Monday, March 3, 2008, 9:15pm
Nobody is buying it. Well. Employees, maybe. Microsoft is once again promising interoperability and adherence to standards, but its own version of each. Interoperability that is safe only for noncommercial software excludes Microsoft's number one competitor, Linux. It is noncommercial and commercial, depending on who is using it. So, right there it tells you that this is a promise to do nothing that matters. Microsoft is currently being investigated by the EU Commission regarding the same two issues, interoperability and its behavior pushing MSOOXML as a "standard". This is a promise to remain incompatible with the GPL, as far as I can make out.
Here's the response from the EU Commission. They totally get that this promise is insufficient. They've heard it before, at least four times. And it doesn't wipe the slate clean regarding past violations, even if they meant it. ECIS's Thomas Vinje also issued a statement [PDF] pointing out that the proof is in the pudding, that Microsoft doesn't get to define interoperability unilaterally, and as for standards, if it meant it, it would support ODF. What the world needs, he says, is "a permanent change in Microsoft's behavior, not just another announcement." ECIS' members include Adobe, Corel, IBM, Nokia, Opera, Oracle, RealNetworks, Red Hat, and SunMicrosystems. Here's Red Hat's statement. Here's Andy Updegrove's take. Todd Bishop's coverage on Seattle PI. And here's the video and transcript of Microsoft's conference call, with Steve Ballmer, Brad Smith, Bob Muglia, and Ray Ozzie. Look at Ozzie's expression in the photo on this page.