08.17.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  2. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  3. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  4. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  6. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  7. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  8. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  9. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  10. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  11. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  13. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  15. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  16. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  17. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  18. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  22. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  23. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  24. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  26. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  27. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  28. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  29. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  30. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day


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