Distrust & Verify
Nick Carr adds intelligently to the conversation about Microsoft's cynical half-measure to "open" its file format:
Whether it's a huge step forward remains to be seen - there are a few weasel words in the official announcements - though it does look like a clear step forward. But excuse me if I hold my applause. Microsoft has been an obstructionist on open documents for years, and the reason it's finally changing its ways is because governments have been holding a gun to its head, abandoning or threatening to abandon Office in favor of the open-source alternative OpenOffice. (Microsoft still refuses to make OpenOffice's Open Document format compatible with Office.) For Yates to say that Microsoft's announcement is "the beginning of the end for closed documents" is ludicrous. The beginning happened a long time ago, and Microsoft had nothing to do with it. It would be nice if the company acknowledged that.
So, sure, let's welcome this move. But my advice to the governments and other organizations that have spurred it is this: Keep up the pressure.
Nick Carr | RoughType