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05.20.09

Net Applications Has Former Microsoft Employee, Also a Microsoft Investor?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Net Applications

Summary: Vicinity Corporation and Matt Hopkins make another strong link between Microsoft and Net Applications, whose data it admits to be flawed

WE ARE WELL aware already that Net Applications is funded by Microsoft in the form of clientèle and the company’s output sure feeds a lot of anti-GNU/Linux writers like Preston Gralla from IDG. They just need some manufactured numbers with which to suppress and demoralise the competition, as explained very lucidly in Microsoft's effective evangelism courses.

“They just need some manufactured numbers with which to suppress and demoralise the competition, as explained very lucidly in Microsoft’s effective evangelism courses.”Net Applications has admitted that its sample set is not representative of the global population of Web sites and a lot of people conveniently ignore this (with exceptions that get washed away by “yes men”). Moreover, Chips has just told us that the company’s Twitter account is run by Matt Hopkins, a former Microsoft Employee. He is with Net Applications now. And here is another link: Vicinity Corporation. Hopkins was there when Microsoft bought it and also, according to Chips, Hopkins does investing. He is listed as a former employee of Microsoft and Vicinity Corporation, which Microsoft bought.

“On the Net Applications page,” elaborates Chips, “[do] a google search on Matt, says that he is also an investor [...] one wonders if he owned part of Vicinity, and got the money from Microsoft.” Net Applications is an insult to GNU/Linux, as explained in:

So, what is the real installed based on GNU/Linux on the desktop? Even on the server we may never know because Microsoft paid those who measure it to do this in a way that glorifies Microsoft, by statistical design. This is a strategic move. As Microsoft puts it [PDF], “To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!

“There’s a lot of Linux out there — much more than Microsoft generally signals publicly — and their customers are using it…”

Paul DeGroot, a Directions On Microsoft analyst

Microsoft and the Linux Foundation Not “Best Friends Forever”

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Law, Microsoft at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cupid

Summary: Refutation of spin by pro-Microsoft journalists

WE COULD NOT help noticing that Microsoft boosters are characterising consent on a triviality as some sort of a peace deal between Linux and Microsoft. Mary Jo Foley, for example, tries to insinuate that Horacio Gutierrez, one of the key people behind the legal assault on Linux, is somehow changing his feelings or mind. It’s not true at all. Wishful thinking.

Truth can, indeed, be stranger than fiction — as is evidenced by a May 14 letter on software-licensing policies that was signed by both Microsoft and Linux Foundation officials.

The letter, which the two sent to to the American Law Institute (ALI), was designed to “express our shared concerns with the group’s draft Principles of the Law of Software Contracts,” according to a blog post by Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel.

All the early reports about this seem to come principally from Microsoft-focused reporters*, including Nancy Gohring at IDG:

Microsoft, Linux join forces in software law debate

They urge the ALI specifically to clarify a section of its document that concerns warranties on defects in software. The document appears to absolve commercial open-source software from the types of warranties that would be applied to proprietary software. But because many open-source software providers make money, such as through advertising, it’s unclear if such providers would be liable for defects according to the document.

This is not the first time that such a thing happens (even the SFLC and Microsoft), so this is nothing new. It’s about liability. Todd Bishop may have spun this a little too widely when he used the headline: “Best Friends Forever: Microsoft and the Linux Foundation?”

He is spinning this as though Microsoft makes peace with what it sues, constantly threatens, and calls “cancer”. It could not be further from the truth. In this case, two opposing groups found common ground on technical issues of liability, but Microsoft refuses to bury its hatchet (slanderous unspecific claims of patent infringement), so this is not a case of “Best Friends Forever” as Todd Bishop puts it (with a question mark to be fair).

Additional new coverage of this could be found later in:

It is important to observe that Microsoft-oriented reporters are acutely aware of the company’s overly aggressive behaviour. Mary Jo Foley says that she has always been a skeptic. Therefore, in order to perfume what they do (to themselves and to others such as readers) they try to portray Microsoft as a friendly creature that would harm almost no-one. Being sedated is the worst one can do when Microsoft carries on with its “smile while you squeeze the trigger” attitude towards the competition. We wrote about an example of this attitude just a few hours ago (regarding ODF).

