Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 14/02/2002Something else to send shivers down Microsoft's spine -- the state attorneys general still running the antitrust case against the companies have requested to see the Windows source code. MS has always been fiercely protective about this, ostensibly because sight of it would allow competitors to steal the most vital and proprietary component of the company's soul.

Thursday 14/02/2002

Something else to send shivers down Microsoft's spine -- the state attorneys general still running the antitrust case against the companies have requested to see the Windows source code. MS has always been fiercely protective about this, ostensibly because sight of it would allow competitors to steal the most vital and proprietary component of the company's soul. "Like forcing Coca-Cola to reveal its secret formula," says one lawyer.

Which makes sense only if you don't think about it. Firstly, there aren't any competitors to Microsoft -- at least, nobody's out there making another Windows. And if you're not, then MS's source code is no good to you. And even if the source code was revealed and I decided to take advantage and launch Winpert XP, Microsoft could have me bang to rights in microseconds -- any use I made of the code itself would stand out like a naked guardsman during the Trooping of the Colour. And in any case, whichever expert witnesses the court decided to let see the code could be sworn into some pretty severe privacy agreements themselves -- any leaks would be traceable in no time.

The only way Microsoft could be hurt by Windows source code being made visible would be if there were nasty secrets in there. Say, stuff to prevent competitor products from working at all, or code that was only there to make it impossible to unbundled Internet Explorer from the operating system.... Or have I missed something?