Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 3rd Mar 2006 21:44 UTC
Microsoft While Microsoft faces a host of challenges in maintaining its market share numbers and persuading customers to upgrade to its 2007 Office System suite of products when released in the second half of this year, its competitors face an equally daunting task of winning users away from Office 2007 and growing their numbers. Heading the list of challenges facing Microsoft is the fact that Office 2007 has a new user interface, which could require extensive staff retraining at a significant cost, as well as a new file format, which has the potential to create compatibility issues.
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MysterMask
Member since:
2005-07-12

Don't get blinded by the "standards" argument. Standards are only useful if they are widely used and supported by different vendors, plattform independent, ridig and not restricted by licences (even royalty free ones).

Even if MS XML becomes an ISO/ECMA standard, MS can pull the old "incompatibility trick" by introducing a new format with its next Office version. Such a new format would stomp the old one into oblivion (even if it is an ISO / ECMA standard) by the simple fact that there is always a mass of users jumping to the new formats and then start sending documents around - not caring about standards or older versions - so everybody is practically forced to upgrade. This has happend several times in the past. Or was there any other reason to upgrade to Office 2000, XP, 2003, ...?

The sole purpose of a standard is free data interchange without any restrictions to vendors or platforms, freeing people from becoming dependent on single vendors.
The sole purpose of MS is gaining market share (or rather: not losing it), making money and stay in a power position. Somebody must be really naive to believe MS is going to make anything a standard in the sense of freeing people from being independen of MS ..

The best thing to do: Simply ignoring Office2007 (and save a lot of money and time).

Reply Parent Score: 2

diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

Even if MS XML becomes an ISO/ECMA standard, MS can pull the old "incompatibility trick" by introducing a new format with its next Office version.


They already do. Office 2007 also has DRM. Only Office can open DRMed documents. DRM is just Yet Another propietary format which uses encryption to ensure that nobody else reverse engineers the format so they can keep away users from being able to choose other products.

Welcome to the world of the closed and no interoperable .doc format....again

Reply Parent Score: 2

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

They already do. Office 2007 also has DRM. Only Office can open DRMed documents. DRM is just Yet Another propietary format which uses encryption to ensure that nobody else reverse engineers the format so they can keep away users from being able to choose other products.
Welcome to the world of the closed and no interoperable .doc format....again


The same applies to PDF then, which also supports DRM.
The fact is that it's an optional feature that some businesses actually find useful for keeping sensitive data from leaking out beyond those trusted to have it. It's not something you'd use if your aim is wide distribution. Also, the very people that use it are free to choose whatever product or format they want at any time as they have control over how and when the rights management is applied. They also wouldn't want just anybody to be able to read the data as that's the whole point -- only they can read it until they choose to release it to a wider audience.

Edited 2006-03-04 19:06

Reply Parent Score: 1

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Even if MS XML becomes an ISO/ECMA standard, MS can pull the old "incompatibility trick" by introducing a new format with its next Office version. Such a new format would stomp the old one into oblivion (even if it is an ISO / ECMA standard) by the simple fact that there is always a mass of users jumping to the new formats and then start sending documents around - not caring about standards or older versions - so everybody is practically forced to upgrade. This has happend several times in the past. Or was there any other reason to upgrade to Office 2000, XP, 2003, ...?

Microsoft has only changed formats when it was necessary to support new features. Many of the formats in Office have remained the same for years and through several versions. They haven't changed formats just to change formats.

RE: Standards
Microsoft has already stated that one of the reasons for moving to XML is to make it easier to support new capabilities. You can bet on the format changing (or rather additions made) at some point, and in some way when it becomes necessary to support new functionality, but you have nothing to support the notion that they wouldn't submit the changes back to ECMA/ISO. Again, the situation is no different than with CLI and the language standards where MS has submitted revisions to ECMA/ISO while developing new versions. One of the jobs of the TC45 committee is making sure new revisions are backward compatible.

Even if the Office 12 formats were the only ones submitted for the standard, they aren't going anywhere even with the release of a new revision. If your aim is compatibility, you can stick with the standard version. Plus, the new version would also be XML and would be trivial to process.

Reply Parent Score: 1