Wednesday, July 2, 1997 by Dave Winer.
In yesterday's piece, Lost in ActiveX, I said: "Unfortunately NewBot came with a surprise. It only worked on Windows and required Internet Explorer. I found out later that this is because Microsoft partially funded the development of NewBot."
Well, yesterday I got mail from Louis Rossetto, firstname.lastname@example.org, saying "We took no development money from Microsoft." It appears that I got incorrect information, and I apologize to Wired and Louis for running it.
But, where the money came from is of less importance to me than the net-effect. The Internet is my computer now. Nothing new here. My hard disk is extended to millions of other hard disks. I want a command that can organize all the fast-changing stuff that I care about. It's like being a word processor user, desperately waiting for a spell-checker. I know I need it. I get impatient.
Dana Graves, email@example.com, associate producer of the Excite News Channel, read the piece and asked me to look at:
Bravo! An HTML-based just-in-time search engine (HB-JIT-SE). Ye-hi!
Last night I partied with two old friends and a new one, Adam Curry, the former video jock of MTV, and now CTO of OnRamp. A famous face, a young bright man with great stories.
He was nineteen when he was recruited by MTV. He quickly became a celebrity. MTV was as it appeared, 100-percent commercial. Stars have big egos and big power. Michael Jackson wanted to be known as the King of Pop, so there was a rule at MTV that when you mentioned his name, the tagline had to follow.
I dig music. As with search engines, I care little about the money, a few ads are OK, unless they interfere with the human connection by permeating the stuff that's not supposed to be commercial.
The software business is even more commercial than the music business. In this world we worship corporations, the CEOs and their bankrolls. The names of the people who create the software aren't considered important.
Getting money from Microsoft is the way of the software world. In my email exchange with Louis yesterday I didn't make this point very well. Microsoft has the cash, and they know how to use it. Sometimes their purpose appears to be to delay new technology so it can happen sooner on their platform.
In the tradition of the software business there's absolutely nothing unethical about receiving money from Microsoft. I think that's where Louis and I disconnected. I considered it a relevant fact, but it was not a challenge to Wired's integrity. Newbot is software, it's not in the same world as Wired's editorial product.
Microsoft has $9 billion in cash and keeps generating more. Yesterday the rumor that Microsoft is buying CBS. That should be a wake-up call to everyone who cares about commercialism and the media. The ways of the software business added to the power of television. In the NPR report they called Microsoft "the media company." I shivered when I heard that.
Michael Jackson is rich and vain. MTV is sludge. It's a bummer that Curry couldn't say what he wanted to say. So here's a new loop for the software business to explore. Does art play a role in software? If it does, will we allow the art to get thru the new hype machines that are possible by combining the new technologies with Microsoft's money?
PS: Ye-hi is what cowboys shout when they're happy!