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« Microsoft's FUD... straight from the horse's mouth... | Main| Microsoft's latest 10-K report... fearing security lawsuits? »

More Microsoft mindset... "Just wait for our *next* release!"

Category Microsoft

From PC Pro:  New file format causes Mass panic at Microsoft

In regards to Massachusetts' plan to standardize on the OpenDocument format and ditch Office:

Writing in his blog, Brian Jones, Microsoft's Office Program Manager said he agreed with the principle that file formats should be open but claimed that the forthcoming formats for the upcoming Office 12 product were just that - if only Massachusetts had waited to see the beta of the new version coming out in a few months.

'Moving to document formats that are open, documented, and royalty-free is actually really valuable,' writes Jones. 'The default format for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Office 12 will be completely open, meaning you aren't tied into Microsoft software to access your files. They will now totally belong to you and you have control over them. I'm extremely excited about the opportunity this gives to people to build solutions that operate on Office documents and it's royalty-free (no cost).'

Having put in his pitch for the new Office 12 formatting, Jones condemns the State's decision as being based on 'no thorough research' as the first beta of the new productivity suite will not be out for a another couple of months. ' I can't imagine that they would have made this decision as it actually provides the easiest path of moving from proprietary binary formats into open XML formats,' he writes.

Did you catch that key line?

 if only Massachusetts waited to see the beta of the new version coming out in a few months.

In other words, put your business and organization on hold indefinitely until we show you a beta release of a new version of software coming soon.  If that's not freezing the market, what is?

I also love the complaint that the decision was based on "no thorough research".  I think it's more a case of "we didn't win, so the decision was wrong".

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - Explain to me how this is different than us waiting for the next version of Domino to get our DB2 support? Or pick your favorite new R7 feature, and explain the difference. It seems unfair to attack MS just because they tell people that new features are coming, especially when the content you are critiquing is just a blog post of from one guy working on the team -- it isn't even an official microsoft statement.

Or let's look at this another way --
Now suppose that MS tells everyone to wait, then on the day of their product release, says, "Sorry, that feature wasn't tested enough -- wait for the next version."
If MS did that, you would be all over them. But IBM does exactly that, as an official statement no less, and nobody says a peep?

I'm not saying that any of the above is good or bad. Just pointing out that there is a major double standard going on.

Gravatar Image2 - Of course, there's even some discussion around whether or not the new XML Office formats are even "open". For example:

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1829355,00.asp
"The royalty-free license under which Microsoft plans to make its upcoming new Office Open XML Formats widely available is incompatible with the GNU General Public License and will thus prevent many free and open-source software projects from using the formats, community officials say."

Another reference is the "Clarification of License Terms for Office XML Schema" document from Microsoft:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/janletter.mspx
"We are acknowledging that end users who merely open and read government documents that are saved as Office XML files within software programs will not violate the license."

So, I guess as long as you have "licensed" use of the format (no idea how that works), you can go ahead and open the files to read them with a non-Office program. But it looks like no creating or editing. Just reading.

I have no idea if they can enforce that, but it sounds like the position is that there's this XML format that you have to be licensed to be able to use...

Madness.

- Julian

Gravatar Image3 - Very astute points, Julian... I didn't even get into the whole issue of whether or not Microsoft's meaning of "open" meshes with what the rest of the world interprets that phrase to mean...

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