EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.01.08

Document Formats Roundup: Why Microsoft Should Worry

Posted in Europe, ISO, Law, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

flickr:2401273308

Recently we wrote about the gradual demise of Microsoft Office and OOXML. ODF has something to do with it, but there are other factors too and Microsoft hopes to turn back the clock and create new barriers to trade and competition.

Being the cash cow which makes up for divisions that operate at a loss, Office is something that will have Microsoft fight like there is no tomorrow. It will have Microsoft employees fly half-way across the world to stalk those who can be 'persuaded'. It will have them pack up a suitcase for surprise visits, later to be followed by vicious attacks and insults. Lo and behold. It’s the legendary bully every mother should teach her children about.

Premature Defeat

Fortunately, after persistent pressure from many directions, OOXML is suffering some setbacks. Optimistically enough, the following opinion piece from Computer World suggests that “Microsoft lost the office file format battle.” Here is a truthful observation.

There are two main ways to fail at the standards game: You can create software that handles documents in formats for which no true standards exist, or you can create a standard that exists only on paper and in committee, with no reference software implementation. Amazingly, for all its hype and bluster, with OOXML Microsoft has managed to do both.

Departures

Microsoft’s vapourware announcement (regarding ODF support) was intended to secure and extend Microsoft Office contracts, based on just a bunch of promises put on paper. It has some lesser-evident downfalls.

There are news stories suggesting that a defection from Microsoft Office is inevitable, at least in some places. Latvia, for example, appears to be preparing its citizens for OpenOffice.org adoption.

The city council of Ogre is providing free training for OpenOffice, an Open Source suite of office applications, to improve the competitiveness of the local businesses and boost the performance of the local government.

Ogre, a town with some 27,000 inhabitants is about 30 km southeast of Latvia’s capital Riga.

There are stories from individuals too, such as this one. [via Bob Sutor]

My viewpoint is changing now that it’s not part of my job. When it turned out that I hadn’t officially purchased Office, I questioned if I still wanted to.

A former Microsoft evangelist, Robert Scoble, found himself in a similar situation about a month ago. This shows that even the company’s biggest fans no longer see the need to purchase Microsoft Office because surrogate/replacement applications that are better connected (e.g. Web-based) become a commodity.

The sum of all fears does not end here. Irregular or even criminal action has not been forgotten yet.

Complaints

Yesterday we mentioned the latest complaint from Denmark (OSL). Groklaw has the details now, including some translations. In addition to this, Microsoft and ISO are getting very bad publicity at the moment because the press has finally caught up with the news about the formal appeals. Here are some articles of interest:

New York Times: Brazil and India Challenge Microsoft Office Document Standard

IEC’s Buck expects to have more to say about the appeals process next week, but noted that the situation is unusual.

“This is the first such appeal after a BRM process in ISO/IEC JTC 1, although appeals occur regularly in other technical committees,” he said.

Market Watch: Brazil, India join appeal of Microsoft standards push

Organizations from Brazil and India joined the appeal of a controversial vote that made Microsoft Corp.’s Open XML file format an international standard, threatening to delay final certification of the technology for a month or longer.

AFP: Brazil, India, SAfrica appeal standard status for Microsoft Office

Brazil, India and South Africa have lodged an appeal against a decision to grant international standard recognition to Microsoft’s Office software package, a standards agency overseeing the case said Friday.

CRN: Brazil And India Appeal Microsoft’s OOXML Standard

Even before these appeals, Microsoft’s Office Open XML victory in April has not been without opposition.Critics have strongly spoken out against Microsoft’s OOXML format, citing worrisome issues such as the ISO’s fast-track approval process and complicated voting procedure.

Embargo and Antitrust Revisited

For those wondering about the Microsoft embargo proposal in Europe (we’ve received enquires by E-mail), none of it has been dismissed or disregarded. The following new article alludes to it and also reminds us all that the European Commission is likely yet to deliver another blow to Microsoft for its carefless abuse of the entire process.

Even if Microsoft can hold the line and push OOXML through that final hoop, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean success. A member of the European Parliament recently called for a five-year ban on government contracts to Microsoft due to the loss of its antitrust case with the European Commission in September.

Besides that, the EC continues to investigate Microsoft’s alleged misbehavior during the ISO standards process. Finally, browser competitor Opera Software has also filed complaints against Microsoft with the EC.

Whether any of those moves will ultimately result in bringing down the software giant, however, is anybody’s guess at this point.

“There’s enough antipathy toward Microsoft, from competitors, critics, governments, and even some politicians who have grievances with them [that] there’s inevitably going to be that constant clipping away at the company,” Davis said. “But it’s hard to tell which action is going to blossom into a real threat,” he added.

It would be too easy to permit Microsoft to paint itself a victim.

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Don't Kick the Puppy That is Suing Linux Using Patents While Bribing Officials, Threatening Critics and Hijacking the Linux Foundation

    Jim Zemlin is protecting the "puppy" (to use his own analogy), Microsoft, while getting paid about/almost a million dollars per year (about the same amount of money Microsoft pays his PAC)



  2. EPO Gradually Becoming the World's Most Permissive (Low Patent Quality) Patent Office by Consciously Violating the EPC

    Today's European Patent Office is making innovation a lot harder for Europeans; it limits what people can freely do, e.g. what computer code they can implement, and only lawyers are loving it



  3. Tweets Are Not Journalism But Succinct Unverified Hearsay; Time to Treat Them Accordingly

    Childish public discourse can be attributed to SMS-sized nonsense posted in a hurry by career provocateurs, not grown-ups (becoming a waste of time for actual reporters who spend hours/days correcting the record after these go 'viral'); this is killing responsible journalism, necessitating a rethink



  4. The Web is Not JavaScript

    Simple sites respect visitors; rather than and instead of exploiting them or passing burdens to user-end browsers we should focus on text and links — the very core components of hypertext as opposed to bells and whistles



  5. Links 21/7/2019: DXVK 1.3.1, GameMode, Mutter 3.33.4

    Links for the day



  6. Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  7. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  8. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  9. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  10. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  11. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  12. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  13. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  14. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  15. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  16. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  17. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  19. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  20. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  21. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  22. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  23. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  24. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  25. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  26. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day



  27. Links 16/7/2019: Btrfs Gets 'Cleaned Up', Clonezilla Live 2.6.2-15

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow

    Assuming that he was informed, then it seems fair to say that Battistell’s little “joke” at the expense of the Boards was in very bad taste



  29. EPO Noise Machine Turned On as Haar Hearing Kicks Off, Patrick Corcoran Defamed Again

    The EPO does not want people to hear about Haar; it just wants people to hear about how wonderful the EPO is and there are some who have just decided to slander Patrick Corcoran again



  30. Microsoft is 'Doing Kamikaze' (神風) on Linux

    An analogy for what the Linux (only in name!) Foundation and Microsoft mean to Linux — or by extension to GNU/Linux and Free software whose largest repository Microsoft took control of


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts