Thursday, June 07, 2007

Micro$oft still trying to monopolize the world

New York is the latest state to ponder a move to open standards for government document formats ala ODF. Sure it's good news that another state is attempting to do "the right thing" for the people- selecting a format that's freely available, which lowers government's IT costs, & doesn't depend on Micro$oft's proprietary, high-cost alternative- but we all know Micro$oft won't let it happen. They'll be out in force, spewing the same misinformation & fear tactics that has gotten similar bills defeated in 5 other states- Connecticut, Texas, Oregon, Florida & California.

Living in California, the video from the California State Assembly meeting is especially disturbing (the comment on that page is very insightful & well-informed). