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411A (SPARC, MIPS & Compaq) | 397 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
2905 ("Windows 98")
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:12 PM EST

Comes v. Microsoft

From: Brad Chase<br />
Sent: Friday, May 15, 1998 3:57 PM<br />
To: Walt Mossberg (E-mail); Bill Gates<br />
Cc: Brad Chase<br />
Subject: Windows 98

lets keep this discussion going a bit. we support choice
and agree with your fundamental point there on how oems
present windows. I understand your view that says the best
product should win and that we should let oems do their
shells. we do let oems ship their own shells today but
they can't boot up into them directly - the user has to
select them
say by clicking on a link the oem can add to the desktop
or somewhere else. we also let the oems do significant
customization of windows that they can boot up into.
finally oems can add anything they want to on the windows
they an add navigator and they can even make it the
default browser.

however, if oems can boot up into an alternative shell
then what is Windows? we market and invest significant R@D
Windows and if anyone can change its initial UI then that
impacts people's understanding of windows. in addition, it
up a situation where our competitors can try to replace
Windows with their own UI and apis. again an oem could
these UIs and APIs today but it is alot to ask us to have
the users first boot and experience with Windows be, not
Windows, but a competitive shell or OS.

take the wsj for example. you ship via delivery people.
they are your oems. you have dominant share of the daily
business news market. what if the delivery people could
substitute someone's else's front page for your own and
furthermore what if it was not even clear that it wsn't
the wsj? it is the content and design that makes the wsj.
now you
support choice and competition to but the wsj would not
allow that. for that matter they would not even allow the
boy to add the NY times business section to the inside of
the WSJ. we, in essence, allow the equivalent, by allowing
oems to add any icon to the desktop and even allowing
navigator to be the default.

you might argue that people know the Windows UI so they
can tell but many people don't and besides we want to
the UI over time and that will mean changes to it will
look differently.

walt we have become a leader but to innovate in windows
includes the UI and while i understand your point of view
on this
I would contend that we are being asked to hold to a
radically different standard than anyone else would ever
be asked to
be held to.

-----Original Message-----<br />
From: Walt Mossberg <em>[Ed: e-mail address
removed.]</em><br />
Sent: Friday, May 15, 1998 7:38 AM<br />
To: Bill Gates<br />
Cc: Brad Chase<br />
Subject: Re: Windows98<br />
Importance: High


I was glad to have a dialog with you and Brad before I
wrote my Win98
column, and I'm glad to have your views on how it came
out. As you know,
from the very first time we met back in 1991, I have
invited you to let me
know what you like and dislike about what I write, and
have extended the
same invitation to others in the industry. I believe we in
the media
sometimes are too closed off from outside views, and I
feel a responsibility
to open myself to them, especially because the Journal is
a very
influential platform and, as a columnist rather than a
reporter, I have
great license to express opinions. Our exchanges did in
fact have an impact
on what I finally wrote.

On your conflict with the government, I appreciate your
sharing your views
on it. As I've explained, I'm not up on all the details of
the situation
because it hasn't been my responsibility to cover it.

But I would observe, just as a personal view, that there's
a distinction
between your retaining full ability to integrate
innovative features into
Windows &ndash; like the browser or, eventually, speech
recognition &ndash; and the
wall of formal and informal business arrangements you
typically have built
around Windows to restrict how OEMs can present it to
users. It seems to me
there'd be nothing wrong with agreeing to let Compaq do
its own shell or
opening screen, just like they once did in the Win 3.1
days, even though
they did it badly. I might criticize these screens if they
were too
marketing-oriented, just as I have criticized your own
desktop channel bar
for plastering ads on the user's desktop. But _in
principle_ I see nothing
wrong with it. Hell, somebody might even hit upon a
simpler or better
metaphor using HTML for a shell, just like HP and them
Compaq did a good
thing for users by adding a hard-wired keyboard "Internet
button," which
launches a browser and dialler.

