Microsoft works to kill open document standards in Florida?

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See the article “Microsoft’s ‘Men in Black’ kill Florida open standards legislation.” Sounds like a well orchestrated and well financed program to fight against ODF and open standards.

What do open standards do?

  • Promote interoperability among products made by different vendors and software providers.
  • Drive competition in the marketplace thereby increasing product innovation and quality while lowering prices.
  • Provide customers with a greater choice of applications and providers.
  • Level the playing field, giving no clear advantage to any player unless they happen to provide a superior product at a lower cost, regardless of their current marketshare.

Ah, I see the problem now. Clearly no one would possibly want any of these things.


  1. “A failed attempt at stealth legislation

    “Rep. Homan and his son Doug tried to add their little open standards boost to SB 1974 as quietly as possible. They wanted the modified bill to at least get through its first committee approval before anyone spotted what they had done. But Microsoft’s Florida lobbyists were on the ball and spotted it almost immediately.”

    Well, hey, you attempt some stealth legislation (really, in this day and age of transparency and open goodness?), I guess you get the stealth visitors. I love the image. I can’t shake the image of the Ghostbusters treo in shades and black suits. The little “open standards boost” was the usual version of the four-point litany (not your paraphrase), of course.

    I’m looking forward to seeing California setting up a pilot project and a task force, if they manage to do that in the current legislative session. I suppose it will be contentious, but it strikes me as a good chance to help calibrate all of our various utopian/distopian visions with pragmatic, practical experience before undertaking some sort of technology legislation. I’m hopeful.

    When I want to confuse myself really badly, I ponder what might happen were Microsoft to ship an ODF-native office productivity suite of some sort that also harmonizes with the Office System and OOX. I have no idea. That’s the thing about technological disruption. Only The Shadow knows …

  2. Well, look on the bright side. If Florida don’t require ISO26300 conformance, then IBM could always bid Lotus SmartSuite :-) . And getting Lotus SmartSuite to work under Linux as well as Windows would be possible if the sales volume unexpectedly spiked up.

    Seriously, though. Once upon a time, everyone in the US who wanted telephone service had to rent a handset from ATT. Now, phone lines all have this standard socket on; you can plug any of a huge variety of handsets in; I think some people still pay handset rental to ATT, but most have moved on.

    Microsoft Office must be now in the position of those ATT rental handsets. Good for Microsoft while it lasts. Not necessarily so good for the people paying the rental.

  3. “Sounds like a well orchestrated and well financed program to fight against ODF and open standards.”

    Hmmm, and IBM (and you) are not doing the same against OpenXML? For an ‘open’ guy Bob, you’re really showing too many of your stripes aren’t you?

  4. We’re working as just one player among many around the world for ODF and open standards, and against what we consider a significant abuse of the standards process. The scales are completely different, but I’ll leave that to future business cases to explore.

    Incidentally, for future posts your real name and email will be needed for you to have comments accepted. I let your bogus one slip through.

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