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Bill Gates on C# as “Key Element in Preventing Commodization by Linux”

Summary: Insights from Bill Gates (and colleagues) on platform strategy

THE NEXT exhibit which we deal with is Exhibit PX06917 (2001) [PDF]. This relatively recent one has had OCR applied to the PDF. It is only 2-3 pages long (depending on whether one needs the attachment/s).



Let us just summarise a few key points. Microsoft is afraid of Java; very much afraid not only because it's better, but also because of its support (with parity) for many distinguishable platforms. It's not Windows-centric like .NET.

Bill Gates tells Jim Allchin and Steve Ballmer:

Our applications platform message is quite confused today. Pieces like CLR, WMI, MSMQ, XML runtime, Biztalk, MTS,IIS, ASP+, Load Balancing, Message bus, ,SOAP, UDDI and Yukon are not consistent and reinforcing. Basic standards like eventing, logging, and filtering have to be established. The disconnection of these products make our message when trying to win back the developers who like JAVA and J2EE very difficult especially when we have the limitation of being only on Windows and those technologies are supporled on many platforms by many companies. Although we have waited a long time for the shipment of VS with the URT that doesn’t give us anywhere near a complete consistent platform story.


The 'smoking gun' is probably this following bit which speaks about GNU/Linux:

We have to take a hard look at our tools and consider how to be a better high end solution. We have to spend a lot of money to make sure the openness of C# is well understood and that it is accepted at a level that allows our innovations to have traction.

I think that between Paul, Yuval and Eric’s group with leader from Rick Rashid we should be able to go through another iteration on this (like we did with NGWS) and come up with some clear answers.

The strength of this platform and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.


Gates refers to Yuval Neeman, whose take on .NET inside Linux/UNIX can be inferred from this other antitrust exhibit and another appearance can be found in an antitrust exhibit that we disclosed yesterday. "Paul" might be Paul Flessner (not Paul Maritz), who wanted to "whack" Dell over GNU/Linux and "Eric" would be Eric Rudder, whom we last mentioned yesterday. As pointed out before, Rudder once said: "As many of you may know, we’ve actually kind of broadened the product portfolio of Visual Studio, targeting all the way from the low end with students and hobbyists, kind of competitive in that Linux space, making sure that every developer has a copy of .NET and is trained in writing .NET solutions. [...] I think it will really help us in our competition with open source."

The text above is very relevant to the role of Mono. One of our readers warns that "the Mono guard seems to have started to undermine even Debian." We will come to this at a later stage, or rather just return to it.

David Vaskevitch writes to Bill Gates, Jim Allchin, and Steve Ballmer with some attached papers, but he seems rather demoralised and afraid of Oracle too.

Having now sent these I have to admit I also feel pretty weird sending them. Weird and conflicted. On the one hand, I feel pretty deeply that if we don’t do what is described in these papers, and some of the others I’ve been writing, we will either a) not achieve our long term goals (platform adoption, business growth, developer wins, etc), or b) get into relatively serious trouble (never catch up with Oracle, not have the platform the biggest apps are wdtten on, miss key changes). All of that makes me want to write these papers, want to see them acted on. Then there’s the "on the other hand" ..

On the other hand I am now totally disconnected from pretty much everything to do with our platform. These papers are hard to write in a wide variety of ways: time consuming, energy draining, etc. And, being so disconnected from the platform, it means that most of what gets written in papers like this is just not going to happen. True of storage. True for distributed app support. True for things in general. So, I’m saying out loud, that I’m trying to figure out whether to even keep writing this stuff. Besides the fact that it might well not have much effect, chews up time, etc, it must be annoying for the people actually having to build this stuff, to have people off in other areas writing this kind of stuff down for them.

The next one I would have written was going to drill into the whole "distributed" and "application server" mess. But, I’d really appreciate feedback on whether it is good, bad, or indifferent, and why, to be writing in this vein...


The core of this exhibit is below, but there are also attachments which we may translate into plain text pretty soon, the reason being that if we are aiming to accumulate a searchable database of all the Comes vs Microsoft exhibits, it wouldn't be complete without the attachments. They look like very interesting pieces of information. For instance, how about this little gem: "It’s our decision. Do we want to create the next revolution, fundamentally change the definition of the term database? So, others can start keeping up with us? Or do we want to stick to improving databases as we all know them today, and continue slowly catching up with everybody else?"

Embrace and extend? Making up one's own pseudo standards? WinFS? Which choice did they eventually make? Whichever was obstructing competition more effectively?

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

--Miguel de Icaza






Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft - exhibit PX06917, as text










From: Bill Gates [/o=microsoft/ou=northamerica/cn=Recipients/cn=1648] on behalf of Bill Gates Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 5:34 PM To: Jim Allchin (Exchange); Steve Ballmer Subject: FW: The Fifth Database Revolution

We need to get someone very technical to pull together our platform story.

Jim could do it but its probably best for him to delegate it to a small group with a leader.

The leader could be Eric Rudder or Rick Rashid or someone I am not thinking of. Some good work was done during the NGWS days that needs to be carried through.

Eric tells me that currently there is some progress on this stuff but not a clear direction from management.

It is as a key advisor to this group that David’s input would become important. The key stuff is under Paul Flessner and Yuval Neeman but neither of them is right to drive it directly. It does touch on other pieces like WMI and Office extensibility.