“In the last several days Microsoft has shown that despite claims of acquiring a newly found respect for open principles and technology, developers should be cautious in believing promises made by this “new” Microsoft. [...] There is one other fact clear from this case. Microsoft does not appear to be a leopard capable of changing its spots. Maybe it’s time developers go on a diet from Microsoft and get the FAT out of their products.”

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation Executive Director

____
* It’s possible that Microsoft or Waggener Edstrom seeded it.

Knuth Tells Europe to Let Him “Innovate in Peace” (Without Software Patents)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

knuth

Summary: Battle against software patents in Europe summons strong, heavy opposition

PROFESSOR DONALD KNUTH IS nobody to sneeze at. He is considered one of the world’s masters or authorities in algorithms and his letter opposing software patents in the United States is rather famous. A short while ago Knuth was kind enough to worry for Europeans too. He submitted an Amicus Curiae to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (we did too). Highlights can be found here:

Prof. em Donald E. Knuth, the algorithm pope, sent an Amicus Curiae letter to the European Patent Office in the case G03/08 and expressed his desire to “innovate in peace”…

In addition to this, someone from The Free Software Foundation Europe provided the following explanation for the needlessness of software patents. [via Digital Majority]

The big problem with regard to software patents is the question of invested effort. The whole debate about software patents usually evolves around the question whether or not copyright is a sufficient protection for software. In my opinion it is, which can be shown very easily:

1. First you have an idea. This costs you nothing.
2. Then you sit down and invest work in an implementation of your idea. This implementation is fully covered by copyright, and is your first real investment into the idea.

This is an important battle of minds where Microsoft and allies seek to essentially ban the freedom of software (by restricting free distribution). One person labels it “EU Software Patents v3.0.”

Four years ago, the European Parliament has rejected a directive that would have codified the practice to grant software patents by the European Patent Office. Now the President of the EPO has decided to refer the question of software patents to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, in an other attempt to validate the case law developed by the Technical Board of Appeals. Another attempt to create an harmonious interpretation of the Convention is the creation of a central patent court.

It has been quite a sham thus far.

“Dear Commissioner: Along with many other computer scientists, I would like to ask you to reconsider the current policy of giving patents for computational processes.

“There are far better ways to protect the intellectual property rights of software developers than to take away their right to use fundamental building blocks.

“I find a considerable anxiety throughout the community of practicing computer scientists that decisions by the patent courts and the Patent and Trademark Office are making life much more difficult for programmers. ”

Donald Knuth

The EU Council Answers Marco Cappato’s Question About Microsoft Dependence vs. Europe’s IT Independence

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Milda

Summary: A look at Microsoft’s contact with the EU, which was under internal probe again

THE NEWS about Obama and Microsoft’s Mundie was discouraging and disheartening [1, 2, 3]. The Democrats are already pretty close to Microsoft, having received funds from Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. In addition to this, adds one reader of ours: “just wanted to point out that Craig Mundie and Neelie Kroes have met at this year’s Bilderberg meeting in Greece. [...] this year Mundie gets to rub shoulders with Rockefeller.” Here is the Bilderberg attendee list for this year (or this list from a more reputable source). Let us never forget Steve Ballmer's schmoozing of Neelie Neelie. We also wrote about Mundie's visits to Europe quite recently and we know about the Gateses in Bilderberg, notably Melinda French as we once noted. Other previous posts touch on this group too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], but it’s beyond the scope of this short report. Slashdot drew attention to another little tidbit that may or may not have new impact:

Senate Sources Say CTO Confirmation a Done Deal

[...]

It might also be worth bringing up Chopra’s membership in TiE-DC, a group which promises ‘exclusive peer networking events’ with government officials and Federal contractors, including TiE-DC sponsor Microsoft.

Looking at Europe as we did some days ago (the Gartner anti-Linux fiasco), we find some more information about Marco Cappato, who fought for transparency and may have revealed Microsoft corruption in the process.

