Dear editor of ARN:
As an independent Microsoft Windows devel-oper having no knowledge of Edelman Public Relations' program to manufacture a grassroots campaign in support of Microsoft, I want to express my heartfelt and unaffiliated concern over the current effort by the government to stifle innovation in software design.
Let me ask your readers and influential legislators this question: do you really want to interfere with Microsoft's innovation?
From day one, the genius of Microsoft's innovative approach to software design was evident. What other company could invent so many ways to describe a memory protection error (UAE, GPF, Illegal operation)? What other company would invent Bob or make Basic the foundation of its enterprise software strategy? What other company would have you select "Alpha" from a menu in order to begin typing text into your DOS word processor? And without the advancement of Microsoft's innovative operating systems and office applications, do you think we would be running today's word processors on such advanced hardware as 333MHz Pentium II systems with 128Mbps of RAM? I think not.
Microsoft's critics claim the company stalls the competition with vapourware announcements. Tell me, is Cairo vapourware?
Bill Gates described Cairo to IDG in November 1993 this way: "This unified storage, as well as the automatic finding and directory features of Cairo, lets you query by the content of a file, for example. You can ask the system for a file that included a word."
Imagine an operating system that lets you search for a file that contains a word! This innovative Cairo feature exists in Windows 95 and Windows NT today. And people say Cairo never shipped!
Look at the innovation in Windows 95, Chicago. In the interview quoted above, Gates said, "We use the term 'Chicago' to refer to a project that includes a lot of exciting technologies: DOS 7, Windows, and Windows for Workgroups."
Because Microsoft was free of government intervention, it could innovate DOS 7 out of Windows 95 by the time it shipped.
Yet this is the very innovation that intolerant Microsoft-bashers want to destroy. They even want to force Microsoft to publish the source code for Windows so others can compete with Microsoft using Microsoft's own product! Such a move is unconscionable. As Gates told The New York Times in September 1983: "Imagine the disincentive to software development if after months of work another company could come along and copy your work and market it under its own name."
Indeed, competitors fail to win against Microsoft because they stand still while Microsoft innovates. Tell me, where was Tim Patterson of Seattle Computer Products when Microsoft invented MS-DOS?
Where was Stac Electronics when Microsoft invented Doublespace? Where were Xerox and Apple when Microsoft invented the graphical user interface? Where was Apple's QuickTime when Microsoft invented Video for Windows? Where was IBM's OS/2 when Microsoft invented Windows NT? Where was Sybase Server when Microsoft invented Ashton-Tate's SQL Server? Where was 3Com's 3+Open when Microsoft invented LAN Manager (now part of Windows NT Server)? Where was Spyglass's Mosaic when Microsoft invented Internet Explorer? Where was Sun when Microsoft invented Java?
- Signed, a concerned and independent citizen who wishes to remain anonymous.
Former consultant and programmer Nicholas Petreley is editor in chief at NC World (http://www.ncworldmag.com). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit his forum at www.infoworld.com