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MS, Xerox to port Windows to photocopiers

Official tip-off to WSJ pre-empts official launch

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Microsoft and Xerox spin doctors have tipped off The Wall Street Journal early to the two companies' technology alliance to be announced tomorrow. According to the paper, the two Satan -- one of Software, the other of Photocopiers -- will sign a diabolic pact to ensure Xerox's digital copiers can more easily be connected to Windows NT/2000-based networks. The agreement will see Xerox base its digital copier equipment, which combines printer, fax and scanner facilities in a single unit, on Windows NT, presumably the embedded version Microsoft has been working on for the last six months or so (see Microsoft readies embedded version of NT). At the moment, Xerox uses a Unix-derived OS for its copiers -- according to the WSJ's sources, that OS will ultimately be replaced by NT. The two companies will also design "software applications together", a term so vague as to be meaningless. Presumably what we're really talking about here are the drivers to make the copier plan work. It's telling that the company's spinsters invoke the great Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as the host of thus co-operative coding venture -- Parc is usually trotted out when companies want people to think they're doing something really cutting edge. Parc 'co-operation' with Microsoft isn't new, of course. It developed the concept of the graphical user interface, which Bill Gates pinched round about the same time Steve Jobs was planning to nick it for Apple. Gates retained Parc's multi-button mouse, though its use of contextual menus were longer coming -- even longer on the MacOS. The 'leak' to the WSJ means, of course,that there's now no longer any point in the massed ranks of hacks, assembled by Xerox and Microsoft, being flown out to the US, but we suspect sufficient quantities of beer will laid on to keep them happy... ®

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