IBM cites local employee base in appeal to Massachusetts Governor

IBM cites local employee base in appeal to Massachusetts Governor

Summary: For the record, I don't believe that Massachusetts' technology decisions should be based on the preferences of companies that have large points of presence (and thus many employees) in that state.  Technology choices should cross geographical boundaries and should be based on the technical (and legal) merits of the technology; not whether the contributors to it employ lots of local voters.

SHARE:
TOPICS: IBM
33

For the record, I don't believe that Massachusetts' technology decisions should be based on the preferences of companies that have large points of presence (and thus many employees) in that state.  Technology choices should cross geographical boundaries and should be based on the technical (and legal) merits of the technology; not whether the contributors to it employ lots of local voters.  That said, it has been kind of shocking to me how most of the major technology companies headquartered in Massachusetts have pretty much left IBM and Sun -- two of the biggest vendor proponents of the state's plan to adopt the OpenDocument Format and two vendors that have very large presences in Massachusetts -- out to dry. 

At a recent TechNet Dinner that I attended in Boston, one of the questions that came up was how to make sure that Massachusetts not only retains its position as a global technology hub, but grows it.  Growth is obviously dependent on a talent pool and having a good talent pool requires a certain amount of critical mass in terms of technology companies.  To the extent that Sun and IBM (two companies that help to preserve the local talent pool) are going head to head against Microsoft (very limited point of presence, comparatively speaking) in the battle for format supremacy in Massachusetts, you'd think that the rest of the tech companies headquartered here in Massachusetts would rally behind the local favorites and voice their support on Beacon Hill. 

For example, although Novell is now headquartered here and it appears to have sided with IBM and Sun, it hasn't made a tenth of the stink that IBM and Sun have.  And then there are other Massachusetts' headquartered IT companies like EMC, RSA, and Akamai (all in attendance at the TechNet dinner) that have stayed on the sidelines.  My understanding is that quite the opposite happens in Silicon Valley; that when certain out-of-town technology companies look to influence local or national legislation, that Silicon Valley-headquartered companies will actually cross party lines to stand together to keep the out-of-state "invaders" at bay.  Again, I don't believe that there's any room for politics in making technology decisions. It's just that I'm surprised the file format deliberations here in Massachusetts aren't more politicized than they already are. 

All this said, IBM has sent an open letter (full text here) to Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney that leaves no stone  unturned in terms of quantifying the degree to which IBM employs some of the state's citizens.  In the letter, IBM Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software general manager Michael D. Rhodin wrote:

Massachusetts is recognized across the globe as an incubator for software development. As the result of acquiring several Massachusetts-based companies, including Rational Software, Lotus Development Corp. and Ascential Software, we now have over 4,000 IBMers based in the Commonwealth.  Our employees are spread across IBM offices in Cambridge, Waltham, Lexington, Westborough and Westford, where I have lead the development of IBM's collaboration software product line for the last two years..... The new Workplace Managed Client is one example of how IBM is driving economic development in the Commonwealth.....I hope you share our enthusiasm for this announcement and what it means for the future of companies, organizations and citizens across the state and across the world.

Over the weekend, IBM provided more details on the availability and ODF-compliance of its Workplace Managed Client (described by me in a previous blog entry).  The Governor probably doesn't need to be reminded of IBM's presence in the state.  Sometimes, reminders like these are also reminders of the influence one is wielding.  So, for the conspiracy theorists that may see the letter as a veiled threat (perhaps to pull its business out of the state) I asked IBM spokesperson Todd Martin point blank "Is this letter a veiled threat?" After verbally and unequivocally telling me "no," Martin responded via email with the follow statement:

We are proud that our Massachusetts' employees are developing solutions which return information technology control to the end user.  As a long-term employer in the Commonwealth, we communicate important technology and product innovations to the Administration and the general public.  We wrote to the Governor to advise him of the announcement and the importance of open standards in driving choice and efficiency.

