01.16.08

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OOXML Watch: Some of the Latest ‘Funny Business’ and Dirty Tricks

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Formats, Google, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 12:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are really too many incidents worth covering. We called it a DDOS attack yesterday because Microsoft manipulates in so many separate fronts at the same time. Here is our attempt to catch up with at least the majority of the latest revelations.

Microsoft and ECMA Take the Debate to the Cellar

Standards have impact on the entire population of the world, so it remains bothersome that Microsoft and ECMA, whom Microsoft hires, work so secretly. They really, really don’t want you to see what they do. Here is one valid complaint about it.

Xmlguru.cz is publishing its opinion on whether the ECMA solutions are satisfactory resolving the czech comments. But the public readers of his blog don’t have access to the ECMA comments. We are 14 January + 1 day, thus the question: “Where are the ECMA comments *published*?”.

[...]

Can ECMA, Microsoft and ISO work in the day light, or continue their little discussion in dark closed rooms? Who will switch the light on?

Remember that the meeting in Geneva will have the media and the public shut out. We will write more about this shortly.

Burton Group: Analysts for Hire

Microsoft’s OOXML games are reaching new heights again (or perhaps “new lows”). Another deceiving study is making the rounds at the moment and Microsoft really insists that, despite its proven relationships with the Burton Group, the study is “independent” and not paid for Microsoft. Where have we seen this before (HINT: Microsoft executive says in leaked antitrust exhibit that he doesn’t “like it to be public on the doc that we sponsored it because I don’t think the outcome is as favorable as we had hoped. I just don’t like competitors using it as ammo against us. It is easier if it doesn’t mention that we sponsored it.“)?

“More and more evidence is being found which suggests that the Burton Group is just another proxy for Microsoft.”Mind our updates to yesterday's item about the Burton Group. More and more evidence is being found which suggests that the Burton Group is just another proxy for Microsoft. To make matters bad, the Group is still trying to paint images in a fashion reminiscent to that of Rob Enderle. It shamelessly portrays all support of ODF as “anti-Microsoft”, Additionally, it tries making up excuses for or at least hides Microsoft’s bribes, lies, vote-stuffing, staff-sacking, and manipulation of politicians. All of this — in favour of a format! That’s how far Microsoft was willing to go and at the moment it tries hard to rewrite history by hiring third parties to whom it is close.

The Compatibility Lies

Backward compatibility? Cross-platform compatibility? Microsoft seems to care for none of that and there is an excellent new example.

While VBA is still supported in the current Windows version of Office for the PC (Office 2007), the lack of an equivalent in the latest Mac version will make it harder for enterprises to maintain compatibility between Mac and PC Office applications, and make the job of developing for separate platforms using the same IT staff just that little bit harder.

[...]

Microsoft argued that the technical problems involved in porting Visual Basic at the same time as revamping Mac Office to work on Apple’s Intel platform would have meant further delays. At the same time, Microsoft has included enhanced support for AppleScript in Mac Office 2008, which can be used as an alternative to VBA for many tasks – but is, of course, incompatible.

Ironically enough, Novell and Microsoft have begun introducing the very same issues and embedding them in OpenOffice.org. It’s a side effect of the terms of their deal.

Microsoft’s General Counsel Admits There is a Problem

Microsoft apparently knew all along that OOXML would bring anger from the European Commission.

…I doubt Microsoft’s legal team is surprised by this. After the September ruling on the first EC case, I asked Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith whether any additional features of Windows could fall under the same scrutiny that Windows Media Player received. Smith said:

“I think that it’s fair to say that features that the commission regards as being present in competing applications may be subject to the kind of scrutiny the media player was put under. We basically went through that kind of process already for Windows Vista. For example, there was a lot of scrutiny on the desktop search feature, on the encryption feature, on the various security features in general, on the new file format for portable documents and that’s probably a fairly indicative list of the kinds of features that one would predict they’d focus on in the future…”

Google Doesn’t Want Multiple Document Standards

A good article from ComputerWorld Australia presents the views of Google’s Rasmussen.

“If I want to become a vendor of office productivity tools, if I have to – in order to be interoperable with other tools – implement two different standards or five or ten different standards, then the cost becomes overwhelming.”

Rasmussen said what Google would like to see is further development of ODF in lieu of standardising a new format, particularly to enable the ability to convert old files to the latest format in full fidelity.

“I don’t believe its true that ODF could not, with a reasonable amount of effort, be developed to a state where that could be done.

At some stage, perhaps we ought to create a static resource page that contains many examples we have documented of OOXML manipulations. This would require a fair deal of work.

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