EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.26.09

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


From: Nathan Myhrvold
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 1996 12:05 PM
To: Bill Gates
Cc: Aaron Contorer
Subject: RE: Java runtime becomes the operating system

——–
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, September 30, 1996 9:36 PM
To: Nathan Myhrvoid
Cc: Aaron Contorer
Subject: Java runtime becomes the operating system

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.

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.

I agree that this is a dilemma, but I don’t think that it is severe enough that you should lose sleep over it. Here are some quick thoughts on the matter – I will put more time in on it also.

First, the excitement is overblown at least from a *business* perspective. At the moment Java is expanding into a vacuum. It allows you to make cool web pages, and that is a very attractive thing for people. It gives programmers something new to learn, book people something new to sell books on, software tool companies a way to issue new development tools etc.

As you and know very well, this sort of widespread interest can become a self fulifilling phenomenon, because programmer attention creates programs. Some of these will be successful and that only fuels more participation in the phenomenon. However, at the same time you must keep something of a balanced perspective.

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.

In the very long run they could make it more and more difficult for us to keep up and thus even though the world is cross platform, we have more baggage, worse implementation and can’t keep up. This is NOT going to happen quickly however – we will get several more swings at them

The new Java applications are NOT credible threats to traditional PC software any time soon. It is just insanity to think that they are. New things are NEVER a threat to the old world as soon as people say. Look at the mainframe vs PC. It has taken us TWO DECADES and even after all that IBM still has billions in mainframe revenue. Cool new technology always expands rapidly into NEW areas (where there is a vacuum). Pundits always say that this is going to kill the old businesses – eventually that happens but not anywhere near as soon as they say.

It is a new and uncomfortable feeling to be the incumbent rather than the challenger in one of these battles. However, we must not panic. The current perceptual battle is a long way distant from actual business and revenue issues, and we can’t let the perceptual issues cloud our thinking too much.

This is not to say that Java is unimportant It is VERY important (just don’t lose sleep!) I think that you are focusing on the wrong *kind* of threat. We are in danger of losing a new market which will grow at a pace which is very rapid indeed. This would be a tradegy to have happen to us, but it is different than a direct assult on our core asset, and our response must also be different.

The obvious things to do are:

1

Plaintiff’s Exhibit 5803
Comes V. Microsoft

MS-CC-Sun 000001396845
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

1 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.

Note that by “radical” I mean more in concept than in technology i.e. NOT speech or other really hard stuff. Java is pathetic technology. We do not need high tech here we need some technology but mainly creativity in how we look at it.

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.

The key thing is to come up with something which will be buoyed up by the rising Intemet tide Again, this need not be some super hard technical problem it is more about being creative and finding an opportunity. Here are some examples (none perfect).

- Virtual worlds could be such a thing.

- New ways of doing server apps, or doing net transactions (ala Viper) could be such a thing.

I don’t have as many examples here as I would like, but I am pretty sure that we could come up with some things if we really focussed on this area.

3. Continue to invest in our core business assets – in this case the Windows runtime. 99% of worldwide software revenue is still based on Windows apps, and way more than 100% of profits. If we let Windows decline in its non-web attributes then we will REALLY will be up shit creek. I fear that the overexcitement in the web, and the misunderstanding that our core business is only indirectly under attack means that our current course and speed neglects our best avenue
to comete.

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. HOWEVER while doing this we MUST NOT allow Windows to lose in the other, non-web dimensions that are important to users selecting systoms! There is more to a user’s system choice than just the Web and it is in those areas where we have a big advantage.

Put another way suppose that Java is totally successful and totally cross platform then why should people choose one – system versus another? It will all hinge on other areas.

Here are some examples:

- We need to be the LEADER in multimedia this means doing very cool audio and video. We want to lead with DVD and make it easy to. We must be the best platform for games (better than Ultra64 or Playstation). We want to be the best platform for graphics/video/audio authoring (better than SGI or Mac).

- Prevent barriers from coming up in ease of use. PCs must be instant on, they must go beyond plug and play to be even more self configuring, they must be self diagnosing. There is no technical reason why a PC shouldn’t be the best possible user experience better than those hypothetical web terminals. However, this takes WORK to make it happen It will take those web terminal guys some work too, but in our case there is a certain amount of baggage which will cause extra work for us, but will result in extra reward too. It is critical that we do this.