Topic: IBM

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

33 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • what nonsens is IBM talking

    first they fire 14,000 people from developed countries (major portion of which was from the USA) and then hired 14,000 in India and China. They reason they gave was "they hired where skilled employees were".

    Common IBM, we see the BS that you put out.

    Now the IBMers say "IBM cites local employee base in appeal to Massachusetts Governor". Another BS statement.

    If you cant compete fairly with Microsoft, sell off your division. Dont play politics.
    zzz1234567890
    • incompetent IBM

      cuoldnt compete in the hard drive business, they sold their hard drive unit to Hitachi
      couldnt compete in the PC business, they sold their PC division to Lenovo.

      Why cant you sell the divisions that are in MA to another company.


      PS - Its pretty apparent that IBM cant compete with Microsoft. Past (history) has shown they have lost every time to Microsoft.
      zzz1234567890
      • IBM will end up like Enron soon.

        They trying everything at this point to stay alive. Their Global Services is the last place that makes any money. Their services however are getting worse by the minute. Its funny to see them going down like this but IBM management lost touch with reality sometime ago. It's a sinking ship and anybody who own their stock must be insane to pay 70 $ for something that is worth 5 $
        computer_man
  • As if IBM cares about the states employees.

    Your effort to paint IBM as the guys in white hats reeks. The fact is they want to damage Microsoft's market position and NOTHING more.

    Even a first year political hack can see this, why can't you?
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Irrelevant

    State governments should make internal IT decisions on the basis of only two criteria:

    1. How much does it cost the taxpayer; now and in the future?
    2. To what extent does it allow state employees to do their jobs better; now and in the future?

    Market share is irrelevant, except to the extent it influences the two criteria above (sorry, MS and John Carroll).

    How many employees particular vendors have in state is irrelevant (sorry, IBM).

    Who contributes what to who's political campaign is irrelevant (sorry, NAG), except to the extent that politicians as a matter of principle should refuse direct or indirect corporate campaign contributions (or labor union contributions, for that matter).

    If Gov Romney allows this decision to be made on any basis other than the two criteria above, the list of politicians I respect will be one name shorter.
    John L. Ries
  • What would the companies gain?

    You asked a worthwhile (implied) question about why other companies aren't ganging up on Microsoft to the same extent as Sun and IBM in MA:

    To the extent that Sun and IBM (two companies that help to preserve the local talent pool) are going head to head against Microsoft (very limited point of presence, comparatively speaking) in the battle for format supremacy in Massachusetts, you'd think that the rest of the tech companies headquartered here in Massachusetts would rally behind the local favorites and voice their support on Beacon Hill.


    Perhaps the first question is whether the battle is about format supremacy.

    For Sun, maybe. After all, the company did sacrifice $100 million a year to open Solaris with no return. That's real money lost for a belief.
    (Yes, there's some hope for increased developer interest somehow helping Sun hardware. And if Solaris ran only on Sun products I'd be more sanguine.
    And yes, Sun investors have been insisting that Sun turn over its software to open source. But it's reasonable to believe that's advocated as a prelude to layoffs among software staff.)

    But IBM?
    That company is concerned only about the bottom line.
    Would IBM ever have sacrificed $100 million a year in agood cause?

    Maybe the format business is not about philosophy, but is instead an attack on Microsoft.


    Consider a company that gains from doing business with Microsoft. Why should it attack?
    Doesn't Akamai, for instance, do business with Microsoft?

    In contrast, there's Novell, which in the past has self-destructed to attack Microsoft. But Novell is in a weakened condition after much of its clientele shifted to Microsoft products.
    (Worth noting that some Novell investors, like the Sun investors, encouraged emphasis of SuSE at the expense of Novell's home grown products. That was even more baldly a demand about cost cutting with layoffs.
    Good ol' open source. Investors know its purpose.)

    Maybe the companies more favorably disposed toward an open standards approach recognize that the restrictions of a standard format could limit their products.

