Roy Culley wrote:
> Microsoft will on Tuesday announce it is opening up access to its
> Office file formats to competitors, as part of a move to ensure
> the software giant does not lose lucrative government markets for
> its Office software.
This could be interesting. The Open Document standard has been openly
published, with no nondisclosure requirements. Even Microsoft would
have full permisssion to implement it.
Furthermore, because it's published, so clearly, it can easily be
referenced or quoted verbatum in government standards documents such as
the IETF, the FIPS, CCITT, and ISO standards. Microsoft has shown
utter contempt for the standards bodies, refusing to publish their own
standards, adding proprietary values or fields and refusing to document
these fields. Now, after nearly 20 years of total contempt for any
form of formal established standards, Microsoft has suddenly discovered
that 100 million of their most valued customers have been downloading
Open Office and have offered them via corporate networks, CDs, or just
local downloads. Suddenly Microsoft is facing some REAL competition to
a REAL revenue product, and it's beginning to impact demand for
Let's face it, if Microsoft is planning to release a new version of
office and they have tied revenue estimates to the the sale of office
and hundreds of millions of seats are saying "I don't need an upgrade,
but I am using Open Office, this is a big problem for Microsoft. If
users start downloading Open Office and start sharing .odx documents,
that's a big problem for Microsoft. If People are starting to write
scripts, programs, and tools to transform Open Document documents into
UML, source code frameworks, and other generic tools, this is a huge
problem for Microsoft. If people start creating specialized editors
which use Open Doc format, then suddenly a UML document can be
transformed into OpenDocument.
The problem for Microsoft is that it took a huge amount of effort and
broken trust for users to make the plunge into Open Document tools. It
took a very deliberate and organized competitive force to share and
accept Open Document standards based software. Now Microsoft has to
gain the trust of competitors, vendors, customers, end-users, and
anyone else who might be willing to make the decision. Open Office
placed the decision process into the hands of the End User, and the End
User has demanded Open Office. Even if you go with the most
conservative estimates of only 100 million users, based only on
individual downloads, that's a huge vote, and a very proactive vote.
When you begin to factor in the possibility of sharing, installation on
multiple systems, widespread use of CD-Burners, and you suddenly begin
to face the possibility that the number of installations could be as
much as 300 million users. An aggressive estimate of 500 million users
would be roughly 50% of the entire installed base. Essentially every
machine sold in the last 7 years.
Open Office has created the strategy to blow right past the barrier to
entry. OpenOffice can be downloaded in about 20 minutes on a high
speed internet links, and even slower corporate networks can download
it in less than an hour. It can be installed from the corporate
network in about 10 minutes. Open Office runs on Windows AND Linux,
which means that there is the possibility of quickly making the
transition to Linux. In many cases, the few remaining Windows
applications can be implemented using WINE. When the customer is a
corporate site, this company could transition thousands of users in a
very short period of time.
The other phenomenon that is breaking the Microsoft stranglehold was
FireFox. This wasn't as much of a direct threat though, because it was
not a direct challenge to Microsoft's revenue stream. OpenOffice on
the other hand is far more direct in it's impact on the Bread and
Butter of Microsoft's big money machine.
> Now if only I can believe them.
This is what Microsoft has to deal with. For 20 years they have been
pushing customers, OEMS, and business customers around. Since the
1990s, Microsoft hasn't really had any meaningful competition with
significant staying power. Suddenly now they have a competitor they
can't "buy out", they can't "sue out" and they can't "shut out". Even
sabotage attempts have not only failed, but have only increased the
mistrust of Microsoft.
> Windows rootkit install HOWTO:
> 1. Open CD drive
> 2. Insert music CD
> 3. Close CD drive
> All done - Windows: Insecure by design
Yes, this is another big problem. Proprietary standards have given
businesses macro-viruses, activeX viruses, and rootkit trojans.
Microsoft gives lip service to security but they know that if they
actually disabled their key vulnerabilities, then they would actually
lock out customers who have used their key "lock-in" features.
Microsoft is doing everything they can to maintain PR, but if they have
to play funny games with the money to keep revenues and earnings up,
it's not going to last very long.