I also really do think users benefit from choice, so a
pre-load of Navigator
would be fine, assuming Netscape can cut the deals. This
is no different
from the common bundling of AOL, MSN and Compuserve on new
machines, or from
some OEM packages which include both Quicken and Money.

I think IE, in both standalone form and in the form of the
ActiveX control,
should be able to stand on its own quite well in the
competition with
Navigator, even if both were available on some new PCs.
And I think Outlook
Express is more than a match for Netscape Mail, or Eudora,
as a POP3/IMAP4

These are just my random thoughts, and I have no idea
whether they are
relevant to your current talks. I hope you can gain a

Walt Mossberg

=======================<br />
Walt Mossberg<br />
Personal Technology Columnist<br />
The Wall Street Journal

-----Original Message-----<br />
From: Bill Gates <em>[Ed: e-mail address
removed.]</em><br />
To: Walt Mossberg <em>[Ed: e-mail address
removed.]</em><br />
Date: Thursday, May 14, 1998 7:29 PM<br />
Subject: RE: Windows98

&gt;Thanks for engaging with us on a discussion of
Windows98 before your column<br />
&gt;came out. Brad and I were discussing just now that
although we feel the<br />
&gt;article is not really as positive as we might have
hoped for you followed<br />
&gt;your admirable approach of calling it exactly like you
see it. Windows98's<br />
&gt;biggest impact will be problems that don't occur for
the millions of people<br />
&gt;who get it on new machines or choose to upgrade but
you are right that it
is<br />
&gt;not a vital upgrade. The peripheral makers and retail
channel are enthused<br />
&gt;about the product. I hope the "Update" feature can
change how we distribute<br />
&gt;fixes and driver improvements. As always you were
thoughtful and fair in<br />
&gt;your analysis even if we don't see it exactly the same
way.<br />
&gt;<br />
&gt;Our biggest problem with the government is their
principle that us adding<br />
&gt;new features like the browser is a bad thing. So far
they just aren't<br />
&gt;showing any willingness to accept the fact that the
browser is not there<br />
&gt;just because it makes Netscape's life hard. This is
the principle we can't<br />
&gt;give in on and they still haven't budged on it. It
seems a crime to have a<br />
&gt;lawsuit because of this when the law and the consumer
benefits are so
clear.<br />
&gt;The use the word "consumer choice" to talk about
letting OEMs hide the<br />
&gt;browser from the user. We got started down this path
because they decided<br />
&gt;that most features of the OS could be seperated out
like the device
drivers,<br />
&gt;Wordpad, the file viewers, the network stacks and that
maybe we shouldn't
be<br />
&gt;able to package them into a single product. We always
told them the browser<br />
&gt;was a bad place to start because the deletion breaks
things but they were<br />
&gt;confused on that point. They thought the remove
function actually deleted<br />
&gt;the browser which of course it did not - only the
invoker and some tiny ICW<br />
&gt;files. When the browser goes so do the browser
APIs.<br />
&gt;<br />
&gt;Having all the government resources against a company
like this is<br />
&gt;mindblowing. I hope I get a chance to get back to
software before I see you<br />
&gt;next.<br />

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

411A (SPARC, MIPS & Compaq)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:13 PM EST

Gordon v. Microsoft

From: nathanm Mon Oct 01 11:42:05 1990<br />
To: billg bradsi jeremybu joachimk mike<em>?</em>
paulma riscpc steveb<br />
Subject: SPARC, MIPS &amp; Compaq<br />
Date: Tue Oct 02 22:57:14 1990

Recent events show that we are more in danger than ever of
losing the key early ground to SPARC
which puts our long term systems business in serious
doubt. Compaq is considering SPARC, as well as
friendlier options, and now Olivetti is too.

At present we are paralysed because Compaq is reluctant to
take the kind of role that is required to push
our software and combat Sun in a reasonable way. They
want to push UNIX (they'll relent to giving us
equal billing, but they will expend major effort in
making UNIX successful), they are considering
SPARC, and they are considering a number of <em>?</em>
non-SPARC responses.