    Any company that requires special formats to give their software saleable value has to recognize that the ODs can be damaging. If they had to switch, they'd have to figure out a new way to add value.

    So losses are a reasonable possibility. But chances to gain are not apparent.
    Anton Philidor
    • What isn't lost...

      Again, to reiterate, I don't believe that politics should play a role in technology selection. I know that the ODF decision in MA is already politicized (on both sides) and my exposure to that has been, well,let's just say it has been a learning experience. The total amount of money that has been spent here in MA alone probably stretches into multiple millions of dollars (value of all resources deployed against the "issue").

      That said, gain is probably best defined, at least in this point in time, in terms of losses avoided. The question posed at the TechNet dinner is what Massachusetts technology companies should be doing to maintain the technical vitality of the region. If I were to sideline my aforementioned disposition for one second and pretend I was a vendor, then, my first response would be to preserve or grow the local talent pool. As a side note, this question at the technet pool was overshadowed by the larger US leadership question and educational reform was a very hot topic (actually, hotter than the regional leadership question) of the discussion. My point is that most roads of our discussion led to a discussion of improving the talent pool.

      Presumably, the other companies that were at the dinner...(RSA, EMC, Keane, Akamai..) that are headquartered in region share the burden of making sure that the local talent pool not only remains intact, but grows.

      I learned this at the dinner itself, but apparently, in CA, when similar issues come up, geographic concerns trump loosely organized partnerships with companies based in other parts of the country that don't employ a lot of people locally. Local companies -- many of which are competitors -- cross party lines and actually stick together to protect the geographic interests of Silicon Valley. How interesting is that?

      I don't think IBM, Sun, and others would be spending the money they're spending on this issue if they didn't see it as critical to their future success. IBM in particular is a company whose local employee base in MA is very much connected to the success of it's soon-to-be ODF-compliant product (Lotus Workplace Managed Client). IBM practically said as much in its letter.

      Sure, a lot of technology companies including the ones HQ'd in MA do business with Microsoft or depend on the Microsoft ecosystem in some way. But, I doubt their dependendence on Microsoft trumps the need to be a bit more protectionist about the local eco-technical climate to the point that they turn their backs on their neighbors. If there is support, it is very passive. If there's no support, or it's wink-of-the-eye support, then what does that sort of fear (fear of openly supporting their neighbors) say about the situation?

      BEATING A DEAD HORSE: Once again, I'd like to remind everyone that my opinion is that these sorts of politics should have no role in technology selections, legislation, etc. I'm just pretending to be a MA HQ'd vendor for one second and it is very surprising how radioactive the file format debate is to other technology companies in MA. It's worth asking why.

      db
      dberlind
      • Why doubt?

        Good post.

        Just responding to this observation:
        Sure, a lot of technology companies including the ones HQ'd in MA do business with Microsoft or depend on the Microsoft ecosystem in some way. But, I doubt their dependendence on Microsoft trumps the need to be a bit more protectionist about the local eco-technical climate to the point that they turn their backs on their neighbors. If there is support, it is very passive. If there's no support, or it's wink-of-the-eye support, then what does that sort of fear (fear of openly supporting their neighbors) say about the situation?

        I'm not taking this as Microsoft-intimidates-them.

        I'm thinking that the OD issue does not have the potential to add business for these companies as profit-making concerns. A victory over sometime partner Microsoft would add nothing to the bottom line.

        Even Sun and Novell when they were most self-destructively attacking Microsoft were doing so with products that had the potential to make money for them.

        I don't know how insular the MA tech companies might be, but your reports indicate that their geographic loyalties are not the highest priority.
        I have read from time to time about companies moving from MA because of lower costs or other very practical considerations. So indications are that they do consider the bottom line.

        And MA is not IBM's home. They have some staff present, but often staff from companies purchased. So why should IBM be an especial local hero?

        Maybe what you're examining is just business as its conducted nowadays, with government a player as customer and regulator and business encourager.