This is one of the bigger items on my memo and its waiting there. I am not saying its easy work to do.

Lets pick how this is going to be driven.

I need to discuss that with both of you for a number of items in the memo but this is perhaps the most urgent. Here is the latest on this from the memo:

Applications platform Our applications platform message is quite confused today. Pieces like CLR, WMI, MSMQ, XML runtime, Biztalk, MTS,IIS, ASP+, Load Balancing, Message bus, ,SOAP, UDDI and Yukon are not consistent and reinforcing. Basic standards like eventing, logging, and filtering have to be established. The disconnection of these products make our message when trying to win back the developers who like JAVA and J2EE very difficult especially when we have the limitation of being only on Windows and those technologies are supporled on many platforms by many companies. Although we have waited a long time for the shipment of VS with the URT that doesn’t give us anywhere near a complete consistent platform story.

The most consistent platform in the industry is Oracle. They have used their database as the center of gravity to drive a very strong story. We need to integrate more capabilities like email and directory and workflow and file system where Oracle has done very little. In the basic intrastructure area though there are some lesssons to learn from them.

We have talked about many of these problems but not pulled things together. MSMQ is a bit of an orphan. Our transaction strategy isn’t getting any traction while BEA has established an $800M per year business around that technology. We did a good job on MSMQ and MTS but they couldn’t thrive on their own. Our decision to make Yukon the center of gravity and to connecl Yukon to the URT should give us the clear starting point. We may need to be able to package Yukon so that it doesn’t feel like a database if all you want is a Message bus. We may need to create some subset implementations of things like Queuing for size and speed reasons. However the API set should be consistent. We may need to be compatible with some of the J2EE apis.

Our application platform for the server and the client need to be the same. The strength of our approach is that code should be able to run Offline. This highlights again the importance of a Distributed Application Architecture where code can determine what it needs to execute on a different server or down on the client. ASP+ has to be made reasonable as a client side API set which it is not today.

We have to take a hard look at our tools and consider how to be a better high end solution. We have to spend a lot of money to make sure the openness of C# is well understood and that it is accepted at a level that allows our innovations to have traction.

1

Plaintiff's Exhibit 6917 Comes V. Microsoft MS-CC-Bu 000000089456

I think that between Paul, Yuval and Eric’s group with leader from Rick Rashid we should be able to go through another iteration on this (like we did with NGWS) and come up with some clear answers.

The strength of this platform and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors. We are in the best position to define the distributed application model that allows work to be moved out into the Network. We don’t have enough research our product group people pushing this agenda but we have the best opportunity. This is what it takes to seize leadership in caching, load balancing and protocols. I think between Management/Setup and a vision of how our platform is Distributed we give ourselves a chance to lead in all the Level 7 networking pieces. I almost included this as a separate item but executing on these two technical pieces will give us what we need except for packaging, marketing and sales force.

There is a major packaging question once we get architectural coherence. To what degree should we package or charge for the rich so called middleware pieces separately from the rest of the platform? Are there advanced forms of some of these pieces that cost extra? Most of the API set we want supported in the base server with understandable advanced services costing extra.

We are discussing with IBM a joint effort to agree on most of the Application server pieces so that companies have a choice of our two implementations. Although this would be an unexpected partnership I see a lot of advanlages for both companies. I think they can help with parts of the architecture. The current view is that we do not share any code between the companies.

We also need to drive Microsoft to use the new platform to prove it out and show it off. Our Services need to use these architectures so that our tools make them easy to extend.

-----Original Message----- From: David Vaskevitch Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2001 6.12 PM To: Bill Gates Cc: Jim Allchin; Steve Ballmer Subject: The Fifth Database Revolution

A while ago I promised Bill that I would write down in some detail what has to happen next in database land. It's also come up in conversation with Steve. So, here are two papers. There are also two papers dating back about two years that supply some of the more intricate underlying technical details. The second paper is more technical, more pointed, and better written. The first paper is more motivational, kind of, and, because I switched to the second paper before finishing the first one, the first one runs out of steam near the end.

(Attachment names) The Fifth Database Revolution....

The Structure of the Fifth Dat..,

Having now sent these I have to admit I also feel pretty weird sending them. Weird and conflicted. On the one hand, I feel pretty deeply that if we don’t do what is described in these papers, and some of the others I’ve been writing, we will either a) not achieve our long term goals (platform adoption, business growth, developer wins, etc), or b) get into relatively serious trouble (never catch up with Oracle, not have the platform the biggest apps are wdtten on, miss key changes). All of that makes me want to write these papers, want to see them acted on. Then there’s the "on the other hand" ..

On the other hand I am now totally disconnected from pretty much everything to do with our platform. These papers are hard to write in a wide variety of ways: time consuming, energy draining, etc. And, being so disconnected from the platform, it means that most of what gets written in papers like this is just not going to happen. True of storage. True for distributed app support. True for things in general. So, I’m saying out loud, that I’m trying to figure out whether to even keep writing this stuff. Besides the fact that it might well not have much effect, chews up time, etc, it must be annoying for the people actually having to build this stuff, to have people off in other areas writing this kind of stuff down for them.

The next one I would have written was going to drill into the whole "distributed" and "application server" mess. But, I’d really appreciate feedback on whether it is good, bad, or indifferent, and why, to be writing in this vein...

2 MS-CC-Bu 000000089457 HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL



Credit: wallclimber

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