Microsoft shopping for Java alternative

Bill Felton bfelton at
Tue Feb 16 00:44:51 UTC 1999

At 06:24 PM 2/13/99 +0100, you wrote:
>Kevin Fisher wrote:
>> As a side note, didn't bill gates give a talk recently somewhere where
>> he made a not-so-flattering reference to Smalltalk?
>Irrelevant. Bill did a 180 degrees turn on Internet matters. There's no
>reason why he wouldn't do the same about Smalltalk.

He already has, at least once.
If you go back several years, to the "glory days" of Digitalk,
you will find a Bill Gates quote gracing the back of the manual,
saying laudatory things about Smalltalk.

>There are two reasons why Microsoft will not adopt Smalltalk:
>1) There is a good free environment already. Microsoft is already
>paranoid about Open Source; it won't support anything that they can't
>effectively make Closed Source. IOW if they adopt Smalltalk they will
>try to make Squeak obsolete as soon as they can, or not move to
>Smalltalk at all.
>2) Bill is a BASIC fan(atic). I think Microsoft does C++, Pascal, etc.
>only because there was no way around it. I don't think MS will adopt any
>language that's both powerful and easy to use; rather, they will make
>Visual Basic (or whatever it's name in its then-current incarnation)
>adopt Smalltalk features. (VB seems to have stuff that's being hyped as
>OO already.)

Rumor has it that such was the intent behind the near-purchase of Digitalk
by Microsoft.  My sources claim the purchase was not for the sake of
acquiring a Smalltalk, but for the sake of acquiring the compiler technology
for beefing up VB.  
But regardless, other sources have claimed that Bill has (or had for a while)
switched his standard complaint during required demos to him of MS software
under development.  Once upon a time, he queried "How long will it take you
to <xxx>?" and then contemptuously responded "I could do it in a week in
Basic".  He is alleged to later have gone to commenting "I could do it in
days in Smalltalk"...

Bill Felton
Gryfon Technologies

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list