        The purely philosophical OD debate is being used by some companies that think they can gain advantage of some sort. And it's being ignored by other companies that see no advantage.

        That analysis has the advantage of simplicity, anyway.
        Anton Philidor
        • Question

          In reading your posts it seems to me that you are saying that these companies feel that not supporting ODF is a profit incentive. Is that correct?
          mosborne
          • The reverse.

            If a company does not see a profitability advantage in open source, then it has no direct commercial reason to support it.

            A company can be neutral on the issue because its leadership sees no bottom-line impact.

            A company can oppose OD because it in some way reduces profitability or potential profitability.

            Profits are the first concern of a company. So costs and benefits have to be the first priority for any format decision.
            Anton Philidor
          • Correction:

            If a company does not see a profitability advantage in - ODF -, then it has no direct commercial reason to support it.
            Anton Philidor
          • Makes sense, but I can you please

            elaborate on why a company would see no profit in
            an open standard like ODF where:

            1) Everyone is on the same footing and gets equal access to all information about the format.

            2) They can actually participate in the evolution of the standard.

            3) multiple free implementations are available

            4) source code for (3) is alaso available and can be used for no fee/royalties

            vs

            1) A proprietary format controlled by a single company who also most likely a competitor.

            2) They have no say in the evolution of said format

            3) Documentation is not freely available to all on an equal basis.


            Doesn't seem to make any sense to me.
            mosborne
          • Microsoft isn't hoarding the formats.

            Rather the opposite. They're encouraging other companies to make as much use of the formats as possible. If a company expressed an interest, Microsoft would load them with tools to make using the formats easier and more efficient.

            They'll even promise the company that no one else will be permitted to create some kind of variant of the format that would break software relying on the format.
            In the company so reassured would be pleased that they can rely on Microsoft.

            That other company would also know that the program it produces will be immediately useful with the Office suite used by almost everyone. The term is network effect, and the result is valuable simplification.

            So if you run a profit-making company, you're more concerned with the advantages of what Microsoft is doing for your products than you are about the philosophical joys of knowing that everyone in his basement can fool with the format you want to rely upon for your profits.

            You want to worry about no more than you must.
            Anton Philidor
          • Your logic requires absolute trust of Microsoft

            Any company following your logic would have to trust Microsoft absolutely. Why? They would be totally dependent on Microsoft for everything.

            Microsoft's history should make any company leery of depending on Microsoft. What if Microsoft decides to bundle your functionality into Office? What if they make a deal to provide advance information on changes to one of your competitors?

            You would be relegated to go pretty much only where Microsoft allowed you to go. That's not a good position to be in when you're trying to run a business.

            More comments...

            >Microsoft isn't hoarding the formats.

            Oh, please. This is a complete crock. Microsoft has yet to surrender control of any of it's formats. A simple rubber stamp by ECMA wouldn't change this.

            >Rather the opposite. They're encouraging other >companies to make as much use of the formats as >possible.

            Microsoft is being so nice by allowing others to help them maintain their monopoly. <wipes a tear away>


            >If a company expressed an interest, Microsoft >would load them with tools to make using the >formats easier and more efficient.

            Much like a drug dealer offering you a pipe to smoke his product. They want to get hooked into their formats and they are quite willing to assist you.

            >They'll even promise the company that no one else >will be permitted to create some kind of variant >of the format that would break software relying >on the format.

            That's right, no one but Microsoft has any power. Only Microsoft gets to decide what is and is not allowed. If you're lucky, they will let make use of their decisions. They have the power to give, and the power to take away as well. How nice.

            >In the company so reassured would be pleased that >they can rely on Microsoft.

            The past is littered with the wreckages of companies that placed too must trust in Microsoft. Any company dealing with Microsoft would do well to look at their past dealings. Reading the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog" http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html is advisable as well.


            >That other company would also know that the >program it produces will be immediately useful >with the Office suite used by almost everyone. >The term is network effect, and the result is >valuable simplification.

