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RE: Official statement from Microsoft concerning CSS, XSL and US Pate nt No. 5,860,073

From: Chris Wilson <cwilso@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 08:30:09 -0800
Message-ID: <C35556591D34D111BB5600805F1961B90C3114AF@RED-MSG-47>
To: "'jrexon@newsguy.com'" <jrexon@newsguy.com>
Cc: "'www-style@w3.org'" <www-style@w3.org>, standards@mercury.projectcool.com
jrexon@newsguy.com [mailto:jrexon@newsguy.com] wrote:
>And now Chris, you have on certain occasions tried to tell us all that
>you had "such a hard time to sell internally" the idea of MS to really
>go into acceptance of CSS support in their browsers as the next route?

I have shared my experience with trying to convince people internally that
fully implementing standards (CSS in particular) is a good thing, yes.  I
don't think anyone in Microsoft has ever suggested (to me) that ANY CSS
support is a bad idea.

>All of a sudden we find out that MS filed for this patent already back
>in 1995 and it's been just standard burocracy delays that made it come
>through just now.
>
>Hmm.. let's see now. In 1995 you where not that "old in employment"
>right? You did not have that much influence on MS browser development
>either at that time (if MS even had a browser then, which I doubt) My
>own English/American WinNT4ws CD from the very first release in late
>1996 has MSIE2 on it.

I came to work for Microsoft in July of 1995.  I switched over to the IE
team in October of 1995.  IE 2.0 was released very late in 1995 (I seem to
recall November or December, but I had little to do with that release) - IE
1.0 was released as part of the Windows 95 Plus pack, which was released in
mid-1995 coincident with Windows 95.

>Someone inside MS has fooled you all over Chris, this patent application
>went in "above your head" and then you have of course been "fighting" to
>get CSS into a company that had already tried to "secure their future"
>in that very same area, phui...

Not at all.  Microsoft is a very large company, with many smaller
sub-companies.  Inter-company communication about pending patents is, among
most large companies to my knowledge, almost non-existent, as it would
threaten the patent.  None of the people whose names are on that patent are
on the IE team; in fact, I have only met one of them, and him only briefly.
This was as great a surprise to my management as it was to myself.

You'll note that I've avoided all discussion of the value of the patent
itself, and not answered any other posts other than Sam Hunting's.  I'm not
in a position to comment on the patent itself; I didn't file it, I should
not discuss its validity for obvious reasons, and I personally have little
particular interest in it beyond its application to Web standards.  I felt
it should be made crystal clear that Microsoft wants CSS and XSL to continue
to be developed as open standards, and that regardless of any other
applicability of the patent in question, CSS and XSL were freely usable.  I
got some agreement that this was the case, and worked with our IP lawyers to
come up with this statement.  I hope this statement puts some issues to
rest.

-Chris Wilson
Received on Wednesday, 10 March 1999 11:30:13 GMT

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