After much battling, Cappato obtained the study. Since it was actually written in 2005, and based on even earlier work, its conclusion are pretty worthless: they essentially say that there is no cost benefit to switching from Microsoft’s products to free, but do note that there are issues of independence involved that politicians might like to consider.

Given that things have moved on so much in the last five years, particularly in terms of office document format standards, I don’t want to dwell on those outdated results. Instead, I’d like to highlight the fact that the European Union’s bureaucracy fought to keep it unpublished for all that time; worse, the justification was protecting the “commercial interests of Microsoft”.

Watch this query from Marco Cappato (ALDE) and Marco Pannella (ALDE). They asked the council about use of Free software (not “open source”), which shows that they truly challenge the status quo for the benefit of the public.

Subject: Adoption of free software by the EU institutions

The ‘European Commission against Microsoft’ case has seen the Commission punish the US company with two fines totalling EUR 1.68 billion for abuse of a dominant position.

The European institutions only use Microsoft products (Windows XP Professional operating system, Internet Explorer web browser, MS Outlook e‑mail client and the MS Office package), and rarely are different types of software installed. According to Parliament’s IT services, this is the result of an interinstitutional choice. This generates high costs arising from the purchase of thousands of software licences, and in practice makes the EU institutions dependent on a single supplier in a dominant position, with ensuing problems as regards the accessibility of documents produced in proprietary formats and of interoperability.

The German Parliament decided in 2004 to adopt free software, as did the French Parliament in 2007, and as have other elected assemblies and public institutions.

Does the Council not consider — with a view both to sending a positive political signal as regards open source technologies and pursuing a cost-cutting policy — that it could and should:

1. conduct a study on the economic and functional cost of the current dependency on a sole software supply company, comparing this with the savings that could be made if free software were adopted; and

2. ascertain whether alternative free software exists which could replace the current proprietary software, looking at the solutions adopted in other institutions?

Here is a council’s answer from the 28th of May, 2008 (two and a half months after the question was asked).

Like other public bodies, the Council uses mainly Microsoft software. However, this company’s software is not used exclusively. It is not used, for example, for the Council’s standard e-mail system.

The Council considers that the risk of dependency on Microsoft as mentioned by the Honourable Members is sufficiently limited by the terms of the contract concluded with the company. As for the suggestion that it be ascertained whether the current proprietary software can be replaced by similar free software, or ‘open source software’ (OSS), as it is called, a study carried out by the Interinstitutional Data-processing Committee in 2005 showed that when all the costs of completely replacing protected software are considered, the result would not be a budgetary saving; on the contrary, additional costs would be involved.

Nevertheless, the Council will continue to seek solutions, including OSS, that accord best with the principles of independence, efficiency and good financial management.

Are things about to change? There is definitely hope.

Will European rules impact open source business models?

[...]

The main reform is to allow for downloading and implementation of open source without a formal tender, bypassing the expensive procurement process.

Italian activists are already fighting against inherently illegal Microsoft contracts.

Time Calls Windows Vista the “Biggest Tech Failure of the Last Decade”

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell and Vista

Source

Summary: Vista keeps earning awards it most certainly does not need

“Time.com” (Time) is known for many things such as hostility towards Free software (it is, after all, a CNN-affiliated Web site) and placements for Microsoft and Gates. We covered examples before. The site is considered what’s sometimes called the “business press”, simply meaning that it is run by business, for business. NBC, which is largely sponsored by General Electric (not to mention MSNBC) is another good example of this.

Given the innate bias of sites like Time, it was surprising that find that Vista tops its list. Which list? “The 10 Biggest Tech Failures of the Last Decade”

That’s right.

Add this to similar achievements touted by Windows Vista. How about the “Great Fiasco Award”, which we wrote about before (direct link)?

Vista also snatched top spots in the following:

Vista keeps getting worse by some measures. Microsoft is said to have finalised Service Pack 2 for Vista, but some say it won’t be released for quite some time purely for marketing reasons.

SoftPedia took an early look at this Service Pack and concluded that it not only requires more RAM than Vista RTM (2006) but it also takes longer to boot.

