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Re: [xml-dev] "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

If there was no jackpot, could any party have justified working so
hard and successfully to popularise a single standard? It's mostly a
marketing task.

The network effects of interoperability of documents and
transferability of skills only benefit MS because they benefit users -
isn't some reward reasonable for delivering that?

Of course, another way to create a standard is by government mandate
(ie. as for water/gas/elec utilities) - but I'm not sure governments
are ideal in this area, for developing new software...

just some thoughts


On 08/09/2007, Michael Kay <mike@saxonica.com> wrote:
> >
> > I'm unsure about a 'natural tendency' to converge on a single
> > software product, but individuals are often constrained by IT
> > policies.
> Ken, Everything you say about the history of how MS Office came to beat its
> competitors is true, and it's an excellent analysis. But in other markets
> you can be the dominant player with 30% of the market; with software
> products such as Windows and Office, once you're in the lead or perceived as
> being in the lead, there's a tendency for that 30% to become 90% because
> even the people who prefer a different product find that it's easier to
> follow the crowd rather than following their own preferences - and that's
> all to do with interoperability of documents and transferability of skills.
> It's true that the choice is sometimes at the corporate level and sometimes
> at the personal level, but it amounts to the same thing: for every person
> who chose MS Office because they liked it, there are four or five who use it
> because it's easiest to use the same as everyone else. That's what's makes
> it a natural monopoly, almost like public water supply. And in other areas
> where there are natural monopolies, we don't allow the owner of that
> monopoly to set arbitrary prices and make $40bn profits on $50bn of
> turnover.
> Of course free enterprise is a good thing and governments shouldn't
> interfere. But if governments didn't interfere then there wouldn't be any
> copyright legislation and MS wouldn't be making any profit at all. MS are
> wealthy because we, as citizens, have elected governments who have given MS
> a license to print money. I'm not saying MS didn't make some good decisions
> that led to them winning the jackpot - but the jackpot shouldn't be there to
> win.
> Michael Kay
> http://www.saxonica.com/
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