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HOWTO: Pressure All Microsoft Office Users to Embrace OOMXL (Updated)

Slashdot has a very eye-opening short article. To give a shortened version:

In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft disabled support for many older file formats. If you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out!


Mind the following fact, which was mentioned here quite recently:

It’s only been six months since Microsoft launched Office 2007 at retail. But as of July 1, 2007, Microsoft won’t be making the OEM version of Office 2003 to its PC partners, a k a “OEMs.”


As it would seem based on the fragments above, Microsoft is putting pressure on users of old versions of Microsoft Office. They could soon become victims of the network effect (forced upgrade). Microsoft decided to pull away Office 2003 so that it isn't available. It then relies on innocent users who might use the default file formats in Office 2007 (a derivative of OOXML).

This ought to be yet another reminder of the role of digital preservation and Microsoft's lack of interest in it.

From the comments in Slashdot (one among plenty):

> Deliberately making it too cumbersome and complex for most people to ever > work around this, i.e. leaving it technically (but not really practically > for almost everyone) an option, for now at least gives MS an excuse, while > still taking a big step towards getting rid of support for those old formats > entirely, which is not all that unreasonable I suppose for formats greater > than 10 years old.

Let's not forget - what is being supported is *software*, ie M$ Office, not a file format.

The current iteration of Micro$oft Office should be capable of opening any and all files created by any prior release of M$ Office, and should be capable of doing so in a safe and secure manner.

If the current iteration of Micro$oft Office is incapable of safely and securely parsing any file created by any prior iteration of M$ Office then surely something is very wrong with Microsoft, and with M$ Office!!


Doesn't ODF seem like a hugely attractive option all of a sudden?

Update: As we were going to mention yesterday, "security reasons" were merely an excuse that serves this hidden agenda. Rob Weir confirms this now and yesterday, in a different forum, I posted the following older story as an example which is similar:

Software like Parallels Desktop for the Mac or Microsoft's own Virtual PC for Windows allow multiple operating systems to run simultaneously. When it announced licensing rules for Vista last year, Microsoft said that only Vista Business and Vista Ultimate could run as guest operating systems. The company said virtualization presents inherent security risks and that it hoped by limiting which versions of the OS could act as virtual machines, only sophisticated users and businesses would employ the tactic.


At the time, Microsoft pretended that if you get a version of Windows with more features 'unlocked', then suddenly it becomes more secure. This was discussed here several times before.

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