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12.28.07

Format Siege — Buying One’s Way Through Pressure, Using Incentives

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Finance, Formats, Fraud, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell supports OOXML for cash

Just say no to Mono

OOXML is about money

OOXML is all about money.

OOXML is about Microsoft’s revenue stream (cash cow), by Microsoft's own admission.

OOXML support is bought using money, which is passed to Microsoft partners.

OOXML support is also bought by providing incentives to those who vote on it.

OOXML support in the enterprise has monetary reasons behind it. Microsoft fuels such support using money.

(Dis)Information on OOXML, e.g. in Wikipedia, is paid for by Microsoft.

OOXML evangelists are receiving special treatment and compensated by Microsoft in one way or another.

Studies on OOXML are commissioned and funded by Microsoft. Their outcome is therefore unsurprising.

”Money makes the world go round, but should standards bodies and governments fall victim to this rule?“We have shown solid examples of all the above. Each and every one of them has an event or a fiasco to support it, so there needn’t be any arguments about it.

With Novell supporting OOXML, Microsoft partners supporting OOXML, and other cases where there are financial reason for support, let it be agreed upon that OOXML has only money as its inertia factor. Money makes the world go round, but should standards bodies and governments fall victim to this rule? What does that say about those standards bodies and governments?

The following new article insinuates that there is a certain inevitability here. Microsoft will move the goalposts by altering the format and altering voters (some have already lost their jobs for resisting Microsoft), until Microsoft gets it way.

7. Microsoft loses the first round in the Office Open XML standardization efforts. Microsoft’s attempt to push through a super-complicated proprietary standardization for an OSI rubber stamp failed. However, there appears to be little doubt that OOXML will be standardized at some point—whether it’s in February 2008 or later. Microsoft will not back down, and eventually its ruthless lobbying will succeed.

While this isn’t a lost cause, it’s important to stress and to show the true story, which involves providing incentives (bribery) to influence and/or create voters. This isn’t an isolated case. Microsoft has been accused of similar behaviour in the past and it even does it in a separate area at present. Let us look at the moment at DVD format wars. It’s an important set of stories that we covered before but have neglected for a while.

The idea of a financial siege was articulated a while back in this interview with Cringely.

Microsoft of course. They have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either.

A variant of such ‘deep pockets wars’ was used extensively by Intel against AMD, but it is also said to be used by Microsoft to battle Blu-ray and HD DVD. Here is one of the latest articles on this issue.

Both rival formats seeking to become the high-definition successor to the DVD have attracted consumers, and while Blu-ray Disc leads HD DVD, the race is far from over.

[...]

“That is the dirty secret no one is talking about,” said Bay, director of the recent hit film “Transformers.” “They want confusion in the market until they perfect the digital downloads.” Microsoft sells HD movie and TV show downloads to its video game consoles through its Xbox Live Marketplace.

Microsoft calls Bay’s comments “unfounded.”

Here is the previous article which started a lot of this pow-wow, stirring endless discussions with analogies (think ODF).

Microsoft is deliberately feeding into the HD disc format wars to ensure that its own downloads succeed where physical copies fail, says movie director Michael Bay in a response to a question posed through his official forums. The producer contends that Microsoft is writing “$100 million dollar checks” to movie studios to ensure HD DVD exclusives that hurt the overall market regardless of the format’s actual merit or its popularity, preventing any one format from gaining a clear upper hand. Bay’s own Transformers is available on disc only in the less popular HD DVD format despite his stated preference for Blu-ray. To the director, this is primarily a stalling tactic while Microsoft refines its own online-only technology.

Here is one incident that Michael Bay was referring to:

But money talks: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD, according to two Viacom executives with knowledge of the deal but who asked not to be identified.

[...]

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation declined to comment. Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks. “We provided no financial incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever,” said Amir Majidimehr, the head of Microsoft’s consumer media technology group.

This was covered here in the past. There are some examples of dumping technique, including this ones.

Is Toshiba Giving Away The Razor [HD DVD] To Get You To Buy The Blades?

[...]

I just received an e-mail tonight from the folks at the EMA (Electronic Merchant’s Association), who are responsible for a big industry event next week, the Home Media Expo.

Here is another example.

Tosh[iba] to tempt laptop buyers with free HD DVDs

[...]

Buy it and the company will send you the discs – worth £75, it said.

There is a lot more to so-called ‘format wars’ than what meets the eye. We shall continue to watch this closely.

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