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Mark Preston wrote:

That really is not something we can do much about without hiring
Microsoft to make sure they are fixed - and that simply will not
happen, even if we wanted it to.

Okay... while waiting for my two comments from earlier today to be approved
by the mailing list, I thought I might comment on this one, too.

How is the non-disclosure of Microsoft's proprietary file formats not abuse
of a market-dominant position? In principle, this is the same thing as their
bundling of application software with the operating system, that cost them
some huge amount ($1 billion?) in fines levied by the EU Commission.
Arguably, it is even more important to them, since it is MS Office, not
Windows, that is Microsoft's biggest cash cow!

Why are they still getting away with this?

Now, according to my reasoning (see above), MO should always be the better
office suite in terms of functionality, due to the vast disparity in
resources available to them. Why are they afraid to compete on functionality
alone -- why must they introduce the file format incompatibility, too? The
answer is obvious: because it locks in their users from switching to another
vendor (free/open source or commercial) and because every other generation
of MO, when the file formats change, there is that added incentive to trash
the old MO and buy the new.

Yet that proprietary Microsoft file format is the chief reason for
supporting OOo / LibO. A world in which my intellectual property is
imprisoned in a cage to which someone else holds the key is a nightmare!

And that, perhaps, explains why the open-source community has not filed a
lawsuit against Microsoft over their file format (if I am wrong about this,
please correct me). If Microsoft were forced to lay open the file format,
then the only significant reason for supporting OOo / LibO would disappear.
Such a change would hugely lower the barrier to market entry for commercial
entities offering "good enough" office suites at $10 apiece, and drastically
lower public interest in OOo / LibO.

Am I wrong? Tell me what you think!

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