[ Tuesday, 1 April 2008, michuk ]
According to John Matusow’s blog post, the Redmond Giant has admitted dishonest practices in process of standardization of Office Open XML format. They have also announced the plans to abandon the format in favor of – recently known as competing – ODF format.
Jason in his blog post apologizes to community for, as he says:
[...]the not-too-honest behavior of my company, which hasn’t reckoned until late, while promoting its solutions, that practices used are effectively against worldwide community interest, and as such can affect Microsoft itself [...] talking i.e. about cases of Germany, Norway or Poland, where, despite the clear ‘NO’ from TC’s, we succeeded to force our solution, with help of friendly chairs and business partners.
Matusow has then admitted to what we have been writing about in this news service, i.e. in the article on possible manipulation in the Polish standardization process. We have mentioned the effects that Redmond Giant’s decisions might impose. They have nevertheless pushed it blindly, having closed their eyes not only for what the competitors say about them, but also what their own customers say.
The drop that overfilled the ocean of bitterness might have been the information, that Microsoft is rapidly losing credibility and mindshare with business users:
CoreBrand Power 100 2007 study , which polled about 12,000 U.S. business decision-makers showed that Microsoft dropped from number 12 in the ranking of the most powerful U.S. company brands in 2004 to number 59 last year.
Having gathered all the information together with the fact of constant rise of Google – who started from a small open-source company, now being a giant targeting the Bill Gates’s and Steve Ballmer’s company, it becomes clear, that this reaction is quick and appropriate.
One could say, that having shared their protocol’s API and promised not to sue the open-source programmers is enough to calm down the community. It seems, that it was not enough indeed, and hence the today’s penance, regret and resolution to correction.
What has Microsoft promised explicitly ?
- unconditional withdraw of its Office Open XML draft from the ISO,
- full support of Open Document Format in the newest Service Pack for Microsoft Office 2008 (planned for 3rd quarter this year)
- and – this is the most surprising – release of free and open version of Office 2008 Basic supporting the ODF.
Matusow concludes :
My company probably won’t abandon OOXML completely for the sake of backwards compatibility. But the standard to become a leading one will be the ISO standard – OpenDocument Format.
Today at 8pm CET there is a press conference planned in San Francisco, featuring CEO Steve Ballmer, and amongst others, chief architect of Microsoft, Ray Ozzie. The latter is dubbed “the father of the transformation” of the giant and is said to have influenced these brave, but long awaited and needed decisions.
Is the hell freezing up … or is it just a sign of a New Era ? Anyway, hooray for Microsoft! It finally deserved it!
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