Microsoft: Ever More Poppycock & Balderdash!
Microsoft officials lie with a straight face. About Microsoft's proprietary file formats SVP of Office, Steve Sinofsky, said:
We've always felt that the primary value that we deliver to people is not in the format that the information is stored in but in the tool that's used to create the format. At the same time, what the format does is it affords us a way of delivering scalable, robust secure applications. There are engineering reasons why we invest in different formats over time.
Yet, from a marketplace perspective, we continue to focus on the experience. That's why you see the new user experience in Office 12 as being a really big focus. We think, at the end of the day, that's where customers make their decisions about what's really valuable.
The format may afford Microsoft's Information Worker segment the ability to stay in business; the file format lock-in not only perpetuates that company's control of people's documents and application purchases but provides most of the stickiness of the Windows operating system, itself.
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There are engineering reasons, too, why OpenOffice (1.1.5 & 2) and StarOffice 8 produce a file format (OpenDocument) which is not compatible with OpenOffice 1.1.4 (and earlier) and StarOffice 7. But there are mainly commercial reasons why Microsoft so eagerly and frequently (about every 3 years) cuts off its earlier applications. Sinofsky conveniently avoids this Elephant on Microsoft's coffee table.
"...focus on the user experience..."
See Sustaining v. Disruptive Innovation -- "as incumbent technologies begin to over-serve customers' requirements..."
Microsoft is out of touch with value and customer needs because the alternatives (OpenOffice, StarOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Evolution & Linux) are building different value networks in Korea, Japan, Malaysia, China, Australia, Peru, Brazil, South Africa, the Bronx and East LA among the more cost-sensitive users and where governments are stimulating local IT industries based on Open Source.
The proprietary file format today makes no sense. Eventually acquiescing to market forces, Microsoft will adopt the OpenDocument file format. This will occur sometime after most of the State governments in the United States declare for OpenDocument, following the example set by Massachusetts. It will happen sooner if rumors of a Google & Sun partnership around StarOffice/OpenOffice are true.
Thank you, Dan Farber | ZDNet