Nathan Myhrvold/Bill Gates Use “Embrace and Extend” Against “Mak[ing] it Easy for People to Do Competitive Operating Systems”

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, OpenDocument, SUN at 2:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft talks about harming competition by embracing and extending

WHEN IT comes to Comes vs Microsoft, we have only just begun. So if you enjoy ‘smoking guns’ that were hardly/never seen before, be sure to subscribe.

This next exhibit, Exhibit plex_5803 (1996) [PDF], is an excellent sequel to the one where Microsoft describes “Embrace and Extend” and the Windows API franchise.

Herein we find Nathan Myhrvold, the world's largest patent troll at present, seemingly passing a long message from Bill Gates, although it is not perfectly clear whether the message came from him or from Gates. The message paints a rather vivid picture of the company’s fear and predatory responses to competition.

For instance, how about this gem at the start?

I am worry a lot about how great Java/Javabeans and all the runtime work they are doing is and how much excitement this is generating. I am literally losing sleep over this issue since together with a move to more server based applications it seems like it could make it easy for people to do competitive operating systems.

The next paragraph is curious too.

I am very interested to get your thoughts on this. Prior to the advanced work you are driving what kind of defenses do we have against this? I certainly havent’ come up with enough to relax about the situation and it is undermining my creativity.

Microsoft fears fair competition where platforms can interoperate:

I think that the risk of Sun really taking the OS franchise away from us is much lower than the risk that they cheapen the entire business. They are so hell bent to give things away, and there is so much cross platform ferver that it will be hard for them or others to harness this energy toward a single platform. In the limit, they can make the web totally OS agnostic but there will still be other things that motivate one platform versus another.

Gates (or Myhrvold) then proposes a malicious “embrace and extend” in order to extinguish Java. Think about MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

The obvious things to do are:

Provide our own means of dramatically improving web pages.

- Continue to “embrace and extend” both at the level of new Java tools (like J++), and our broader browser strategy.

- Create some radical new approaches to improving web pages, or building web applications. I think that it is a big mistake to put all of our eggs in the “embrace and extend” basket. This thinking will lead us down the path to renounce any really interesting edge we could have. Over reliance on “embrace and extend” can lead to what I sometimes call the relentless drive to come in second, which does not help much in a winner take all world.

Here is an embrace (like Microsoft ‘joining’ ODF):

2. Pioneer other means to participate in the new market. It is very rare that there is only one asset that matters. Hell, look at Netscape and Sun – each have an interesting asset, and this is still the EARLY stages of the net. There will be other technologies which matter and we should try to own one of them, even if it is in a totally different direction.

Another last mention of “embrace and extend” (all very explicitly):

We need Windows to be the most compelling platform for users to choose Ideally this means that we win in every category. You are worried that we will only tie in the Java category because Javabeans and other runtime work will make cross platform really work well. I say we should try to tie (or win) with embrace and extend in the Java world.

For naysayings who speak about the age of these exhibits, the important points to be made is that these are new to the public eye and they help educate about Microsoft’s practices, which have never changed since.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex_5803, as text

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 25th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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