There is considerable sentiment that we should adopt a
strategy of appeasement toward Compaq. This
means not pushing any other strategy for fear that it will
enrage them and push them to SPARC. If we
succeed in appeasing them, we'll have their halfhearted
support, and if they go with SPARC or a poor
non-SPARC strategy then we lose our systems business.

This approach is crazy because there is no recovery plan.
It is motivated by our fear that without
Compaq we won't have a market - the Big Deal syndrome. I
think that the time has come to start
pursuing our own strategic direction

There is no point in <em>[Ed: language]</em> Compaq off
deliberately, but we should adopt the following plan:

1. Give our hardware design to MIPS. They would license
it openly, including licensing the ASICs to
the semiconductor partners, and te board designs to OEMs.
MIPS would be the official source - we
would not have MS copyrights or anything else on the
stuff. This is not a deadly secret, it is just that
there is no point in being high profile about it. People
may assume that we had input because of our
software role, but MIPS will be viewed as the source by
almost everybody.

Note that our design has a large advantage over things
that MIPS has done in the past (or the DEC
design) is that it can be built cheaper, and it allows you
to trivially add any PC style bus or chips (EISA,
MCA etc) because one of our chips mimics the signals of a
486 bus.

2. The slogan for the hardware design will be "The First
Open System". Today, the SPARC is open,
but the system design is NOT open - you need proprietary
LSI logic chips etc. This system will be
licensed in a similar fashion to the R4000 - you can buy
an Architecture License which gets you the
spec and the right to make your own custom implementation,
or you can get the full Semiconductor
License which lets you manufacture the present ASICs.
This is actually a very major point, which would
be taken as a big deal in the industry. The announcement
of the platform would play up many of the
points in the Trends in the Microprocessor Industry memo -
that systems vendors must get involved in
making high integration "PC on a chip" solutions and the
ONLY way for them to do so is to be able to
license both the CPU and the rest of the system
architecture. This announcement lets them do this for the
first time.

3. The MIPS camp, like the UNIX world as a whole, is
divided between OSF and AT&amp;T factions. We
will not succeed in unifying this as we once thought, and
I do not believe that we should even try. If
MIPS and/or SCO offer a product - fine, but it is not a
big deal to us and we would NOT expend huge
effort to ram a MIPS UNIX standard down anybody's throat.
Oddly enough it is not a big deal to the
UNIX market players themselves either - they will pursue
their present fractured strategies quite happily.

4. Concurrent with MIPS pushing this hardware platform to
OEMs, we would deliver the following
software message to most relevant OEMS (see below for
list). The message is:

- We will have an NT Windows binary application standard
for R4000 MIPS with our byte ordering. It
is our primary RISC strategy, and we will not put it on

- The simplest way to get this app level binary standard
is that we will have a system software release of
NT Windows for the MIPS reference platform - if you buy
the standard chip set and board design from
the various vendors, there is no adaptation

- We may also provide source code to people that want to
adapt to another system architecture (but still
MIPS &amp; same byte order). This is the message to DEC,
or to anybody that balks at the standard
platform. We do NOT care what the mix is of DEC
designs versus our design any more than we care about ISV
versus MCA versus EISA today. It is VERY
important that people have at least one easy to build,
cheap system that connects to PC busses which is
why we are putting our design out, but given
competition we don't care long term.

- We are NOT pushing the MIPS hardware platform per se,
but we ARE saying that we will push a
binary standard which consists of the Win 32 API and the
R4000 with correct byte order. The hardware
platform is just the easiest way to build one, and the
only open design that anybody has asked us to endorse so

- Some OEMs will just offer the machine as NT Windows
only (PC industry types), and some will offer
NT Windows as a side line to their UNIX workstation
business. We will not require people to trash
UNIX to sign up - we will encourage them to position this
as adding a new binary standard to their line
up which will give them access to Win 32
applications.<br />
The message above would be delivered to OEMs as early as
next week (Olivetti needs to hear this) and
we would give it to a fairly long list of OEMs (see

5. Our goal is to shoot for an announcement by the end of
this year, or early next year. We may want to
pull this up in fact. MIPS should announce their hardware
reference platform independent of us, but
either just before or just after our announcement. Our
message would be:

- We would formally announce Win 32, and make sure that a
portion of the announcement mentioned
x86 as well.