With Vista brought to Service Pack 2, it seems that you benefit from nimbler application launches, and although the differences may seem insignificant given that the improvement is in milliseconds, in a natural environment, these may become noticeable with the naked eye. Consider that the tests were done in a controlled environment, with perfectly clean machines, with unaltered, pristine registry, except for the application we installed for the test.

It is hard to believe that Vista RTM is almost 3 years old. Vista is still so scarcely adopted.

For reasons that we showed before, Vista 7 will likely be more of the same. Linux Pro Magazine has in fact just published the article whose catchy headline is: Windows 7: 7 Reasons Not to Get too Excited

It’s official: Windows 7 will be on the shelves just in time for the Christmas season. From an Open Source perspective, this is nothing ground-breaking: It’s just the same old Windows.

1. Windows is destined to lose more market share:
Windows is not going to gain any ground over Linux. The OS from Redmond simply has too high of a market share for the quality of what they are putting on the market. In addition, the new Windows fails to offer any incentive for the Linux user to make the switch to Microsoft. Even if Windows 7 were to be the absolute best Windows the world had ever seen, in the end it would still be Closed Source.

[...]

7. Microsoft no longer sets the standard:
When Windows XP was introduced onto the market, Microsoft could pretty much do whatever they wanted in terms of what was left alone and what was altered. If a program failed to work with Windows XP,

What so do in this case? Ask Microsoft.

Microsoft to users: Don’t switch to Vista

[...]

In short, Microsoft is finally telling you what I’ve been telling you all along: Vista is junk.

Microsoft has actually been doing this for over a year now. First, in April 2008, Ballmer described Vista as a “work-in-progress.” Then, he said users should skip Vista in favor of Windows 7 in October (http://blogs.computerworld.com/ballmer_says_skip_vista).

How many times must Microsoft tell its knee-jerk fan club that Vista was a mistake before they get it.

How quickly the marketing pitch has changed.

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

Kill Switches for XBox 360s, Internet Explorer, and Windows

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Power button

Summary: When disabling products (not by the owner) becomes a ‘feature’

An XBox director quit the company some weeks ago (amid losses) and now we find that Xbox 360s may actually have kill switches.

Rumor: Microsoft Can Kill Xbox 360s Remotely

A bit of qualification: I follow 8BitJoystick’s Jake Metcalf on Twitter and he seems like a responsible writer. More importantly, he has a track record of digging up credible inside sources. He famously broke the news that Halo developer Bungie was leaving Microsoft (it was actually amusing to see bigger outlets laugh at him, then eat their words), and has posted a couple other juicy reports as well.

So when Metcalf says the source was “well vetted,” I believe him, even if the source’s information leaves me skeptical simply because it’s so unbelievable.

If the report is accurate, the obvious question remains: Does Microsoft have the legal right to do this? Yes, Metcalf argues, because hacking an Xbox 360 is a violation of the console’s terms of service, as well as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The notion of a Microsoft kill switch is one that we mentioned before [1, 2] and this post suggests that the European Commission might actually exploit it to address Microsoft’s anti-competitive offences and revert back to greater market fairness.

The Europen Commission could fine Microsoft, force it to offer other browsers, or require a “kill switch” in Windows that would disable IE.

Microsoft has added a “kill switch” of sorts to Windows 7 that will let users prevent IE8 from running. Opera’s CEO, however, has said that he considers Microsoft’s move to be insufficient. The company’s Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), which is expected to publicly launch tomorrow, will be the first chance most users have of testing that kill switch.

With or without remote disablement mechanisms, Microsoft is not truly trying to eliminate illegal copying of Windows. One of our readers wrote about it thusly:

I got a few search hits from people looking for Vista cracks:

No I’m not going to give you any or tell you exactly how, so if you’re here for that go away.

I just figured this would be a reason to write a little bit about what Product Activation and WGA do, what Microsoft has stated, and what they’ve actually done.

Most Vista cracks…

…are based on trying to fool Vista into thinking that you have an OEM license by loading a “System Locked Pre-installation” key into your BIOS or into the shadowed copy of your BIOS (where Vista actually checks).

As some people in China found out the hard way (black screens of death [1, 2]), Microsoft may permit Windows to be installed illegally and even encourage it. Once the user accommodates the operating system with personal data and applications Microsoft can resort to extortion and demand payments. How friendly a strategy.

Jonathan Zuck (ACT) Jumps to Defend Intel for Committing Same Crimes as Microsoft

Posted in Fraud, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT Microsoft

Summary: Another up-to-date snapshot of Microsoft lobbyists

THE European Commission demanded that Intel should obey the law and this has serious ramifications for Microsoft, which engages in the same type of business tactics. Bulk discounts and bribery (kickbacks) are illegal, they are a crime. For monopolies in particular it is a very serious abuse that justifies heavy fines, so Microsoft could be next.

Microsoft of course knows all of this and two sources up high have independently told us that Microsoft is nervous at the moment (because of the Intel decision and this record-breaking fine which it entailed). Watch who is coming out to protest the Intel decision. From the Guardian: [thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip]

But the fine drew a sceptical reaction in the US, where critics of the EU questioned whether consumers had truly suffered from Intel’s business practices. Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, said chip prices had dropped by 60% over a decade and processing power which once cost $1 could now be purchased for just a cent.

He works for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and it’s clear that Intel is no isolated part of it. See for example:

A reader from Seattle has told us about the following two articles from several years ago. It’s about Oracle looking for the truth about Zuck/ACT and the likes of it.

Oracle retained Washington-based Investigative Group International to probe the pro-Microsoft spinners in the antitrust battle. I.G.I. hit pay dirt. Oracle says that in the trash of the Independent Institute–which took out pro-Microsoft ads signed by leading academics–investigators found evidence that Microsoft had given the group more than $200,000. (The Independent Institute insists its positions have been unaffected by any support from Microsoft.)

 

Oracle next turned its sights on the Microsoft-backed Association for Competitive Technology, which in January announced it would file a friend-of-the-court brief on Microsoft’s behalf, using a team of prestigious former government lawyers. Oracle’s Washington team viewed the move as outrageous, given the probability that the brief would be paid for with money from Microsoft itself. In April, Oracle told IGI to look into ACT.

Soon yet another player surfaced: the National Taxpayers Union. It had long been publicly criticizing a suit against Microsoft by state attorneys general as “government-led larceny of Microsoft’s intellectual property.” In mid-May, as the group renewed its attacks on the government, Oracle again suspected the hidden hand of its software foe. Once again, it dispatched IGI, which promptly went trash-hunting. IGI discovered that the National Taxpayers Union had received more than $200,000 from Microsoft. That information surfaced in The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post in May.

[...]

It was trash-hunting at ACT, however, that ultimately brought Oracle’s entanglement to light. For that, Oracle can thank Robert M. Walters and a conscientious cleaning crew.

In May, Walters, an amiable former journalist who was IGI’s chief anti-Microsoft detective, leased an office near ACT’s Washington offices. He used his own name but identified himself as an official of “Upstream Technologies.”

[...]

Walters also paid $4,445 to lease the office space near ACT using a check drawn on his personal bank account, according to records obtained by the Journal. And he used the telephone in the Upstream office to call his home and his wife at her office. Those calls later were easily traced because they were routed through the building’s computerized phone system. Together, these steps bore the mark of a detective who appeared not particularly worried about covering his true identity. In June of 1999, Washington lobbyists for software giant Oracle Corp. grew dismayed by the skill with which Oracle’s bitterest rival, Microsoft Corp., seemed to be manipulating public opinion. As Microsoft faced the antitrust fight of its life, a group called the Independent Institute bought full-page newspaper ads citing 240 academics who criticized the government’s antitrust attack on Microsoft.

[...]

It wasn’t long before IGI produced results: Internal documents showing that Microsoft had paid Independent Institute, based in Oakland, Calif., $153,000. Independent Institute President David Theroux suspects that information was stolen. People familiar with the operation, however, intimate that it was obtained by rifling through trash, a practice that isn’t illegal. IGI Chairman Terry Lenzner said Wednesday that his firm “abides by a rigorous code of ethics and conducts all of its investigations in a lawful manner,” and that its work for Oracle “was conducted in strict accordance with these standards.”

