Secret, high level meetings with Microsoft executives have been held over the past year to develop a rock solid plan to compete with, and destroy Apple’s dominant position with online music and portable music players.
Documents have been obtained by this reporter which show Microsoft is about to launch a major marketing, technical, and legal offensive against Apple, the Linux community, and Open Source.
The document, written by Bill Gates himself and addressed to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, provides the executive management team with “all resources necessary” to overtake Apple’s lead in online music and portable music players, and to “pull out all the stops” in an effort to topple Linux and Open Source as viable threats to the company’s monopoly.
The document not only targets Apple and various major Linux players, but provides specifics sufficient to cause concern for all Microsoft competitors.
First, Gates acknowledges Apple’s unique contribution to the computer desktop and points out that without Apple’s Mac GUI (graphical user interface), Windows would never have seen the light of day at Microsoft.
Gates congratulated Ballmer and the executive team for creating substantial legal “shenanigans” which avoided a huge payout to the government for Microsoft’s monopolistic practices.
However, Gates’ internal and private memo then asserts “Microsoft’s rights in the digital age” and directs the company to do whatever it takes to reverse Apple’s recent good fortunes and to assert Microsoft’s patent portfolio and bring sufficient lawsuits to bear on the Linux and Open Source community. Objective? Microsoft’s customers would never again consider an alternative.
Multiple Microsoft sources, at the risk of not only losing their lucrative management positions, and perhaps bringing on legal action from the company, provided us with sufficient documents to determine that the plan not only has been approved, but was implemented early in 2004.
Microsoft’s recent problems with security issues in Internet Explorer and Windows XP Service Pack 2 are actually a smokescreen designed to avoid public, private, and governmental scrutiny over “the plan.”
Microsoft’s ALOS Plan’s executive summary, Part One, then describes the basic competitive initiatives as operations against “Apple, the iPod portable music player, iTunes, QuickTime, and the iTunes Music Store, as well as Apple’s Mac OS X operating system.”
Gates’ concluded the executive summary with a requirement for Microsoft’s legal team to begin “pressing hard against all Linux distributors, Linux users, the Open Source community” with “patent and copyright legal initiatives” to bring an immediate end to Linux and Open Source market share.
While general in nature, it’s obvious from Part One that Microsoft intends to launch an all out war against Apple, the iPod portable music player, the iTunes Music Store, and Mac OSX (having embarrassed Microsoft by launching a durable, dependable, secure operating system while Windows XP remains riddled with problems, security holes).
Should Mac users beware? What will become of the Linux distributors, Linux users, and the Open Source community?
Part Two of the executive summary goes into more details and provides some surprising angles to Microsoft’s struggle to maintain market share and revenue growth.
Click Here for Page 2 and more details…
Continued from Page 1…
Many industry observers, aware of the plan, said this strategy is to be expected. In the past two years the company has seen declining revenue growth, declining profit growth, market share drops in key competitive areas, and competition not only from Linux and Open Source, but especially from long time nemesis, Apple Computer.
Windows’ “Longhorn” (the next revolution in the Windows saga) is years behind schedule and features are being slashed dramatically simply to get a new, more secure version of Windows into the hands of users before XP runs out of steam.
Part Two of Bill Gate’s plan to take back market share and computer “mindshare” carries the most remarkable and ambitious initiatives ever undertaken by the Redmond, WA software maker.
According to the leaked memo of directives to CEO Ballmer and the executive team, Gates made some startling requests with unusual candor and clarity for an executive long accused of spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Gates made the following multi-step requests of the executive team.
First, Windows “Longhorn” will be made available to Windows users in the first half of 2005. Longhorn will be a fully secure operating system, impervious to worms, viruses, or trojan horse applications. By default setup, Longhorn will be fully secure, with no open ports.
Second, Longhorn will include a new file search capability known as SearchIt, enabling users to find any file on the Windows hard drive in seconds, including embedded text, by using simple keyword search.
