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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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 29/3/2015: Red Hat's Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Speculations That Microsoft is About to Buy Cyanogen (or at Least Officially Partner) to Attack Google's Android/Linux, Replacing Everything With Microsoft

    Articles in the corporate media and some analysis from smaller media sites serve to highlight the role which Microsoft plays in Cyanogen



  3. Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  5. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  6. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  7. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  8. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  9. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  10. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  11. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  12. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  13. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  15. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  16. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  17. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  18. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  19. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  20. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  21. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  22. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux



  24. Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

    Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office



  25. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

    A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations



  26. The Royal Norwegian Department of Labour on the Right of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers to Strike

    The role of bureaucrats from Norway in defending (or not) the rights of EPO workers -- rights that the EPO's management is actively trying to deny and punish for



  27. Michael Silver Back to Acting as Gartner's Microsoft Agent, Promoting Vista 10 Based on False Promises

    Vista 10 in the headlines as its marketing propaganda zones in on false perceptions around cost, aided in part by longtime foes of GNU/Linux such as Gartner, especially its Microsoft-embedded elements (Michael Silver and co-workers)



  28. Despite Media Propaganda About Security, Microsoft Windows Remains the Least Secure Operating System, by Design

    Amid highly misleading security-centric reports that rely on Microsoft's bogus number of vulnerabilities (Microsoft already admitted hiding many of them) Techrights presents recent news about Windows 'security'



  29. Canonical Goes to Bed With Company That Sues Linux Using Software Patents and Copyrights (Through SCO)

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on GNU/Linux, Canonical is foolish enough to give Microsoft control over many Ubuntu instances



  30. Links 22/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Shaping Up, LibrePlanet 2015

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts