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Just my personal opinions, but here goes...
FWIW, remember that Microsoft happily supports JPG and GIF format graphics in many products, and did not even require "strong backing" within the company to do so. Personally I do not see how suporting SVG could even remotely be considered a strategic threat or a significant expense. I expect that decision process to support or ignore SVG in the breadth of products will be based on the same sort of criteria as JPG support evolved in various products -- product decision-makers evaluating new feature capabilities based on what users wanted. (Boring I know -- no "SVG Tidal Wave" memo).
Anyway, it's not as if MSFT makes a strategy of being gratuitously incompatible with de-facto standards. In this case I doubt the fear of industry pushback would enter the picture nearly so much as simple pragmatic laziness. Why re-invent the wheel and try to create a market from scratch, when an existing new format is getting critical mass and beginning to represent an attractive market?
Also in my view, SVG seems to be on a successful trajectory. Many people I know use SVG; even with the crude state of tools, and for dynamic stuff it sure beats the heck out of trying to generate GIF files on the fly. The format is not so crippled as to necessitate competitor formats, not so complicated as to be vulnerable to surreptitious propritary lock-in (ala "browser wars", Flash extensions.), not so functional as to frighten any vendors into attempting to sneak in proprietary extensions, and not so difficult as to discourage independent implementors. It is just a nice, solid, and useful format that people like.
(Now if only Adobe would fix their installer so that the user doesn't have to log into the account named "Administrator" to get the SVG plugin installed, maybe adoption would pick up :-))
From: AndrewWatt2000@aol.com [mailto:AndrewWatt2000@aol.com]
Sent: Thu 10/17/2002 1:20 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: [xml-dev] Microsoft and vector graphics (Was:XDocs and XForms?)
In a message dated 16/10/2002 23:29:42 GMT Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
We were talking about competition in the context of browsers. Microsoft
does not have the option of inventing a new vocabulary for vector
graphics. They could go the proprietary route with VML 2. They could go
the standards route with SVG. They can't develop something totally new
and proprietary without experiencing serious industry pushback.
In this sector I suggest that, in practice, Microsoft can do pretty much what it likes. They do have an option to develop a new vector graphics standard, whether they call it VML2 or something else.
Of course, I would like to see Microsoft adopt SVG and implement it in Internet Explorer and in whatever the new generation browsers turn out to be.
One factor playing into this is the, as I perceive it, threat to future MS revenues from the international move to open source software - either on economic or political grounds. Adding SVG to IE (which is "free") doesn't directly add to MS revenues. I suspect it would be tough, at present, for an SVG project at MS to get strong backing. I hope I am wrong.