            It would be immediately useful for Microsoft, that's for sure. Not only do make yourself dependent on a single company, but also on a single product of that company. Good decision, that.

            >So if you run a profit-making company, you're >more concerned with the advantages of what >Microsoft is doing for your products than you are >about the philosophical joys of knowing that >everyone in his basement can fool with the format >you want to rely upon for your profits.

            Any sensible profit-making company would not want to be so dependent for said profit on the whims of another company over which they have zero control.

            The "everybody can fool with in their basement" argument is completely bogus. If you're a company the only thing you need worry about is the *standard* which has a clearly defined, controlled method of change. A method which you can actually participate in and influence. Amazing. So much better to just wait and adjust to whatever decides decides to do.

            This is not about philosophy. It's cold, hard logic.

            >You want to worry about no more than you must.

            I agree 100%. That's why if you want to participate in your own future as opposed to one Microsoft chooses for you, you should choose ODF. You don't have to just accept, you can actually be a part of it.
            mosborne
          • Your logic requires absolute trust of Microsoft

            Any company following your logic would have to trust Microsoft absolutely. Why? They would be totally dependent on Microsoft for everything.

            Microsoft's history should make any company leery of depending on Microsoft. What if Microsoft decides to bundle your functionality into Office? What if they make a deal to provide advance information on changes to one of your competitors?

            You would be relegated to go pretty much only where Microsoft allowed you to go. That's not a good position to be in when you're trying to run a business.

            More comments...

            >Microsoft isn't hoarding the formats.

            Oh, please. This is a complete crock. Microsoft has yet to surrender control of any of it's formats. A simple rubber stamp by ECMA wouldn't change this.

            >Rather the opposite. They're encouraging other >companies to make as much use of the formats as >possible.

            Microsoft is being so nice by allowing others to help them maintain their monopoly. <wipes a tear away>


            >If a company expressed an interest, Microsoft >would load them with tools to make using the >formats easier and more efficient.

            Much like a drug dealer offering you a pipe to smoke his product. They want to get hooked into their formats and they are quite willing to assist you.

            >They'll even promise the company that no one else >will be permitted to create some kind of variant >of the format that would break software relying >on the format.

            That's right, no one but Microsoft has any power. Only Microsoft gets to decide what is and is not allowed. If you're lucky, they will let make use of their decisions. They have the power to give, and the power to take away as well. How nice.

            >In the company so reassured would be pleased that >they can rely on Microsoft.

            The past is littered with the wreckages of companies that placed too must trust in Microsoft. Any company dealing with Microsoft would do well to look at their past dealings. Reading the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog" http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html is advisable as well.


            >That other company would also know that the >program it produces will be immediately useful >with the Office suite used by almost everyone. >The term is network effect, and the result is >valuable simplification.

            It would be immediately useful for Microsoft, that's for sure. Not only do make yourself dependent on a single company, but also on a single product of that company. Good decision, that.

            >So if you run a profit-making company, you're >more concerned with the advantages of what >Microsoft is doing for your products than you are >about the philosophical joys of knowing that >everyone in his basement can fool with the format >you want to rely upon for your profits.

            Any sensible profit-making company would not want to be so dependent for said profit on the whims of another company over which they have zero control.

            The "everybody can fool with in their basement" argument is completely bogus. If you're a company the only thing you need worry about is the *standard* which has a clearly defined, controlled method of change. A method which you can actually participate in and influence. Amazing. So much better to just wait and adjust to whatever decides decides to do.

            This is not about philosophy. It's cold, hard logic.

            >You want to worry about no more than you must.

            I agree 100%. That's why if you want to participate in your own future as opposed to one Microsoft chooses for you, you should choose ODF. You don't have to just accept, you can actually be a part of it.
            mosborne
          • Your logic requires absolute trust of Microsoft

            Any company following your logic would have to trust Microsoft absolutely. Why? They would be totally dependent on Microsoft for everything.

