Why Microsoft Suddenly Wanted to Be More Interoperable

Guess why Microsoft suddenly decided it wanted to be more interoperable? It’s so it can get customers to quit using Linux and switch to Windows & .NET.

Exhibit 7068 [PDF] in the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation exhibits list tells us what happened with Intel. It is a 4-page email thread with Bill Gates and others at Microsoft all about trying to get Intel to switch from Linux/Unix to Windows for their development environment. Gates calls it a jihad. What stood in the way, according to the email report on what Intel was telling them: “Linux apparently meets over 90% of their current EDA needs.” Intel said Linux interoperability was better, they could port code more easily, EDA ISVs “got burnt with poor experiences with Windows NT” and so were “wary of taking steps in this direction”.

Remember when Microsoft told us it was interested in greater interoperability with Linux because their customers were demanding it? That part is true, as I’ll show you. But the purpose of developing greater interoperability at the request of Intel, according to this exhibit, was so that Microsoft could get Intel to switch its development environment from Linux to Windows. Intel’s Paul Otellini had reportedly asked his people to figure out how to do that. But in 1999, Microsoft and Intel had cooperatively done a comparison test project, testing Windows and Linux against each other, and Linux performed better. Way better. And so after identifying 100 or so Microsoft work items, Intel decided to go with Linux. The email thread is about whether Intel could now switch back.

1999. Think about what that means in the SCO v. IBM context, where SCO alleges that it wasn’t until IBM got involved in Linux — years after 1999 — that Linux suddenly worked well in the enterprise. Seems they are, at best, mistaken.

The email thread begins with a report on a telephone conference with some Intel and Windows folks, to see what could be done to get Intel off of Linux and back on Windows. Continue reading.

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