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07.08.07

OpenDocument Format Cannot Win Adoption Through Piracy

Posted in Asia, Formats, ISO, Linspire, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Videos, Xandros at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The document formats debate has a lot to do with Microsoft’s deals, including the deal with Novell. One particular issue that escapes people’s attention is the impact of piracy on the choice of file formats. It is one among several other factors worth considering here, including:

  1. Default file type. Microsoft urges all Office 2007 users to save files in their own ‘new and improved’ formats.
  2. Limiting selection of file types. Microsoft does not support OpenDocument in any way, other than saying that it’s “pro choice”.
  3. Forcing the use of a particular file type. A free trial version of Office 2007 conveniently left the “save as…” option (for non-OOXML formats) greyed out.
  4. Boasting existing userbase. One of Microsoft’s ‘selling points’ is the number of documents that are already encoded using Microsoft’s code.
  5. Grassroots, political manipulation, and ballot stuffing. Those who have followed this Web site for a while know exactly how it all works.
  6. Buying support. The deals with Novell, Linspire, and Xandros have these companies obliged to show and offer their support for Linux-hostile formats.

We could probably come up with a few more points, but just to get the idea across, this ought to be sufficient.

Over the weekend, MarketWatch published an article from the somewhat notorious John Dvorak. The article mentions the document formats debate and explains how turning a blind eye to piracy not only helps in suppression of Linux adoption; it also helps Microsoft spread its own format while ignoring the ISO standard. De facto standards rely on how widespread they become. It’s a case of “spreading the disease” (format). Piracy plays a role here and Microsoft would happily look the other way while certain parts of the world pirate Office 2007.

The article also explains why Microsoft needs to be split into separate smaller companies. This is probably the more courageous statement and it is less relevant to this site, assuming we have already fallen off the edge of our Novell scope.

I have always believed that the best thing for Microsoft to do is break itself up into three or maybe four separate companies, and go from there. It has distinct mini-corporations within the structure already.

In case you wonder why the author is not quite so reliable, have a look at his own explanation (however lame this admission of trolling might seem).

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