Microsoft kills another word: interoperable joins innovation

Computerworld News reports “Microsoft’s Gates vows ‘interoperable’ software. In a lengthy letter to customers yesterday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates spelled out a new mission for his company’s software: better interoperability. ”

That’s just silly. Microsoft got into the market interoperating with IBM LAN Manager, then Novell networking. Until Microsoft actually shows they are acting differently, this is just a rehash of “Embrace, Enhance, Extend, Extinguish.” Microsoft is using their marketing machine to kill the meaning of another word, just as they distorted the “right to innovate” to mean “using monopolistic practices to dominate a marketplace and crush competition,” they are trying to redefine “interoperate” to mean “Microsoft can access everything but no one can access them.”

Recently, Microsoft was embroiled in a controversy over theopennessof their Office XML. (HINT: Don’t bother, go with’s soon-to-be-OASIS-standard format. Tools are out there.) The resolution was for Microsoft to issue a new license for their XML that effectively limits others to read and not write the format, and also a poison-pill requirement that software contain a clause specifying the technologies are licensed from Microsoft, a requirement which prevents the formats from being used in GPL software.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft is trying this tactic. Let’s see what happens next.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.