04.09.08

Microsoft’s Secret Anti-ODF Deals

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader has just sent us the following good pointer.

“Below is a blog entry from ThinkFree,” he writes.

“Benedict said,

April 8, 2008 @ 12:43 am

I’m marketing manager Benedict from ThinkFree.
Thanks for your suggestion !

We are also considering the ODF support in ThinkFree.
By the way, There is one obstacle for solving the problem…
That is MS Policy for ODF, Because of interoperability with MS
Office in ThinkFree,

We still need the MS cooperation that support OOXML,,,
I think you can understand this situation & MS policy strategy…
But we plan to solve this political problems, and also We will
make the detour.
Anyway, We feel your kind mind… Thanks”

Can you see what is happening here?

Our reader adds: “It looks like the hoops to jump through for OOXML include speed bumps for open formats like ODF. Could that a main reason Apple held back for two years on ODF?”

“…it is yet another example of using money or other incentives to stifle ODF.”I personally complained about Apple’s lack of support for the international standard (ODF) in public forums and portals in the past. I did this on several occasions only to find that Mac users supported my comments. Eventually, Apple added some ODF support. But the deals between Apple and Microsoft are something that we looked at before (they are similar to Novell's). Those two companies are closer than people realise and more collaborative than Mac users wish to believe.

While the above revelation does not involve Apple directly, it is yet another example of using money or other incentives to stifle ODF. Microsoft has been very systematic about it and a source close to ODF opines that Microsoft will even try to actively intercept ODF 1.2 at ISO.

“There won’t be anything we won’t say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go.”

Bill Gates

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6 Comments

  1. Jimbo Jones said,

    April 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Gravatar

    In reading the above mentioned blog, it seems the author says he misspoke, and that it was his personal opinion. Another member of the company said explicitly that they would not accept any such deal, and that the problems with ODF were strictly in terms of them not knowing much about it yet, and having certain compatibility conerns they need to figure out solutions for.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Gravatar

    They could be covering their backs. There are other incidents and I’ve just been sent this:

    http://www.universal-interop-council.org/node/29 (not read it yet)

  3. Jimbo Jones said,

    April 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Gravatar

    They could be, but they could also be telling the truth.

    I guess you choose to assume they’re lying.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 11, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Gravatar

    I assume nothing. but I present the inconsistencies or contradictions. They are likely to mean nothing, but the opposite should not be ruled out entirely.

  5. Victor Soliz said,

    April 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Gravatar

    They could be, but they could also be telling the truth.

    I guess you choose to assume they’re lying.

    And you seem to assume they are not lying.

    I got an easy way to find out if they are lying. If there really is an MS anti ODF deal involved, then they will not support ODF. If there isn’t an anti ODF clause, they will.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 11, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft can be very sophisticated in such situations. Microsoft does not directly penalise for supporting ODF (it’s too risky, transparent). Instead, it offers incentives if the developer or packager does not encourage the use of ODF (or contrariwise, if the developer promotes OOXML rather than demotes ODF). Negatives and positives are the game played here. Punishment versus reward.

    For precedence, I recommend that you read the antitrust exhibits cited here (among others). In some of them you will find out how Microsoft virtually pressured if not forced OEMs not to create an icon for (let alone preinstall) Netscape Navigator.

    Defense from involved party is matter of securing the special relationship. Again it’s worth stressing that it’s rather speculative. Only ThinkFree knows its arrangements with Microsoft.

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