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MS-OOXML Upgrade Treadmill

Pink fitness centre



Summary: Paying several times for the same competition-intolerant software

THE REASON the title states "MS-OOXML" and not "OOXML" is that Microsoft has never implemented OOXML (nor will it ever). Microsoft has several variants of OOXML and Microsoft's Mac version of OOXML is different from the Windows version (they are not mutually compatible [1, 2]).



It is always valuable to remind people that software like Oracle OpenOffice.org (OOOo) does not just spare the cost of one copy of Microsoft Office. With Free software, upgrades are free, whereas with Microsoft Office, multiple purchases of the same software are required over time. This is famously known as the "upgrade treadmill," which very much depends on different versions of the same software being incompatible; then, using the network effect, forced upgrades can be spurred and imposed all around. This is one of the key reasons to avoid OOXML and steer towards formats that do not change to promote the business agenda of one company.

There is a timely new report in The Inquirer:

Microsoft kills off support for MacOffice 2004



[...]

Users will have to upgrade to Office 2008 for Mac.


How much will that cost and what will be the gain? The ribbon? The bloat?

According to this report from Mary Jo Foley, the new economic depression has people wake up.

Report: Customers scrutinizing Microsoft license agreements more than ever



[...]

“There’s a perfect storm brewing,” said Directions analyst Paul DeGroot. “Customers are looking at licensing harder than ever before. And volume licenses are critical to Microsoft’s well-being. When people don’t renew, Microsoft loses immediate revenue. But these customers might not be back for two to three years,” leading to more substantial losses for the Redmond software maker.


Thanks to the reader who sent us this pointer. Now is a great time for businesses to prepare a migration plan to GNU/Linux, which contains wonderful office suites that comply with international standards. No version of Microsoft Office has that invaluable feature.

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