- Leverage the web to provide dramatic new functionality for old applications. The key example here is the “My Workspace” notion of totally abstracting storage on the net. This would be a dramatic change for users – storage abstractions are one of the hardest things to use in current PCs and we can make this all go away. If we do this based on STORAGE (i.e. file system APIs) it can short circuit the longer term move to distribution based on other APIs or
protocols — storage gets you most of the benefit.

2

MS-CC-Sun 000001386846
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

I am frankly worried that we are not doing enough in this area because we have over-focused on the web We need end user focused people to really make our system great. We are handicapped by the fact that we also need to do an implementation technology shift (to NT) and a cultural/personnel shift (to Allchin’s group which has historically focussed more on underlying technology than on end user stuff).

This is a big challenge to do these shifts AND keep the platform vital. The analogy with Apple is frightening. They pissed away their creativity on non-Mac things (Kaleida, Sweet Pea/Pippin, Taligent, Newton…), and they tied up their Mac team with a technology shift (to Power PC). The analogy is unfair because the web work that Siverberg and Ludwig have been doing is much more relevant than what Apple did. However I still am worried that we are not making enough investment in our core asset. The good news is that we do have plenty of people we can focus on these problems, and if we do we can create some end user value that will be hard for anybody else to match.

——————————-

I am not sure whether I managed to make you less worried or more worried. I think that this is a serious problem, but I think that we have more options than you may think particularly with 2 and 3 above.

Nathan

3

MS-CC-Sun 000001386847
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

Credit: wallclimber

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/4/2018: Preview of Crostini, Introducing Heptio Gimbal, OPNsense 18.1.6

    Links for the day



  2. Patent Maximalists Step Things Up With Director Andrei Iancu and It's Time for Scientists to Fight Back

    Science and technology don't seem to matter as much as the whims of the patent (litigation) 'industry', at least judging by recent actions taken by Andrei Iancu (following a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee)



  3. Mythology About Patents in the East

    Misconceptions (or deliberate propaganda) about patent policy in the east poison the debate and derail a serious, facts-based discussion about it



  4. Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

    A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  5. Holding Benoît Battistelli Accountable After the EPO

    The many abuses and offenses committed by Mr. Battistelli whilst he enjoyed diplomatic immunity can and should be brought up as that immunity expires in two months; a good start would be contacting his colleagues, who might not be aware of the full spectrum of his abuses



  6. Links 23/4/2018: Second RC of Linux 4.17 and First RC of Mesa 18.1

    Links for the day



  7. The Good Work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Latest Attempts to Undermine It

    A week's roundup of news about PTAB, which is eliminating many bad (wrongly-granted) patents and is therefore becoming "enemy number one" to those who got accustomed to blackmailing real (productive) firms with their questionable patents



  8. District Courts' Patent Cases, Including the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED), in a Nutshell

    A roundup of patent cases in 'low courts' of the United States, where patents are being reasoned about or objected to while patent law firms make a lot of money



  9. The Federal Circuit's (CAFC) Decisions Are Being Twisted by Patent Propaganda Sites Which Merely Cherry-Pick Cases With Outcomes That Suit Them

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to reject the vast majority of software patents, citing Section 101 in many such cases, but the likes of Managing IP, Patently-O, IAM and Watchtroll only selectively cover such cases (instead they’re ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ or some similar name-dropping)



  10. Patents Roundup: Metaswitch, GENBAND, Susman, Cisco, Konami, High 5 Games, HTC, and Nintendo

    A look at existing legal actions, the application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, and questionable patents that are being pursued on software (algorithms or "software infrastructure")



  11. In Maxon v Funai the High 'Patent Court' (CAFC) Reaffirms Disdain for Software Patents, Which Are Nowadays Harder to Get and Then Defend

    With the wealth of decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) wherein software patents get discarded (Funai being the latest example), the public needs to ask itself whether patent law firms are honest when they make claims about resurgence of software patents by 'pulling a Berkheimer' or coming up with terms like “Berkheimer Effect”



