The amount of vitriol is amazing
I am amazed by the amount of vitriol Microsoft has been spewing lately.
Look at http://blogs.technet.com/b/whymicrosoft/ - last 4 posts are all about bashing Google.
Just goes to show, I guess...
Google has landed a major contract with the US government, convincing the 17,000-worker strong US General Services Administration to use Google Apps. And Microsoft has taken this as an opportunity to badmouth Google's suite of online business applications. "There's no doubt that businesses are talking to Google, and hearing …
...Office file-format lock-in is the lynchpin of the entire Microsoft Empire. If that were to fail, then people would not need Office. If they didn't need Office, where's the advantage in Sharepoint, Live communications Server, Exchange or the rest of it? If they don't need any of that stuff...why does Windows need to be in play as anything other than the odd lone virtual machine supporting legacy applications?
Microsoft is perfectly aware that they absolutely cannot under any circumstances afford to lose market share in the Office productivity applications market. Far more importantly, they cannot afford to let an alternate file format become dominant...or their own stagnant for long enough that other applications become as good at writing to them as Microsoft's own.
The vitriol in that circumstance then is not amazing at all. It's perfectly expected.
As soon as Facebook started becoming a threat (I.E. relevant to internet advertising) you started to see the same thing from Google.
Since Office 2007:
"The Office XML Formats are based on XML and ZIP technologies, so they are universally accessible. The specification for the formats and schemas will be published and made available under the same royalty-free license that exists today for the Microsoft Office 2003 Reference Schemas, and that is openly offered and available for broad industry use. "
People don't need office because of the file format, they need office because of the collaboration and document management tool suite that NO other company competes with. the 2KX and 2K7+ file formats are freely open, completely, no royalties, and a dozen apps use them natively (so long as the office format is not the "default" format that app uses). Open office can make a document pretty much the same as any Word doc, but in Word, i can collaborate, accept and review changes, directly share, output to numerous versions and print formats, add DRM, cross integrate across spreadsheets, visio, access, powerpoint (and have changes in a spreadsheet auto-populate in a word doc containing a subset of it without also having to open the work doc and copy it again!). its the time saving business features office offers that keeps it #1, not the FILE FORMAT.
Have you taken a chance to look at the documentation for Microsoft's formats? I have. I have even tried to write things that can parse them. As have people far smarter than I. The documentation is a mess. An ABSOLUTE MESS. Worse yet, it's incomplete!
The only thing that can properly talk to Microsoft Office file formats is Microsoft Office. This is true quite simply because nobody has enough documentation from Microsoft (bullsh** ISO standard or no) to actually reproduce the bloody things.
The “time saving business features” are needed by a very small fraction of its user base. Representatively, of the 1500 people in various organisations that I am responsible for, only three actually require Microsoft Office to get their jobs done versus the competition. (All three of them do things in Excel that competitors can’t do.) Everyone else is perfectly fine with Libre Office (formerly OOo) or even Google Apps!
That isn’t to promote those products; of the 1500 individuals there are only about 50 who have converted away from Office. The reason? FILE FORMATS. Whilst they are perfectly willing to use alternate programs, their customers aren’t willing to move towards an open standard such as ODF. This means having to stick with Microsoft Office “because that’s what everyone else uses.” Microsoft’s extant largesse ensures Microsoft’s continued largesse!
If you truly have bought into the steaming turd that is Microsoft’s “open standard office format,” and honestly believe that the documentation provided the ISO was complete enough to create competing implementations then we have absolutely nothing more to talk about.
You and I can continue this conversation at that distant, rainbow-filled future time when Microsoft sits down at the table with the Open Source community, Google, IBM and all other competitors and champions a truly open format that encompasses all features from all parties at the table. It must have no licensing, no patent encumbrances and be documented so thoroughly that all parties at the table can read and write to this file format seamlessly. At the moment, the /ONLY/ contender is ODF…and ODF doesn’t quite cover all of the functions that the various platforms are capable of.
Until that shining day upon whence Microsoft agrees to compete with people in the Office Productivity arena based upon features, experience, integration and Overall Better Designed Application, we simply will never be capable of agreeing on this topic.
That isn’t to say Microsoft Office isn’t a good product. It is a GREAT product. There are however many other adequate-to-very-good products out there. More importantly they don’t cost nearly as much. These products sadly cannot compete in the same arena not because of quality, but because Microsoft doesn’t pay in the open file format playground.
MS has a long and inglorious history of poor security and poor (often deliberately so) interoperability, so they can't claim anything for that.
But as a user of Google's "professional support" I can confirm it is piss-poor, with simple requests (e.g. being able to control our own email filtering of .zip and similar attachments) being fobbed off as something the could not/would not do for us, but maybe if we posted a request on an open forum then maybe, maybe just, and ompa-loompa would do something about it.
FAIL for MS, and for Google.
Despite all the badmouthing Google gets these days, I still fail to see how it could be even remotely at the same level of villainy as Microsoft.
One example: it is almost impossible to use personal computers without paying a tithe to Microsoft. Google is much easier to avoid.
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"Google can't avoid the fact that often times they cannot meet basic requirements," reads a blog post from Tom Rizzo, senior director of Microsoft Online Services.
HAHAHAHAHAHA...!!!! This, from the company that honestly believes that its products are fit for purpose for providing a grown-up platform for 24x7 business-critical services, yet it can't even keep an e-mail platform running for any length of time, can't (or won't) observe the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFCs so essential for the smooth running of the Internet, and just manufactures "standards" at the whim of its "experience" managers and other esoteric cuckoo-land hangers-on, much to the despair of their in-house IT security professionals??
God help us... the sooner this convicted predatory criminal monopolist goes bust, the better for all of us...
MS had better get used to this, I have a feeling it's going to happen more and more as competitors start to offer a viable alternative to the Windows/Office monopoly.
As for the vitriol they are spewing on the blogs, how does the saying go...? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.
...because they are simply better for the users.
My sister's school runs on Google apps for all docs, calendaring, email etc.
The amazing thing is how the staff run with it once they've been set up. They love being able to easily create and then share documents. Having a single copy of documents which users can all work from (even at the same time) makes the old MS way look very dated.
Once you factor in how easy it is to view emails and calendars from iPhone/Android phones it becomes very popular with users.
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I don't understand how the government could go with a vendor that has no product roadmap. A roadmap is proof of vendor common-sense.
As a small business, I won't source a vendor that has no roadmap. You run the risk of them shocking you in the future with a product evolution that's incompatible with your business. I've seen it happen.