Microsoft Software Plays Well with Others, Gates Says

Bill Gates has taken another jab at Linux in an e-mail to customers publishedon Microsoft’s Web site Thursday in which he sings the praises of software interoperability and hiscompany’s ability to provide it.

“Open source is a methodology for licensing and/or developing software –that may or may not be interoperable. Additionally, the open sourcedevelopment approach encourages the creation of many permutations of thesame type of software application, which could add implementation andtesting overhead to interoperability efforts,” Gates said in the letter.

Third-Party Interoperability

Despite the pokes at Linux, the crux of the letter was Microsoft’s new commitment to making itssoftware work, not just with its own products, but with other vendors’products. The company had the impetus to make the move.

“U.S. and European courts have indicated [interoperability is] something Microsoft will haveto do,” said analyst and TechNewsWorld columnist Rob Enderle.

“They had the choice offighting or getting behind it. This is probably where they should have beenall along because this is the sustainable advantage that they’ve had.”


Gates said the company’s strategy will focus on next-generation software andWeb services based on XML. With Microsoft’s huge developer network behindMicrosoft’s interoperability designs, the company is likely to be able tocontinue to dictate default standards, even for third-party software.

The XML products the company is working on will work much more smoothlytogether, Gates said.

“Microsoft has been working with the industry to advance a new generation ofsoftware that is interoperable by design, reducing the need for customdevelopment and cumbersome testing and certification,” he said.

Microsoft software is already interoperable with hardware from IBM, amongothers.

It works with Mac OS’s, as well as with versions of Unix, Linux, NetWareand AppleTalk networks, the letter pointed out.

Linux Charges

Enderle said he believes thatGates is speaking the truth about Linux and interoperability.

“Linux benefits from a halo,” he said. “It’s trendy to talk about goodthings about Linux. It’s trendy to talk about the bad things aboutMicrosoft. There’s so much you don’t know about Linux, it makes it lookbetter.”

The inherently more democratic open-source process is also inherently moremessy, Enderle explained. More messy means it can be more difficult toachieve interoperability.


  • "Microsoft software is already interoperable with hardware from IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM, AM ong others.
    It works with Mac OS’s, as well as with versions of Unix, Linux, NetWare and AppleTalk networks, the letter pointed out. "
    So what does that have to do with any proposal for an XML file standard? – absolutely nothing.
    Linux is an operating system; XML is a proposed standard for storing data, on ANY operating system.
    I’m not surprised that Bill Gates confuses the issue in this way – he has a barrow to push. What disappoints ( but does not surprise ) me is that Rob Enderle tags right along.

  • Already read this in the Linux Insider sections… And all I have to say about the concept is, "Haahaahahaaa haa haaa", with tears running down my eyes. In 90% of all instances it is Microsoft’s own proprietary standard that have made everything from web pages, to desktop publishing documents, to databases, to spreadsheets incompatible and non-interoperable between platforms. The idea that I should or would suddenly want to pay a royalty fee to MS to use yet another bloated, complicated, non-standards complient, (and no, MS does not set the standards for XML or anyone else, in spite of what they claim), is purely insane. Reality: They know they are going to lose to non-proprietary and truely open software standards, so they are hedging their bets and trying to convince people that adopting their complicated standards and paying for the needed patent protected APIs and libraries to use them will either a) kill the people they can’t compete with or b) make everyone else charge just as much, due to royalties, for what is now relatively cheap or even free software, as we are currently forced to shell out for Microsoft’s defective, buggy, security flaw filled monstrosities. And once again, MS thinks *it* sets the standards, not all those funny groups like W3, IEEE, or anyone else trying to make sure every damn thing works right, but which MS always ignore at their convenience. It is just as insane a concept as some company coming up with a product no one else can produce, but everyone wants, and making all the part sizes to a base 8 number system, in complete ignorance of either metric or what we use in the US, then trying to insist everyone else follow it, just because after all, ‘everyone’ needs one of these machines, so why not use its standards. They have gotten by with that stupidity long enough. Users, you know, the people Gates seems to think want him to define interoperability, are sick and tired of it. Especially when, in some cases, Microsoft’s own internal memos have leaked out and, "oops!", it seems a lot of those ‘standards’ they come up with are specifically design to pervent other people from using them, not to make it easier.

    Franly, I don’t care if you take the moral of the story about the boy who cries wolf to mean, "Don’t lie all the time or no one will believe you.", or the more colorful, "Don’t tell the same lie twice.", but Microsoft has done both and it doesn’t incite great confidence in the idea of Microsoft creating, yet again, another ‘standard’ that differs completely from what everyone is already using, then babbling about how it will solve everyone’s problems, but not before you buy our library and API to use it. As lies go, this is a very poor copy of the garbage they have already pulled more times that anyone can count, but it is damn funny as a joke.

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