            Microsoft's history should make any company leery of depending on Microsoft. What if Microsoft decides to bundle your functionality into Office? What if they make a deal to provide advance information on changes to one of your competitors?

            You would be relegated to go pretty much only where Microsoft allowed you to go. That's not a good position to be in when you're trying to run a business.

            More comments...

            >Microsoft isn't hoarding the formats.

            Oh, please. This is a complete crock. Microsoft has yet to surrender control of any of it's formats. A simple rubber stamp by ECMA wouldn't change this.

            >Rather the opposite. They're encouraging other >companies to make as much use of the formats as >possible.

            Microsoft is being so nice by allowing others to help them maintain their monopoly. <wipes a tear away>


            >If a company expressed an interest, Microsoft >would load them with tools to make using the >formats easier and more efficient.

            Much like a drug dealer offering you a pipe to smoke his product. They want to get hooked into their formats and they are quite willing to assist you.

            >They'll even promise the company that no one else >will be permitted to create some kind of variant >of the format that would break software relying >on the format.

            That's right, no one but Microsoft has any power. Only Microsoft gets to decide what is and is not allowed. If you're lucky, they will let make use of their decisions. They have the power to give, and the power to take away as well. How nice.

            >In the company so reassured would be pleased that >they can rely on Microsoft.

            The past is littered with the wreckages of companies that placed too must trust in Microsoft. Any company dealing with Microsoft would do well to look at their past dealings. Reading the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog" http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html is advisable as well.


            >That other company would also know that the >program it produces will be immediately useful >with the Office suite used by almost everyone. >The term is network effect, and the result is >valuable simplification.

            It would be immediately useful for Microsoft, that's for sure. Not only do make yourself dependent on a single company, but also on a single product of that company. Good decision, that.

            >So if you run a profit-making company, you're >more concerned with the advantages of what >Microsoft is doing for your products than you are >about the philosophical joys of knowing that >everyone in his basement can fool with the format >you want to rely upon for your profits.

            Any sensible profit-making company would not want to be so dependent for said profit on the whims of another company over which they have zero control.

            The "everybody can fool with in their basement" argument is completely bogus. If you're a company the only thing you need worry about is the *standard* which has a clearly defined, controlled method of change. A method which you can actually participate in and influence. Amazing. So much better to just wait and adjust to whatever decides decides to do.

            This is not about philosophy. It's cold, hard logic.

            >You want to worry about no more than you must.

            I agree 100%. That's why if you want to participate in your own future as opposed to one Microsoft chooses for you, you should choose ODF. You don't have to just accept, you can actually be a part of it.
            mosborne
          • Your logic requires absolute trust of Microsoft

            Any company following your logic would have to trust Microsoft absolutely. Why? They would be totally dependent on Microsoft for everything.

            Microsoft's history should make any company leery of depending on Microsoft. What if Microsoft decides to bundle your functionality into Office? What if they make a deal to provide advance information on changes to one of your competitors?

            You would be relegated to go pretty much only where Microsoft allowed you to go. That's not a good position to be in when you're trying to run a business.

            More comments...

            >Microsoft isn't hoarding the formats.

            Oh, please. This is a complete crock. Microsoft has yet to surrender control of any of it's formats. A simple rubber stamp by ECMA wouldn't change this.

            >Rather the opposite. They're encouraging other >companies to make as much use of the formats as >possible.

            Microsoft is being so nice by allowing others to help them maintain their monopoly. <wipes a tear away>


            >If a company expressed an interest, Microsoft >would load them with tools to make using the >formats easier and more efficient.

            Much like a drug dealer offering you a pipe to smoke his product. They want to get hooked into their formats and they are quite willing to assist you.

            >They'll even promise the company that no one else >will be permitted to create some kind of variant >of the format that would break software relying >on the format.

            That's right, no one but Microsoft has any power. Only Microsoft gets to decide what is and is not allowed. If you're lucky, they will let make use of their decisions. They have the power to give, and the power to take away as well. How nice.

