Robert Scoble has written a short response to my previous article.  His first question:

Serving files is one thing. But how much of the “WinFS experience” (which is quite cool) should be shared with older or non-Longhorn OS’s?

Good question, though not really one anyone but Microsoft can answer.  Without interoperability, WinFS isn’t much use to me, personally.

His second question:

Here’s the important question: why? What is the “win-win” for investing the time and work to give these to a standards body? How will Microsoft recoup its investment? Remember, at the end of the day, Microsoft is a business and needs to see a return on investment.

Well, the web was built on standards.  Heck, it was built before Microsoft decided it wanted in.  It’s a standardized, shared protocol (well, if you don’t count all the vender-specific bugs and additions) that we all use to communicate.  It’s gained a fair amount of traction and popularity.  Some of the comments on Robert’s story here indicate that this is a view shared by many:

The difference between tcp/ip and the dozens of competing network protocols is standards, and the commitment to make things work together. IBM had a bigger internal network than the Internet for a *long* time – where is it now? Incompatible and dead. Novell made a fortune off of it’s own network protocol. Where is it now? Incompatible and dead.

Oh yeah.  There’s also the matter of Microsoft’s massive war chest.  Why not use some of that war chest to manoeuvre the company into a healthy competitive position, rather than the monopolistic giant it is now?  This is an illustration of Microsoft’s profit from their latest SEC filing, care of The Inquirer and groklaw:

The Server and Tools unit had costs of $1496 million and generated $370 million, a 24.7% profit.

The Information Worker units, responsible for application software, had costs of just $696 million and that generated $1591 million, a profit of 228.6% of the money they spent.

The grand-daddy of them all was the unit responsible for Windows. It had costs of just $545 million but generated a profit of $2264 million, a staggering 415.4% profit on the money they put into it.

Staggering indeed.  Makes you wonder why they worry about “what’s in it for Microsoft?”

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