- We would announce the creation of the Win 32/MIPS
binary standard discussed in point 4 above. We
would publically hit on each of the points mentioned

- We would get a list of OEMs to come up on stage and
announce their support.

- SDKs would be available in 91 and the product would
ship early 92.

- The positioning of the machines is as the world's
fastest Windows machines. We would make a big
deal about source compatibility between x86 and MIPS for
OS/2 2.0 server apps and for Win 32 apps.

- The tone of the MIPS side would be that RISC offers
some unique advantages for a specialized part of
the Windows market where people need very fast desktop
machines. We would NOT be create any
expectation that they would take over the earth. We
would show our slide that shows 486 fastest for
existing apps and this platform great for new apps, but
slow on existing apps. It is really a balanced
future oriented message.

- A major part of the message is that your investment in
Windows is safe - we are going to address 32
bits, and beyond that we will address RISC. You can go
ahead and ignore Sun and that crap because
Windows has all bases covered.

- We would also talk about the OS/2 3.0 kernel that is
underneath NT Windows, how it is an industrial
strength kernel for servers etc and it will serve advanced
desktops etc.

- Our announcement would not include SCO or push any UNIX
standard. We could say that UNIX
addresses a present well defined market that has little if
any overlap with the mainstream Windows
desktop market. It is nice that this specialized system
is available on the same hardware as NT
Windows, and for customers in that market it may be the
right choice. Our simple goal is the realm of
Windows Computing. Over the next several years it will
expand to include applications that require the
performance that the R4000 can deliver, and we are taking
the steps to make sure tht this is possible.

The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the
market at the OEM and ISV level. In this
respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement.
This time we have a lot better development
team, so the time between announce and ship will be a lot
smaller. Nevertheless we need to get our
message out there.

One might worry that this will help Sun because we will
just have vaporware, that people will stop
buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but
not delivered. After thinking about this, I
think that this is emphatically NOT the case:

- We answer the charge of "vaporware" by pointing at
Windows, (after all, we are porting it). Windows
is shipping a zillion copies an hour and that isn't vapor
at all. Every Win 3 sold and every new Windows
app is a nail in Sun's coffin. We would go on a PR
offensive with exactly that mission. The big news
is that now that MIPS will have Windows, and gain all of
the momentum that is building - how can Sun
survive? So, Scott, do you really think you can fight
that avalanche?

- The "Osborne effect" is not relevant here. A long term
announcement for MIPS based Windows in 92
will NOT freeze the end user market. It is just an
endorsement that Windows has a future - it is too far
off to hurt immediate sales, and in fact it will help.
The original Windows announcement did not hurt
Dos sales because people decided to wait for it. The only
time when you get into an Osborne effect is
when you annouce something near term that is a viable

We certainly do need to follow this announcement up with a
good demo in 6-8 months when the SDK
ships, but preannouncement is going to give Sun a real

6. We would embark on the PR campaign mentioned above to
reinforce the notion that Windows was
the desktop API for the next 10 years, just as Dos was for
the first 10 years. Sun and others that covet
the desktop would have to beat Windows - and who can do
that? This should be a real push - analysts,
ISVs etc. We would really go on the offensive about how
strong Windows is, and how irrelevant Sun
and others are as would be challengers.

7. One potential sop to IBM would be to announce TWO
binary standards for RISC for Win 32 and
OS/2 3.0 - MIPS and RIOS. I think that the Austin guys
would actually do this, and they would not
even be mad about MIPS being the other one because it
hurts SPARC so much. If we do this, then we
would announce that we will not port to any other
architecture for 3 years (obviously non binding) to
really rub it in that SPARC is out. The way to position
this to them is that we've seen Sun building
steam and we need to support the MIPS world as a generic
RISC. Ideally we would do this with a short
enough lead time that they couldn't mess around too long.
All we would do is announce a long term
statement of direction that the technology would be
available on RIOS - this is safe for them, and it
makes Sun look bad, so we could probably make it an easy
decision for them.