Follow the money, follow the trash cans. It all becomes clear sooner or later. Here is something a lot newer from last week:

Carlyle Groups Settles in ‘Pay to Play’ Scandal Probe

The Carlyle Group, a giant Wall Street firm best known for its ties to former President George H.W. Bush and other prominent public officials, made more than $13 million in payments to a indicted political fixer who arranged for the firm to receive business from a New York pension fund, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said today.

Cuomo said Carlyle had agreed to $20 million to “resolve its role” in the ongoing corruption investigation and agreed to a new code of conduct that prohibits the use of such middlemen.

We already wrote about the Carlyle Group in relation to SCO and Microsoft. Micheal from the OSI (to put things in perspective, he works for Red Hat) has meanwhile written about Microsoft antitrust as well. He did so under his OSI hat:

As many of you know, I was a witness in the Microsoft antitrust remedy trial of 2001, and one of the specific abuses to which I testified was my sense that Microsoft threatened Red Hat’s OEM partners, causing Dell to abruptly cancel a major Linux-based initiative only months after it had started.

In that trial, Judge Kollar-Kotelly specifically struck the part of my testimony describing Microsoft’s actions toward Dell as “retaliatory”. Unfortunately the evidence of Comes v. Microsoft had not yet been developed, where it was demonstrated that Microsoft specifically said “we should whack [Dell]” and “we [should] be quite prescriptive in our investments with Dell relative to the competitive threats we see with Linux”. Thus, while the evidence in the courtroom the day I testified may not have fully supported the statements I made, contemporaneous facts developed in others cases showed positively that Microsoft continued to abuse their monopoly power in ways that Microsoft denied that day.

Here are the full details. Microsoft’s fight against Red Hat in this case is a little similar to the tactics used by Intel to keep AMD out of the shops. Will Microsoft too be fined over a billion dollars based on some similar counts? Will Red Hat be compensated? It would probably be a trivial case to initiate, even at a civil level.

ODF Alliance, Jeremy Allison and Others Tell Microsoft to Fix Its Broken ODF Implementation

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft, OpenDocument, Samba, Standard at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gray Knowlton

Summary: The pressure is rising for Microsoft to stop vandalising interoperability while keeping disingenuous

WE KNEW that the ODF Alliance would issue such a statement and eventually, as promised, it did. Here is their document [PDF] and also the press release, which they have channeled further via PRNewsWire.

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) Alliance today cautioned that serious deficiencies in Microsoft’s support for ODF needed to be addressed to ensure greater interoperability with other ODF-supporting software.

Groklaw has already elaborated on it:

ODF Alliance Tests Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 ODF Support – Finds Serious Shortcomings

The ODF Alliance has prepared a Fact Sheet [PDF; also available as text on their website, if you scroll down] for governments and others interested in how Microsoft’s SP2 for Office 2007 handles ODF. The ODF Allliance says their testing revealed “serious shortcomings that, left unaddressed, would break the open standards based interoperability that the marketplace, especially governments, is demanding”. The Fact Sheet itemizes the major problems testing revealed. Marino Marcich, managing director of ODF Alliance, points to one huge shortcoming:

“For example, even the most basic spreadsheet functions, such as adding the numbers contained in two cells, were simply stripped in an ODF file when opened and re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007. A document created in one ODF-supporting application, when re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007, rendered differently – missing bullets, page numbers, charts and other objects, changed fonts – making collaboration on an ODF file with Office 2007 very difficult. Indeed, some of the so-called ‘plug-ins’ were revealed to provide better support for ODF than the recently released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2. This is no way to achieve the interoperability around ODF that the marketplace is demanding.”

For context, see:

For those who think that only the ODF Alliance was disappointed with Microsoft’s work, here are some more new examples of opposition. Rob Weir from IBM writes:

Last year, when I was socializing the idea of creating the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC, I gave a presentation I called “ODF Interoperability: The Price of Success”. The observation was that standards that fail never need to deal with interoperability. The creation of test suites, convening of multi-vendor interoperability workshops and plugfests is a sign of a successful standard, one which is implemented by many vendors, one which is adopted by many users, one which has vendor-neutral venues for testing implementations and iteratively refining the standard itself.

