directly for Microsoft) before causing Novell to collapse and offload its patents to Microsoft (‘TikTok operandi’ or asset stripping); the past cannot be left behind if SUSE — like Novell — celebrates and perpetuates that past



  21. Release: 29 Pages of Internet Access Report About Pedophile Working for Bill Gates at His Home

    As we’ve found nothing too sensitive in the document, today we’re finally disclosing and publishing the second release (first one published yesterday); this includes network addresses used on the devices of the engineer of Bill Gates, who had a laptop and external hard drives (portable) with plenty of child pornography (imagery and videos)



  22. Links 4/8/2020: Kodachi 7.2, Collabora Office 6.4

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] Nadella is Doing With Donald Trump What Ballmer Did With Elop and Icahn to Steal Other Companies (Nokia and Yahoo, Respectively)

    The illegal (attempted) confiscation of a Chinese company to distract from or compensate for Microsoft's collapse reminds us that Microsoft is only getting worse and more malicious under Nadella, who is happy to liaise with a hugely corrupt and racist regime



  24. We Don't Really Know How Many People Died With (or From) COVID-19 and How Many Will Die After Home Recovery or Release From Hospital

    The coronavirus pandemic that began last year as an epidemic (COVID-19) is still a very serious problem, even half a year after its widespread arrival in Europe; it's important to emphasise the importance of not down-playing this problem (which is far from solved) because social control media is full of junk



  25. IRC Proceedings: Monday, August 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, August 03, 2020



  26. Release: Police Report About Arrest of Bill Gates Engineer for Pedophilia (Detained at Residence of Bill Gates)

    Today we release 15 pages (amongst almost 3,000 pages we have) about the Jones arrest; this includes details about what happened when the detectives came to the home of Bill Gates



  27. Bill Gates' Personal Engineer Rick Jones is Connected to Other Child Pornographers. One Key Contact Works (or Worked) Indirectly for Microsoft.

    MagicHour listed Microsoft among their clients, as we noted before, and the full (redacted for child porn reasons) name is Brett Paine. We had reached out to the employer (several of us, separately), but we never received any reply.



  28. Links 3/8/2020: Linux 5.8, GNU Linux-libre 5.8, Libinput 1.16, Rust 1.45.2, Julia 1.5

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 02, 2020



  30. [Meme] Is It Not a Layoffs Round When You Rebrand It?

    More and more Microsoft layoffs; but the media is hardly interested in reporting those and/or analysing the growing scale of the layoffs (about half a dozen rounds of layoffs this summer alone)


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