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Internet Critic Takes on Microsoft

Sunday, April 8, 2001 by Dave Winer.

Good evening Permalink to Good evening

An interesting article in tomorrow's NY Times, about none other than yours truly, and one of my favorite subjects, Microsoft.


The piece was written by John Markoff, who I've know for many years, and enjoyed working with on this piece.

Comments Permalink to Comments

First, it's not as bad as the piece makes it sound.

It's true that we hit some rough spots in the interop work we've been doing with Microsoft and others over the last few weeks. It's gone slower than it might have, and Microsoft acted as a BigCo would, and my LittleCo acted as we should, according to our respective sizes.

I don't hate Microsoft, all the time. One could read the piece and conclude that I'm an across-the-board Microsoft basher. I am not. I appreciate the collaboration we've done with them, over the last three years and especially over the last few weeks as things got intense. I especially like that they listen. This is rare for a BigCo, and they do it well.

On the other hand, the Web was sucked into Microsoft, most of us now use Microsoft's browser, and this has not been a good thing for the Web, and it's clearly not in our interest, and I would argue not in Microsoft's, that this happen again. The Internet, and software in general, works best when there's choice for users and freedom for developers. That's the promise of the new layer of the Internet that's in development now. Giving up on independence from Microsoft is not something anyone involved in technology should give up on easily.

I'd also like to challenge a minor point in the article, but a major point to me. XML-RPC has not been overtaken, in fact it looks better all the time. Interop in XML-RPC came easily last summer because the spec is so simple and clear. On the other hand, I'm now confident that we will reach interop in SOAP, we're almost all the way there now, and the will to work together appears stronger than ever. This evening, after the piece came out, I emailed with Microsoft's Andrew Layman, who was also interviewed in the Times piece, and confirmed that we're still on track.

Finally, it's humbling to see so many of my words in a publication I admire as much as I do the Times. But I'd like to come off as more thoughtful and more dignified. Perhaps I will work on that.

"It's even worse than it appears."

See you tomorrow!


PS: Wired is running a profile on me, it's in the current issue. I haven't had the courage to look, yet. ;->

PPS: More comments on Scripting News, my weblog.

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