A Little Reader Feedback
Right here in the middle of the week, we're turning things over to you, the
reader. That's right; it's Reader Feedback...Wednesday!
We start with Larry's comment on OOXML
becoming an ISO standard (a topic that, incidentally, seems to have produced
a record number of comments on the RCPmag.com
blog site). Larry says:
"I know we have 'independent standards bodies,' but maybe they need
to take a new look at what it means to be standard. If any product has 90
percent market penetration, it is by definition a (de facto) standard. Microsoft
should have never been put through the hoops they went through to get OOXML
standardized by the non-standard (other than paper), no-market-penetration
OpenOffice.org standard. This indicates that the (independent) standards bodies
can be manipulated by other competitive entities to make a de facto standard
a non-standard. How ironic."
Larry, we're with you on this one. The interesting thing about OOXML's victory
(subject to lots of challenges) is that it shows Microsoft's prowess in the
industry. The fact is, though, that Microsoft document formats have been standards
for a long time because they're what people actually use. OOXML's win is kind
of like Microsoft dunking on an opponent rather than going for a layup -- not
entirely necessary, but a nice little statement all the same.
And then there's the sad
story of Avistar, a cautionary tale of Microsoft's darker tendencies. However,
says Pat, this story, like any other, has more than one side:
"I would suggest that you might be a bit more careful before taking
sides. I'm the CEO of a small company that peers networks and has tools for
managing video conferencing. We have known, talked to and tried to work with
Avistar for the last four years and have watched as they played the same game
with Polycom, RADVision and Tandberg.
"From a product perspective, they were outdated, inefficient and
lacked a lot of what was needed, but going after and threatening companies
for payment was their prime revenue stream.
"I say hats off to Microsoft for not taking the BS [BS meaning
'boring stuff,' of course. Hey, it's a family newsletter. --L.P.] they
were dishing out. They were weak because they sold almost nothing; they were
not industry-compliant, had strange views on what the world really needed
and simply missed the mark and felt that threatening all in the industry was
a great path.
"Well, in life, be careful what you wish for. Live by the sword,
die by the sword. They might have finally met a company that did not want
to be blackmailed."
Interesting! We'll be looking further into this, and we can certainly understand
Pat's perspective. However, we're still disturbed that Microsoft would use its
position of power to apparently put a smaller, struggling company out of business
and steal its stuff. We're not saying that Avistar's a babe in the woods here,
only that two wrongs don't make a right and that Microsoft still comes off as
a big bully in this case.
Thanks to Larry and Pat for their contributions. Have a deeply held grievance
or a word of praise for anything you've read in RCPU? Send it to email@example.com.
(And don't stop commenting on stories on the blog site, either. Keep the banter
going. We love that activity, even if your editor, unfortunately, reads comments
but rarely has time to join in the fun. We're jacks of all trades here, after
all, and there's still a magazine to produce. There are no full-time bloggers
in this neck of the woods.)
Posted by Lee Pender on April 09, 2008 at 11:54 AM