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Microsoft Says It Has Lost the Battle for Documents Lock-in

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenSUSE at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft sees what’s coming. Things like Word and Excel sort of like a drug now getting ready to go generic.”

Market Watch

The previous post served as a timely reminder of Microsoft’s nasty battles against ODF. The company thought it could escape law enforcement. We previously wrote about the absurdity of failure to reach justice given insufficient money. Unacceptable conduct is all pretty well documented, but strong verification might be required by the courts.

To defend an aging cash cow, Microsoft relies on vast expenditures and the poverty of opposition that sees and understands the sheer abuse. Those who say that ODF advocates are overly obsessed with OOXML are simply using this as an excuse and method of diverting attention away from this abuse. But now comes some fairly major news.

Whether this was a slip of the tongue of something more official, ladies and gents will be pleased to know that Microsoft has just admitted that “ODF has clearly won.” Yes, that’s an exact quote. Found here in OS News, it is summarised thusly:

The battle between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft’s Open Office XML was long, and here and there rather nasty, but it appears as if we finally have a winner. The company behind OOXML already conceded by announcing it would implement support for ODF in Office 2007 SP2, but now it has also said it quite literally: ODF has won.

Here is the key paragraph from the article that’s being cited.

“ODF has clearly won,” said Stuart McKee, referring to Microsoft’s recent announcement that it would begin natively supporting ODF in Office next year and join the technical committee overseeing the next version of the format.

There are other wins for ODF at the moment. We summarise a few of them below.


IBM steps up its effort and fulfills the promise of eradicating dependencies on Microsoft.

IBM’s management has told 20,000 employees to change from Microsoft Office to Lotus Symphony, its own open source office suite.

There are some more new articles about Lotus Symphony, such as this one from The Bangkok Post.

Lotus, makers of the once mighty 1-2-3 spreadsheet, has announced its return to the consumer software space with the release of the Lotus Symphony 1.0 office suite which was the centre of attention at Lotusphere 2008, Phuket.

Here is a slightly older article from CRN. We do not advocate the use of proprietary software like Symphony, so we’ve hardly mentioned it before. We are, on the other hand, encouraging the use of software like KOffice and OpenOffice.org. Have a look at some news below.

OpenOffice.org in Italy

Bravo to Roberto Galoppini, who is pushing OpenOffice.org further in his country. Now, that’s both patriotism and a fight for computer users’ rights.

The event was opened by Roberto Galoppini, who talked about the approach and methodology available for a successful OpenOffice.org migration. After an introduction to the OpenOffice.org community and the way OpenOffice.org has been promoted in Italy, with significant results (doubling of download year over year), Roberto went ahead with advices on OpenOffice.org migrations, based on his own experience.

Here is a relatively recent article about adoption of OpenOffice.org in Italy:

According to Davide Dozza, Chairman of Associazione PLIO: “The numbers are exactly the same. If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a very strange one. Downloads of the Italian version of OpenOffice.org were 800.000 in 2006 and 1.800.000 in 2007: the difference is exactly in the million of Italians that – according to Microsoft – have downloaded the trial version of Office 2007. We think that these users have decided to switch to OpenOffice.org as soon as they have realized that the effort to get used to the new ribbon interface is higher than the effort to migrate to the open source suite. In 2007, the majority of information requests has been about the compatibility with Windows Vista, and the trend stays unchanged in 2008″.

Italy is one among several countries in Europe that push strongly for a migration to Free software. ODF is clearly a prerequisite whilst the country’s officials are being migrated to GNU/Linux — however gradually. Based on recent press releases, there’s good reception of Red Hat and JBoss over there. Not much from Novell in Italy.

Italy is not alone in recognising this need to evolve.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

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