05.13.08

BECTA: OOXML Lock-in and Anti-Linux Abuses All Microsoft’s Fault

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML at 12:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not so fast, BECTA!

Several months ago BECTA complained about OOXML, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Office 2007. It was not an issue of cost. This came after BECTA’s long and rather disturbing love affair with Microsoft. An accomplice claiming innocence?

It is interesting to find BECTA’s referral of an interoperability complaint [via Bob Sutor[ to the European Commission because BECTA too has come under pressure for its anti-competitive moves which blindly favoured a single vendor while completely excluding the rest (refusing to think outside the box) and for keeping decisions away from the taxpayers’ eyes. BECTA tries to pass liability. Here if what the BECTA site states at the moment:

Becta welcomes the European Commission’s antitrust investigation of Microsoft concerning interoperability and confirms it has recently referred its interoperability complaint and supporting evidence to the Commission.

Interoperability is just part of a much broader issue for BECTA. Another issue are the payments to Microsoft for each PC in the educational system, regardless of what operating system and software it actually runs (it’s similar to the OEM-level abuses). BECTA tried to pass liability when it spoke to Sirius IT.

“By attempting to push Office 2007 into the educational cycle, using considerable discounts at times, Microsoft hopes to ‘poison’ the whole environment with documents that can only be properly interpreted and opened by Microsoft software.”When it comes to interoperability, however, it’s important to remember that Microsoft almost forces children not to use ‘other’ office suites, such as OpenOffice.org, even at home. By attempting to push Office 2007 into the educational cycle, using considerable discounts at times, Microsoft hopes to ‘poison’ the whole environment with documents that can only be properly interpreted and opened by Microsoft software.

This is sheer abuse and it was part of the plan all along. Over at Groklaw, a complaint was made about a totally backwards article from Neil McAllister (PCWorld), who uses Office 2007 compatibility as the yardstick to judge office suites by, as opposed to looking at international standards like ODF, which Microsoft refuses to embrace (giving it a very low score, as deserved).

A small panel including two people from PCWorld brought up and articulated some of the pains of OOXML, even in offices that revolve all around Microsoft products. The Open Malaysia blog has some of the text.

Its also funny that the segment before this was about the April Fools pranks which occurred online. I think its quite unfortunate for Microsoft that their hollow victory (if its one at all) would fall on April the First. Well, whether the joke’s on us or not, OOXML to me will always be remembered as the April Fools’ Standard.

As the item above hopefully shows its readers, even those who are loyal and exclusive users of Microsoft software are suffering from OOXML. Was the format’s intention merely to move goalposts for rivals and to add the anti-GPL clauses, using software patents?

“Software companies and other businesses are watching closely as a U.S appeals court weighs whether an inventor can patent an abstract process — something that involves nothing more than thoughts.”

U.S. appeal raises business method patent issues

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