Bonum Certa Men Certa

Bill Gates, 1999: Giving out the Office 2000 Formats to Competitors Seems Crazy

Amid discussions about Microsoft's 'Open' formats and hype that surrounds so-called interoperability, here's something which is worth mentioning [PDF]. It is reverse chronological (the 'Microsoft way') and contains a good deal of typos, which we apologise for.

Just look how Bill Gates feels about permitting compatibility with IBM. This series of E-mails speaks for itself.

From: Bob Muglia (Exchange) Sent: Saturday, August 07, 1999 1:20 PM To: Bill gates Subject: RE: JPP response to your source code question etc....

This is a tough one. The format were published on the MSDN website before I took over the group. So the decision about whether or not to publish was already made. This really can't be undone because there are 100's of 1000's of CDs already manufactured which contain the specs.

I can't say for sure why the decision was made to publish this; I suspect that people believed the PR cost exceded the valie of not publishing.

When I took over ATG last year, I was pretty suprised to find this out. At this point, I don't know what to do as the genie is out of the bottle and given our current stance with the file formats (ie. they don't change until at least something major happens), I don't know what can be done about it.

bob

From: Bill Gates Sent: Thursday, August 05, 1999 4:36 PM To: Bob Muglia (exchange) Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc....

Why would the Office group be giving out the Office 2000 formats to competitors? To me this seems crazy.

- Original Message - From: Marc Kuperstein Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 2:35 PM To: Bill Gates; Reed Koch; Will Poole Cc: Marshall Goldberg; Anthony Bay (exchange) Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc....

Wanted to chime in ....

If you were not already aware we provided to Lotus documentation on our Office 2000 HTML/XML file formats. Lotus had requested this information several months back and we worked with the Office team to get this information (a) published and (b) into the hands of companies that wanted to interoperate (e.g., Lotus, Novell, Corel). This effort will do a lot to improve interoperability between the products. Also, it is my understanding that Lotus is planning on supporting import & export of thethese formats in their SmartSuite product.

On the WMT/WMP front - we are in fact making progress but there are still a couple of issues to be worked out. In general -

* I believe we are very close to having Lotus commit to shipping WMP 4.0 with Notes.

* The Lotus/IBM team is working closely with our WMT folks on figuring out ow to best create an Integrated experience. Lotus has told us that they see great value for their customers in having an integrated solution between WNT & Donino/Notes on both the server and client. To the credit of ABay's team, we have been aggressivly evaluating ways to make this happen in the WNT 4.0 timeframe ... but I believe everyone agrees that the desired integration would be very near impossible to achieve today and some aspects would be very expensive and the technology risky. None the less, a lot of progress has been made as a result of these oforts and we are getting closer to a stronger commitment to continue down this path - perhaps including some type of announcement.

- Original Message - From: Marshall Goldberg Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 1:42 PM To: Marc Kuperstein Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc....

You need to see this.

- Original Message - From: Bill Gates Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 11:57 AM To: Reed Kock Cc: Marshall Goldberg; Will Poole Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc

I pass this along...

- Original Message - From: Jeffrey_Papows@lotus.com [mailto:Jeffrey_Papows@Lotus.com Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 6:19 AM To: Bill Gates Cc: Will Poole Subject: FW: JPP response to your source code question etc

Bill,

We strongly believes it is in our customers' best interest to provide compatibility between our desktop applications, particularly file compatibility for word processing (Took us a decade to get there bu hay we've all gotten older if not smarter) - We will provide Microsoft a special .DLL file for accessing Lotus Word Pro files as well as documentation for its use and sample programs under a mutual non-disclosure agreement. Your teams can request this by sending e-mail to Word_pro_API"lotus.com and we will send a, actually I'll get our folks on it proactivly. We can also supply source code for this DLL file and any assistance required by Microsofot in its efforts to build tighter compatability between MS Word and Lotus Word Pro. Feel free to have the appropriate people in your development organization to contact Joe Guthridge (Joe_Guthridge"lotus.com) who heads up the Word Pro team for any further information or clarification or help they need to make things happen... We look forward to working with your crew, and I know our customers will appreciate it. On another note we're fast proceeding on the media player front, we are waiting for a small come back from Will's guys now but have also begun to draft a common release, we should have that work done shortly. Keep me posted. By the way looks like the Y2K legislation go somewhere.

Jeff Papows President and Chief Executive Officer Lotus Development Corporation Voice 617-693-8254 E-Mail: Jeffrey_Papows@lotus.com [mailto:Jeffrey_Papows@Lotus.com]

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