Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate
Friday July 30th, 1999
As you all know, AOL, Netscape's parent company has been involved in a cat-and-mouse game with Microsoft over access to their Instant Messaging protocol. Yesterday, AOL announced a partnership with Apple to bring Instant Messenger to Mac users. Today, Microsoft and other Messaging hopefuls wrote an open letter to Steve Case of AOL asking him to stop blocking them from access to the Instant Messenger protocol.
I'm not going to go into all the details regarding this at the moment, but I'd like to throw out an opinion and see what mozillaZine readers think. Click Full Article below to read more, and give us your opinions in Talkback.
(Note: this doesn't really affect Mozilla, but since AOL is now Netscape's parent company, I thought it would be interesting to get the opinions from those who are involved in or interested in the Mozilla project.)
Friday July 30th, 1999 9:55 AM
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First of all we all really know that Microsoft only care for open standards when they are behind as it makes it easier for them to catch up. Once they are are in the lead they'll add new 'innovations' that make the product more useful to the user but incompatible with the opposition.
I find it strange that Eric Raymond is supporting Microsoft on this one, they may appear to be doing the right thing but if doing the right thing is just a way to then do the wrong thing then ultimately it is the wrong thing!
ESR shouldn't have been telling the open source community to support Microsoft on this matter, he should have been telling Microsoft to support the open source community and release their messenger open source so it could be ported to other operating systems. Because once the product is open source it's easier to see if they're changing the standard and if they stopped making the product open source (which would only happen if they became the market leader) we could publically show them up for going against their earlier principles on that matter and we'd still have their previous source code too.
Off course the best thing to do with this is to show the world that Microsoft really don't believe in open standards and then tell them that we demand that they make their office document formats open. I think for most people having a format they can use to send documents whether they're word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, etc whatever product they're using and on whatever platform is more important than a stupid instant messenger app.
The difference is that MS is the market leader in office software and they've spent a lot of money to get to that position, just like AOL have with the instant messenger.
Well I do believe there should be an open standard in this and in any other form of communication, however you know Microsoft's motives are not to be open. I support an open standard but I don't support Microsoft unless they stop their hypocritical attitude.
If Microsoft wants our support they have to open up some of their own protocols.