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Re: Preferential Access to OS code

  Dear James,
  This is the primary reason we're in the pickle we're in!!!!!!! Until
  Microsoft is FORCED to cease this practice, there will be NO END to their
  dominant position.
  Marvin C. Slayton, mailto:mcs@mail.scsinfo.com
  Structured Computer Systems, Inc., http://www.scsinfo.com
  30 Tower Lane, Avon, CT 06001
  phone: 860.677.0222,  fax: 860.677.7157
  -----Original Message-----
  From: James Love <love@cptech.org>
  To: Multiple recipients of list <am-info@essential.org>
  Date: Tuesday, November 18, 1997 2:18 PM
  Subject: Preferential Access to OS code
  >Karl Auerbach's interesting note regarding the problems of competing
  >with Microsoft when Microsoft provides its own programmers preferential
  >access to OS code.    jamie
  >Subject:  Re: DOJ asked to stop MS monopolization of browser market
  >   Date:  Sun, 16 Nov 1997 15:54:07 -0800 (PST)
  >   From:  Karl Auerbach <karl@cavebear.com>
  > Reply-To: cni-copyright@cni.org
  >       To: Multiple recipients of list <cni-copyright@cni.org>
  >Not that this thread has a lot to do with copyright any longer...
  >> Also, there is a very important "developer market" -- that is, getting
  >> developers to develop products based on your product.
  >I develop software at Precept Software.  (In particular I build software
  >to do near broadcast quality audio/video on Win 95 and NT platforms over
  >standard TCP/IP networks, especially those supporting IP multicast.)
  >Anyway, I've been looking at how IE4 claims to fit into Windows 95 and
  >One of the means by which they have been able to combine the file system
  >and the network is by a thing they call "Shell Namespaces".
  >Essentially, when the file system viewer encounters a read-only
  >directory containing a file named "desktop.ini", the viewer, rather than
  >displaying the files, launches a program referenced by a field whithin
  >the "desktop.ini" file.
  >This mechanism was not released until the IE4 software came out.  I'm
  >not sure when the API documentation was released, but it reasonably new.
  >And the documentation is not complete -- Microsoft is clearly and
  >demonstrably using undocumented extensions.
  >Microsoft's developers had perhaps a years prior access to this idea,
  >and also had the opportunity to refine its design and implementation to
  >accomodate the needs of IE4.
  >Outside developers had no such opportunity.
  >Thus, if there were two equally imaginative and creative development
  >teams, one inside Microsoft and one outside, the latter is at a
  >substantial disadvantage.
  >The outsiders don't have the opportunity available to Microsoft insiders
  >to bounce ideas for new functionality off of the core OS group or to
  >obtain knowledge that resides between the lines of the published
  >And if an outsider gets a good idea and talks it over with a
  >Microsoftie, the outsider is essentially divulging some of its
  >intellectual property advantages to an actual or potential competitor,
  >The whole issue whether IE4 is part of the OS or not is utterly
  >irrelevant.  To use that distinction as the basis for judgement is to
  >concede the outcome to Microsoft.
  >The real issue is whether Microsoft dominant position in OS's (including
  >compilers and development libraries) is giving it an improper advantage
  >in the development or commercialization of new software ideas.
  >>From my point of view as a software developer, it is my opinion that
  >Microsoft's position constitutes a sword of Damocles over every
  >independent developer.  In many senses, if one has a good idea that one
  >hopes to bring to sucessful fruition, it is better to sell out to
  >Microsoft or to become an employee there than to try to do outside the
  >                 --karl--
  >Karl Auerbach