Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Breaks the Law Again for the Sake of Office and Manages to Get Away with It

Runaway



Summary: Microsoft's case with i4i takes another turn, but at the same time, Microsoft Office dominance continues to erode

MICROSOFT has learned very well over the years that crime pays. It pays well. It apparently pays more than obeying the law, so Microsoft continues to break the law and then lie, bribe, collude and whatnot to somehow get away with it. Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary evidence, but nothing about Microsoft's crime is extraordinary and the evidence is abundant enough to occupy one's lifetime to study. One of our contributors opines that Microsoft has the habit of hiring people who have become familiar with Microsoft's violations of the law because paying them means that they are removed from the "gene pool" of those who can tell the story and provide satisfactory material to support strong claims.



Coverage in the press is still somewhat disheartening. It's lacking and it is largely biased. Gizmodo, for example, does quite a job concealing Microsoft's OOXML corruptions and continued attacks on interoperability and open protocols/formats. In an article with a provocative headline and the following opening, Gizmodo sells the false perception that Microsoft has changed. It hasn't [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

The other week, we explained how Apple influences a ton of what goes on in tech by shaping industry-wide standards. This week, we're gonna look at Microsoft, and what's it's done with standards.

Microsoft obviously has a more complicated relationship with "industry" standards, because anything it decides is its standard—even proprietary ones—becomes a kind of de facto standard for everybody else, simply because of Microsoft's overwhelming marketshare.


As we showed yesterday using a document from Microsoft, the company sees itself as the only standard. It refuses to accept standards that are created outside Microsoft. But to make matters worse, it is attacking anything that 'dares' to pose a threat to this Microsoft 'standard'. For instance, patent law does not apply to Microsoft if it puts Office at jeopardy, never mind the case of the victim [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

According to some of the latest reports about the i4i case, Microsoft sees nothing wrong with breaking the law if Office continues to feed Microsoft and its ecosystem. As in the document above, Microsoft perceives itself as a 'chosen one' and all those who harass it must therefore be inherently dangerous and evil. Microsoft proponent Stuart Johnston gives a voice just to Microsoft's side, as expected, whereas Gregg Keizer is a lot more sober and balanced in his coverage for IDG:

Microsoft Corp. marketed i4i Inc.'s XML software to potential customers at the same time it planned to drive the small company out of business by infringing on its patent for the technology, according to court documents filed last week.

In a brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District in Washington, Toronto-based i4i argued that an injunction blocking Microsoft from selling current versions of Word should stand.


There is also this from Keizer and the Canadian press (i4i comes from Canada) accuses Microsoft of "thievery".

Microsoft Word may contain thievery



American software giant accused of stealing Canadian software in latest version of word processor


Since the trial takes place in the United States, it is likely that Microsoft will summon enough political support to win the case, settle in a self-serving fashion, or drive i4i to total bankruptcy by dragging things on in the courtroom.

The only positive outcome of this case is that Microsoft Office is distracted and there is uncertainty over its future. Google and Free software are among those which capitalise on it; According to the pay-to-say firm IDC, Google Docs is gaining very fast.

The poll, conducted in July, showed 19.5% of respondents claiming Google Docs is widely used in their organization, up from 5.8% a little more than a year and a half ago. Some 27% of respondents are either already widely using Google Docs or expect to be widely using Google Docs a year from now.


This contradicts the FUD from former Microsoft employees (dressed up as "analysts") and there is wider coverage of this in IDG, including notable case studies.

Google announced today at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., that it's tailoring cloud computing services for agencies within the U.S. government. That means, for instance, that an agency can get its hands on the Web-based Google Apps that meet regulatory requirements.


For the record, it's not just Google that's gaining. From Business Week:

Google, Zoho Challenge Microsoft Abroad, Too



In India and China, upstarts aim to erode Microsoft's dominance by delivering business productivity software that's cheaper and more accessible


The money made from Microsoft Office has declined for quite some time now, even in the financial report of April 2008. That was despite the crimes Microsoft had committed to have OOXML passed by ISO on the very same month.

"Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process."

--Richard Stallman, June 2008

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