[...]

The pretty words have been shown to be hollow words. Microsoft has not enabled choice. Their implementation is not robust. They have, in effect, taken your ODF document, written by you by your choice in an interoperable format, with demonstrated interoperability among several implementations, and corrupted it, without your knowledge or consent.

Stephane writes:

Once again they did it. Microsoft is telling the world that they are improving interoperability across existing office formats and applications thanks to their native support for the ODF file format, a leading office file format based on existing ISO standards. But it could not be further from the truth.

Microsoft are actually killing ODF, like the digital nazis that they are. Kissinger is proud of their spiritual sons.

What kind of white phosphorus are they using ?

First they don’t write to ODF but to a canada dry version that we shall call MS-ODF, a variant filled with countless exploding mines, thrown from the air like any coward would do. Namely they are implanting the proprietary Excel formula syntax right inside files expecting the ODF formula syntax as exposed by all the ODF compatible applications out there. Since formulas are used in many elements such as charts, conditional formattings and so on, it wrecks any serious spreadsheet.

The SolidOffice team was apparently angry as well:

While Microsoft Office 2007’s latest service pack purports ODF support, it’s not complete, nor does it appear designed to provide usable interoperabilty with other ODF-capable applications.

For users of MS Office who need better compatibility, the solution is the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office:

* The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office gives users of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint the ability to read, edit and save to the ISO-standard Open Document Format (ODF).
* The plugin works with Microsoft Office 2007 (Service Pack 1 or higher), Microsoft Office 2003, XP and Microsoft Office 2000.

Jeremy Allison (Google) denounces Microsoft too, despite being one who works with Microsoft on so-called “interoperability” (Microsoft promised to assist Samba):

Yet Microsoft Office SP2 claims to have a fully compliant version of ODF, and that’s probably true, as defined by the specification. It’s just completely useless at interoperating with other vendors products. This is not interoperability, it’s an attack on the very concept.

This discussion can be also seen in ZDNet where Microsoft is claimed to be sending employees to spin (based on a whistle-blowing Microsoft employee). Here is a collection of links criticising Microsoft’s ODF approach. There is also related coverage in non-English languages.

“Microsoft is already propagating fluffy press releases about “interoperability”. It talks about ODF, so maybe they try to drown out the many critics.”Microsoft is already propagating fluffy press releases about “interoperability”. It talks about ODF, so maybe they try to drown out the many critics. Matthew Broersma parroted Microsoft at ZDNet and Elizabeth Montalbano, who is focused on Microsoft at IDG, did the same thing. This means that the real news about Microsoft destroying interoperability will be washed away by its PR. Microsoft employees and their partners twitter in harmony about a Patrick Durusau writing a letter on MSODF. He has not been reliable ever since his trip to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

As someone who is close to the process (Jomar Silva) put it (in two parts), “Microsoft is always supported by independent consultants (as Patrick Durusau, Rick Jelliffee, and Alex Brown)… Strange, isn’t it ? [...] If the[ir] partners supports them, ok, but always being supported by the same group of independent folks is, at least, weird.”

The same guy also wrote this:

As most of you already know, I spent the month of October in a marathon of speeches about ODF. During the marathon, I had the opportunity to attend some presentations about Microsoft Interoperability and would like to share with you here some information about that cool experience (the post is long but worth a read).

The first opportunity to see our friends from Redmond featuring the theme was at the rally held by them at the end of Latinoware 2008. I do not call that a presentation, because they did not allow questions from the audience, as a rally. Luckily the audience was not that big and I was on that room just be able to “write the facts” about the speech.

Another notorious Microsoft booster, Wouter van Vugt, is prodding the Microsoft line. They all pretend to be innocent, as though they are the poor victim in forking of ODF. They mess about with ODF while smiling and pretending nothing they do is ever wrong. As Microsoft’s Vice President Jim Allchin once explained it, “We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.” To twist this quote a little, Microsoft realises that it needs to slaughter ODF before it gets stronger….If they are going to kill something, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. They just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. Microsoft needs to smile at ODF while it pulls the trigger.

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