  12. Today's European Patent Office Works for Patent Extremists and for Team UPC Rather Than for Europe or for Innovation

    The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and other patent maximalists who have nothing to do with Europe, helped by a malicious and rather clueless politician called Benoît Battistelli, are turning the EPO into a patent-printing machine rather than an examination office as envisioned by the EPC (founders) and member states



  13. The EPO is Dying and Those Who Have Killed It Are Becoming Very Rich in the Process

    Following the footsteps of Ron Hovsepian at Novell, Battistelli at the EPO (along with Team Battistelli) may mean the end of the EPO as we know it (or the end altogether); one manager and a cabal of confidants make themselves obscenely rich by basically sacrificing the very organisation they were entrusted to serve



  14. Short: Just Keep Repeating the Lie (“Quality”) Until People Might Believe It

    Battistelli’s patent-printing bureau (EPO without quality control) keeps lying about the quality of patents by repeating the word “quality” a lot of times, including no less than twice in the summary alone



  15. Shelston IP Keeps Pressuring IP Australia to Allow Software Patents and Harm Software Development

    Shelston IP wants exactly the opposite of what's good for Australia; it just wants what's good for itself, yet it habitually pretends to speak for a productive industry (nothing could be further from the truth)



  16. Is Andy Ramer's Departure the End of Cantor Fitzgerald's Patent Trolls-Feeding Operations and Ambitions?

    The managing director of the 'IP' group at Cantor Fitzgerald is leaving, but it does not yet mean that patent trolls will be starved/deprived access to patents



  17. EPO Hoards Billions of Euros (Taken From the Public), Decreases Quality to Get More Money, Reduces Payments to Staff

    The EPO continues to collect money from everyone, distributes bogus/dubious patents that usher patent trolls into Europe (to cost European businesses billions in the long run), and staff of the EPO faces more cuts while EPO management swims in cash and perks



  18. Short: Calling Battistelli's Town (Where He Works) “Force for Innovation” to Justify the Funneling of EPO Funds to It

    How the EPO‘s management ‘explained’ (or sought to rationalise) to staff its opaque decision to send a multi-million, one-day ceremony to Battistelli’s own theatre only weeks before he leaves



  19. Short: EPO Bribes the Media and Then Brags About the Paid-for Outcome to Staff

    The EPO‘s systematic corruption of the media at the expense of EPO stakeholders — not to mention hiring of lawyers to bully media which exposes EPO corruption — in the EPO’s own words (amended by us)



  20. Short: EPO's “Working Party for Quality” is to Quality What the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea” is to Democracy

    To maintain the perception (illusion) that the EPO still cares about patent quality — and in order to disseminate this lie to EPO staff — a puff piece with the above heading/photograph was distributed to thousands of examiners in glossy paper form



  21. Short: This Spring's Message From the EPO's President (Corrected)

    A corrected preface from the Liar in Chief, the EPO's notoriously crooked and dishonest President



  22. Short: Highly Misleading and Unscientific Graphics From the EPO for an Illusion of Growth

    A look at the brainwash that EPO management is distributing to staff and what's wrong with it



  23. Short: EPO Explains to Examiners Why They Should and Apparently Can Grant Software Patents (in Spite of EPC)

    Whether it calls it "CII" or "ICT" or "Industry 4.0" or "4IR", the EPO's management continues to grant software patents and attempts to justify this to itself (and to staff)



  24. Links 21/4/2018: Linux 4.9.95, FFmpeg 4.0, OpenBSD Foundation 2018 Fundraising Campaign

    Links for the day



  25. As USPTO Director, Andrei Iancu Gives Three Months for Public Comments on 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Software Patenting Impacted)

    Weeks after starting his job as head of the US patent office, to our regret but not to our surprise, Iancu asks whether to limit examiners' ability to reject abstract patent applications citing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (relates to Alice and Mayo)



  26. In Keith Raniere v Microsoft Both Sides Are Evil But for Different Reasons

    Billing for patent lawyers reveals an abusive strategy from Microsoft, which responded to abusive patent litigation (something which Microsoft too has done for well over a decade)



  27. Links 20/4/2018: Atom 1.26, MySQL 8.0

    Links for the day



  28. Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

    Links for the day



  29. The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

    As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they're fired or decide to resign)



  30. Microsoft's Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

    The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls


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