8. In the past we've talked about Power PC - a next
generation PC spec with advanced audio and video
for both x86 and MIPS. We would still do this, but it
does not have to be part of the announcement or
the base level hardware that MIPS would push. We could
reserve this as an exclusive club the way that
we originally planned RISC PC, or we could go public with
it later on. There is no need to make this
part of the early announcement. The system design that
MIPS would push has a video daughtercard with
a connector so we could always add the new stuff to these
systems if that was important. Note that
machines would not ship in volume until 92 anyway so we
would have until this spring to finalize the
Power PC hardware.

9. Our stance to Compaq on this is as follows:

- We do not tell them about this until we have had enough
initial discussions to confirm that this
direction is viable. This means getting the framework of
an agreement in place with MIPS on the
hardware platform and also getting agreement from at least
5 OEMs. This is NO different than them
talking to Sun wihout telling us first. It mainly means
that we don't tell them we are going to do
something until we know that it is really possible and
will play out like we think. This initial activity has
to start soon.

- We then tell them that there is enough steam building
under the MIPS camp, and enough uncertainty
from Sun's progress that we feel compelled to announce an
application level binary standard for NT
Windows as a future product. This in NO WAY hurts their
plans - UNLESS they are really planning to
go with SPARC. Since we are not saying that people have
to use one system design, they can come out
with their "superior" Compaq/DEC design at any time.

- Compaq can either sign up and attend the annoucement,
or not as they see fit but we should set a stake
in the ground and not move it for them.

- We can present to them why we think that this is
harmless to their present business, and will not harm
current sales.

- This is not something rude that we should let them make
us feel guilty about. They have outlined three
alternatives for their actions, two of which are extremely
bad for us, and the remaining one is not very
attractive, could get <em>[Ed: language]</em> up and at
best puts us on an equal footing with UNIX which is a big
down from the present situation. We are just presenting
them with something which is highly compatible
with one of their options.

- If Compaq really went with SPARC over this plan, then
they were heading there anyway. The
environment that this plan would create is much more
friendly to them than the SPARC environment.
We are just helping the MIPS community to come even part
way towards where SPARC already is.

10. The OEMs to contact are basically the same ones
listed in previous mail about uniting the MIPS
world: Olivetti, NEC, HP (a long shot but worth it), DEC,
Bull/Zenith, Siemans/Nixdorf, Nokia, Sony,
and finally selected people in the pure PC camp - Acer,
AST etc. MIPS can throw in a number of big
companies which will endorse but not say much (Amdahl,
Tandem ...). In the final weeks we could
consider adding just about anybody else who had reasonable
volume. The idea here is not be be
exclusive - it is to get a reasonably large list of
reasonably credible companies.

<hr />

The first comment is likely to be "do you have anything
without Compaq and IBM?". There are two

First, the goal is NOT to make this machine sell zillions
of copies in 1991 - it probably won't even ship
then. What we need to do is announce a long term
direction for making high end Windows machines -
and freeze Sun out of our OEMs, our ISVs, and from
industry perceptions at large. The idea that
Microsoft will move Windows to MIPS is a very powerful
concept that can be used to put Sun on the
defensive. As mentioned above, we need people to view
every sale of Windows or a Windows app as a
vote (and investment) against Sun. The OEMs listed above
are plenty credible to achieve our goals.

Second, I think that we grossly overestimate Compaq's
ability in this area. They have a great reputation,
but at present their plans are NOT in sync with ours -
they are on a mission to clean up in the
workstation market - and all signs are showing that if
any cleaning is done, Sun will mop the floor up
with them. Perhaps they can win competeing against Sun in
their own backyard where everybody else
has lost, but I doubt it. Even if they do succeed, they
are presently off to push UNIX not our stuff.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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