When you pay Novell for semi-baked OOXML support, you actually pay Microsoft
Endlessly we kept insisting and showing that there are serious patent issues associated with OOXML (e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4]). Unsurprisingly, Microsoft resorted to bald-faced lies. It needed the false perceptions in order to lure in innocent supporters. And now comes the real Microsoft. [mind highlight, which is ours]
Microsoft today launched an update of its OpenXML and ODF translator for its Excel and Powerpoint applications and pledged to keep churning out more documentation to enable interoperability — and more patents to protect that IP.
Microsoft would not disclose pricing for its protocol licensing but pledged today that going forward it will be offered at a “reasonable and non discriminatory” (RAND) manner. Late last month — just days after Microsoft launched its multi-faceted interoperability initiative –the European Union fined Microsoft $1.4 billion for allegedly failing to comply with a three-year-old order to supply server interoperability data for competitors. Some rivals, including Samba and other open source players, argued in the past that that the costs were too prohibitive for ISVs.
Here comes Joe Wilcox comparing such an ‘interoperability’ to a public relations stunt.
Microsoft’s idea of a Document Interoperability Initiative is to put together a bunch of businesses that profit from file format incompatibilities. And that is supposed to demonstrate—quoting from the press release—”Microsoft’s commitment to implement a set of strategic changes in its technology and business practices to expand interoperability through the implementation of its interoperability principles.”
With such tricks being played, it’s hardly surprising that Sun is already adopting the (L)GPLv3 for OpenOffice.org. We wrote about this yesterday and here comes a later observation about the timing of the announcement.
OpenOffice.org has announced that the project will be moving from its current LGPLv2 licensing to the LGPLv3 with a coming version 3.0 of the open source office software suite.
Interestingly, OpenOffice.org’s announcement comes on the same day Microsot has made another interoperability announcement, this time centered on document formats.
The main man of the Open Source Initiative is at the same time praising Sun’s Simon Phipps, who was the first to announce this adoption of (upgrade to) the LGPLv3.
I believed that no matter what the process, a standard should be judged by the product. Watching the fallout settle from the BRM in Geneva, I’m beginning to think that you were right and I was wrong.
What you got right is that when a process is allowed to go out of its way to exclude legitimate participation, we must withdraw from the presumption that the standard can be legitimate, even if the end product does not overly exclude the possibility of an open source implementation. This is what I have leared by reading the Groklaw report on the BRM.
To conclude, Microsoft’s OOXML is a case of charging competitors money. OOXML is not free. The next few posts will also show that OOXML support simply cannot be provided by anything other than Microsoft Office, one of the company’s last remaining cash cows. Microsoft wants to control a second ‘standard’ not in order to facilitate choice, but in order to make more money. █