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Microsoft's Motivations

Wednesday, August 14, 1996 by Dave Winer.

Good morning!

In yesterday's piece, Before It Gets Too Hot I said: "The [Wall Street Journal] theorizes that Microsoft is investing in the Mac market to avoid the scrutiny of US government's anti-trust attorneys. Maybe so. We all have our theories why Microsoft is here.

"But Microsoft has no statement I can refer you to. So here's an invitation to Bill Gates, Brad Silverberg, John Ludwig or Don Bradford at Microsoft. Why are you investing in the Mac platform? What are your hopes? What role would you like to play? If Microsoft will issue a statement, I'd be happy to run it in DaveNet."

Microsoft's response came from John Ludwig, Vice President, Internet Platform and Tools Division, johnlu@microsoft.com.

Ludwig speaks Permalink to Ludwig speaks

Dave, thanks for the invite to speak in your column.

Our motivations for providing Mac Internet Explorer are pretty simple. We intend to be a leading vendor of Internet software. We understand that, by its very nature, the Internet software market is a cross platform market. You can't be a leading vendor of Internet software unless you provide your products cross platform.

So we started our Mac Internet Explorer team last August. We gave them a simple charter -- provide the best Mac Internet software on the market. We don't have any more complex goals than this. We just want to provide the fastest, smallest, most functional, most robust Mac Internet software possible. We want to integrate with other Mac software well so that Mac users have a great experience. We think we have achieved these goals with Mac Internet Explorer 2.0; we think we will start to pull away from the pack with Internet Explorer 3.0 for the Mac.

As for some of the allegations about our motives in the Wall Street Journal, they are completely unfounded. We don't spend time thinking about Mac marketshare; Mac marketshare is Apple's issue to wrestle with, we don't believe that Mac Internet Explorer has any significant impact one way or another. We don't offer payments to ISVs to work with us as a regular practice. Like every company, on occasion we will have strategic business relationships with a selected few number of partners, and sometimes cash payments will be a part of these relationships, but this is the exception, not the rule.

We do intend to work with partners broadly in the Mac software marketplace just as we do in the Windows marketplace. We know that our software is more valuable when it interoperates well with the large variety of other solutions out there, we will continue to invest in working relationships with all the players in the Mac software marketplace.

I hope this clarifies our goals. To reiterate -- our goal is to provide the best Mac Internet browser product on the market, supporting our overall goal to be a leading vendor of Internet software.

John Ludwig

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