Nov 212005
 

Microsoft, today, announced that there were going to “standardize” their Office 12 XML file formats. Looks like someone from Microsoft read my article on ODF. But there is an awful lot of word parsing coming out in these announcements. To wit, the use of the phrases, “standardize” and “openess.” Either they are playing word games to trick the public or the managment at Microsoft. If Microsoft was truly serious they would approach OASIS and participate in the ODF work going on there.

Another problem is their use of Ecma International as their “standards” partner. Need I remind you of the Ecma Script/ javascript dichotomy? This is something for you to decide, but I would point to their list of standards as a place to start. Anything there ring a bell with developers or doesn’t it seem more of a “safe harbor” for corporate interests.

Here is some more “marketing speak” from Scoble interview with Jean Paoli:

“we are offering the Office XML file format technology behind billions of documents to customers and the industry as an international standard.”

Well, to my knowledge, it is highly questionable that a non-shipping product and a non-shipping format can behind billions of documents.

Now I know that the smart people at Microsoft are probably going nuts trying to convince upper management to give up making buggy whips — but that isn’t going to happen until Ballmer is gone. Ballmer is still a firm believer of grabbing a company’s corporate jewels (Data) and wrapping it up in a Microsoft format. Steve needs to learn that it is “our” ball and not his. We’d love for Microsoft to keep playing but throwing these tantrums and then trying to talk around it is making companies more than a little….impatient with Microsoft.

So in short, until Microsoft starts participating in Open Document Format and OASIS — I wouldn’t read anything into this more than trying to FUD Open Document. After all, when was the last time anyone read a book on Ecma Script?

 Posted by at 7:18 pm

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