Third, Longhorn will ship with a new version of Windows Media Player 11, code-named “QuickMedia.” This new version will be able to play or display any type of media file from any platform, including Apple’s ACC and FairPlay DRM, MP3s, and MPEG, and Sony’s new ATRAC format.
Also, Longhorn will include a new communications platform; an application that will permit live audio connections (like a telephone) between Windows-based computers.
The major component of the application, code-named “ClickChat” will be a video and audio codec which will allow multiple video connections simultaneously between Windows computers.
Paying tribute to the Apple-inspired “digital hub” Gates has personally requested that Microsoft launch Longhorn with a new code-name which will be more user friendly and avoid the stigma already present in the marketplace; “Tigger2.”
Tigger2 will utilize components of “QuckMedia” in a newly revamped Microsoft Music Store and portable music player. The Music Store will feature over 2-million songs and the entire collection of Beatles music will be available for free download for the first six months to every registered QuickMedia user.
To ensure a rapid increase of market share, Microsoft will team with a number of portable music player manufacturers to provide a proprietary music player which will play every format currently available, regardless of platform or digital rights management scheme.
The Microsoft player is code-named “PlayMe” and will retail for $99 for 20 gigabytes of storage, and $159 for 40-gigabytes of storage. The Gates’ memo notes that actual costs to manufacture such a device exceed the retail cost, however, Microsoft will subsidize the manufacturing cost in order to expand the company’s market share.
All these features of Tigger2, and the portable music player, which will be called “iPop”, are scheduled to be released, according to the memo, “in the first half of 2005.” iPop will not be Mac compatible. It will play music from RealNetworks’ music store, only backwards.
As a further incentive to Windows users who purchased iPods and downloaded music from Apple’s popular iTunes Music Store, Gates has requested that a “rebate” be provided to customers of equal value to expenditures made to purchase an iPod and downloaded music from iTMS.
To demonstrate Microsoft’s new focus on customer requirements, all purchases of Tigger2 will be capable of running on PCs with 128 megs of RAM, and a 20 gigabyte hard disk. A new version of Microsoft Office will be released at the same time as Tigger2 with the new marketing name of Microsoft Office: Millenium Edition, in honor of the new century, and the company’s renewed, customer-centric focus.
Gates has long been a proponent of tablet PCs and “media” computers which can record and playback video. Designating the year 2005 as “The Year of Windows Media,” Gates will launch a handheld, wireless, tablet video communications device in the “second half of 2005.” The device will be backwards compatible with current wireless networks and provide full video and audio communications in a hardware package half the size of a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper and half as thick as an iPod.
The handheld device will be called “CU-SeeMe” and will feature a built-in 5 megapixel camera, wireless Internet access, microphone, color touch screen capability, speakers, video and audio in/out, USB 3.0, Windows “Tigger2 Extreme CE” operating system, and Microsoft Office: ME PU (Portable Undertaking), and retail for $299.
Full details of Gates’ plan beyond the multi-page executive summary were not available, however, it is known that Linux users will not receive the same “open arms” approach by Microsoft as Apple iPod owners. In cooperation with attorneys from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), Microsoft will individually bring a lawsuit against each Linux user for copyright and patent infringement. First notices of “cease and desist” orders are scheduled to be sent out November 24th, 2004.
Gates noted that Steve Ballmer himself had conducted an internal audit of projections of the new Gates Plan, and Microsoft expects market share to increase to 98.6-percent by the end of 2005.
Repeated calls to Apple Computer executives to comment on the Gates Plan have gone unanswered. Microsoft’s official response to queries about the existence of a “Gates Plan” was, “We do not comment on unannounced products.”
Is it time to sound off? What are your views on the Gates Plan? Share your thoughts via the Feedback link below, or the Comments link. Do you think there were too many mushrooms in my mushroom soup dinner at the diner?
Could be. Stranger things have happened, no?
Damn those mushrooms. It all seemed so real.