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Microsoft Office Crimes and Offenses Against Standards

Police car



Summary: With a newly-earned conviction and European complaints, Microsoft's practical attitude pushes the envelope

THE latest Microsoft Office crime happens to have earned Microsoft a conviction, unlike so many OOXML crimes that the European Commission has not yet addressed. Justice is slow, but sometimes it eventually arrives. There continues to be a lot of coverage of this all over the Web. The coverage which comes from ITWire calls it "price-fixing" and "collusion".



Microsoft has been fined €9 million by the German competition authority for collusion with retailers to set the prices of Office Home and Student 2007.


Interestingly enough, Microsoft is doing the same thing in other areas, but the company rarely gets punished for it. Microsoft Office (with an OOXML-like format) remains the most important product to Microsoft because it is among the few which are actually profitable. So how far would Microsoft go to defend Office? Well, some week ago, Microsoft's Twitter AstroTurf was exposed [1, 2]. Only yesterday, said one of the people who played a part in that OOXML fiasco (Gray Knowlton), "watching Open XML / ODF tweets is a full time job."

Is that why Microsoft hires agents to stalk Twitter on Microsoft issues and spread some of its own?

Why is Microsoft so afraid of document standards? And for that matter, why is Microsoft still refusing to properly comply with Web standards? Here is what Mozilla's supremo published yesterday:

IE must comply with web standards. (Opera has suggested that Microsoft must support web standards they have promised to support).



This potential principle has received the most criticism from the Mozilla community to date; there appears to be little support for this principle as a basis from legal requirements from the EC. This is quite different from agreeing that:

* Microsoft *should* implement critical web standards; and that * the web has been, and continues to be, held back by the lack of good standards support in IE.


Microsoft never liked standards. It always chooses to deviate for anti-competitive reasons.

"In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

"Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also."

--Bill Gates [PDF]



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