            >In the company so reassured would be pleased that >they can rely on Microsoft.

            The past is littered with the wreckages of companies that placed too must trust in Microsoft. Any company dealing with Microsoft would do well to look at their past dealings. Reading the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog" http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html is advisable as well.


            >That other company would also know that the >program it produces will be immediately useful >with the Office suite used by almost everyone. >The term is network effect, and the result is >valuable simplification.

            It would be immediately useful for Microsoft, that's for sure. Not only do make yourself dependent on a single company, but also on a single product of that company. Good decision, that.

            >So if you run a profit-making company, you're >more concerned with the advantages of what >Microsoft is doing for your products than you are >about the philosophical joys of knowing that >everyone in his basement can fool with the format >you want to rely upon for your profits.

            Any sensible profit-making company would not want to be so dependent for said profit on the whims of another company over which they have zero control.

            The "everybody can fool with in their basement" argument is completely bogus. If you're a company the only thing you need worry about is the *standard* which has a clearly defined, controlled method of change. A method which you can actually participate in and influence. Amazing. So much better to just wait and adjust to whatever decides decides to do.

            This is not about philosophy. It's cold, hard logic.

            >You want to worry about no more than you must.

            I agree 100%. That's why if you want to participate in your own future as opposed to one Microsoft chooses for you, you should choose ODF. You don't have to just accept, you can actually be a part of it.
            mosborne
          • mosborne - your logic is totally flawed

            Sony had the Beta Max format which was better than VHS (not sure which Japanese company designed VHS, Toshiba or NEC or..). Anyways VHS became the format and everyone licenced VHS.

            So IBM, SUN, Microsoft and others had equal opportunity on desktop applications. Microsoft won and hence others have to licence Microsoft formats.

            The market has selected Microsoft format. Going back now and playing politics to unseat Microsoft is not the solution.
            zzz1234567890
          • defconvegas: How about actually using logic

            to refute my logic?

            And VHS was replaced by DVD, try again. Do really believe that Microsoft has some "divine right" of control and that everyone should just roll over and let them dictate how things should be.

            That would be a very sorry state of things for sure. I don't want to see any single company, be it Microsoft, IBM, SUN, or whoever, have too much control.

            Politics will be played by both sides if they think it will help them. That's just the way things work. Like Berlind, I would prefer to that technical decisions be based on technical grounds not political ones.
            mosborne
      • I think...

        ...you're underestimating the opportunity IBM (in particular) sees here to deal a severe blow to Microsoft's Office dominance. In my opinion, this is nothing more than an attempt by IBM to exploit MA's desire for a more open document format to gain a competitive edge over Microsoft. There is no altruism in IBM's position - it is trying to gain market share from Microsoft, nothing more. Microsoft Office is so entrenched that normal marketing schemes won't work, so it will take government action (in the form of approved document formats that for whatever reason exclude Microsoft) to make a dent in Office's dominance. That's why IBM sent the "open" letter to MA: IBM has a financial stake in the outcome. Why would IBM care if Microsoft's formats are also on the approved format list, along with ODF? If MS's formats are allowed, no one will switch away from Office, that's why.

        Now I'm not saying that MA's role in all this is necessarily anti-Microsoft, although the coincidence that MA was such a strong hold-out in the MS anti-trust trial is somewhat suspicious. I believe that MA may very well be acting in its citizens' best interests here, and I personally believe that the idea of ODF is a good one and MS should support it. But don't attribute the same concern for citizens' well-being to IBM. IBM is a corporation that is interested in making money, nothing more. MA's (and those that follow) insistence on ODF compliance, with it resulting "shutting out" of Microsoft, serves IBM's interests perfectly.

        As for asking why other companies aren't on the same "esclude Microsoft" bandwagon, perhaps it's because those companies aren't in direct competition with Microsoft like IBM is.

        Carl Rapson
        rapson