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Microsoft Lobbies Against Open Data Formats

It is no surprise that Microsoft is lobbying US state governments to block the gradual migration to open data formats, because of their fear of ODF.

ODF could trigger the erosion of Microsoft’s Office monopoly, because without the lock-in its binary file formats have provided for over 15 years, the company realizes it cannot compete (with its current enormous profit margins) against a broad range of other applications.

It has offered a competing file format, MSOOXML, which it claims is equally open and equally implemented by a range of competitors, but these claims are not true. No other software can currently work with MSOOXML, and it’s not clear if any will ever be able to implement it fully, aside from MS’ own products. By no “de facto” definition can this be considered open. In fact, most observers see it as a ruse intended to guarantee another decade of monopoly control, to the detriment of innovation and customers’ best interests.

Dow Jones’ MarketWatch tracks Microsoft’s exhaustive quest to head off ODF’s growth in state governments. Their assault is hitting Florida, Minnesota, Texas and California. (Too late for them in Massachusetts, and I’m not sure about Oregon.) Hopefully another round of states will take up the open data cause and force Microsoft to reshuffle their resources once again.

Meanwhile, Erwin Tenhumberg finds a similar situation with regard to German potatoes… It’s not just software markets that can be manipulated by unethical corporate behavior!

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