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. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  2. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  3. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  4. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  5. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  6. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  7. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  8. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  9. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  10. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  11. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  12. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  14. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  15. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  16. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  17. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  19. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  20. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  21. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  22. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  23. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  24. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  25. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  26. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  27. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  28. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  29. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  30. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts