Policy Deals Blow to Microsoft

Discussion in 'News and Article Comments' started by syngod, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. syngod

    syngod Moderator

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    The state of Massachusetts will require that by 2007 all documents produced by the state's executive branch must be stored in a new universal format. The policy change, which will require modifications to software running on thousands of the state's computers, is also a challenge to the power of Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software company.

    Microsoft Office, one of the company's most profitable products, is the standard software used in government offices. But Office uses its own specialized format for storing financial spreadsheets and text documents. This format often cannot be understood or modified by other computer programs. In addition, documents created today may not be readable by computers in 20 years, because Microsoft may change its document formats.

    Read the article at The Boston Globe.
     
  2. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    Microsoft's closed document formats have finally backfired on them. They've traditionally relied on breaking backwards compatibility with their own products in order to coral users into upgrading, even if the feature set of the newer versions wouldn't normally justify and upgrade. The negative impacts of this behaviour are obvious: users must constantly fork over cash in a constant state of "upgrade", just to stay compatible with the document format of the day. Worse, older documents become unreadable, as the format is closed. This doesn't mean MS won't eventually buckle and truly open their documents formats (and I don't mean some [email protected]$$ patented XML garbage, either). But I have a feeling they have something tricky up their sleeves that we have yet to see.

    -AT
     

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