Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Apr 2017 22:36 UTC, submitted by Alfman
Legal

The original headline (I changed it) is clickbaity, but the article raises good points.

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

Any entity which becomes a threat to the well-being of our society, our planet, or the people on it must be dealt with. I'm not quite sure if e.g. Google or Apple qualify for that, and if they do, how to deal with that, but I sure as hell do not wish to live in a society where any one corporation is more powerful than the people.

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RE[5]: confused
by Windows Sucks on Wed 26th Apr 2017 16:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: confused"
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

Microsoft used to give away office with Windows back in the day, standardized the format and then block that format from companies like Open Office.

If they had opened the format like PDF then Word files would be perfectly formatted in any application.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: confused
by Kochise on Wed 26th Apr 2017 18:29 in reply to "RE[5]: confused"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Seriously... Documentation is out for quite a long time now and Word documents still gets screwed up into anything but Office. No magic here.

https://www.loc.gov/preservation/digital/formats/digformatspecs/Word...

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/cc313153(v=office.12).aspx

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/gg615596(v=office.14).aspx

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: confused
by Alfman on Wed 26th Apr 2017 21:05 in reply to "RE[6]: confused"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Kochise,

Seriously... Documentation is out for quite a long time now and Word documents still gets screwed up into anything but Office.


The .doc format isn't really a normal format because it wasn't designed to be parsed, but rather it was actually designed to dump the internal memory structures of word into a .doc file. This means that decoding this format requires other word processes to implement word's memory model. From your point of view as a user, I get that you only care THAT it's incompatible, and not WHY it's incompatible, but I just wanted to touch on the reason why it's not exactly trivial to map this format to different editors that obviously don't share the same memory structures.


No magic here.


If by "magic", you mean no tricks up their sleeves, well there are tons of bits and bobs in the documentation you cited that is merely labeled "used internally by word". Do they change anything at all? If not, what's the point of their existence? If so, then what are developers supposed to do with them?

Some examples::
986 03DA fcpgdFtnOld FCPGDOLD Footnotes repagination cache: used internally by Word This is an internal
information cache
fPaphNil Uns short :1 0002 Used internally by Word
fDirty Uns short :1 0004 Used internally by Word
* Uns short :1 1 1 fn Uns short :12 FF00 Used internally by Word


As trivial readers of this documentation, you and I can handwave this as insignificant or whatever, but in the real world someone might well experience an incompatibility because MS word used some undocumented behavior.


Anyways, it may be interesting to compare this with HTML. As you know it's an open format that's intended to be parsed and unlike .doc there are no obvious biases for one browser over another. Compatibility has gotten a lot better over time yet we still do find things that break because "100% compatibility" is hard, even with a format that's designed to be portable.

Reply Parent Score: 2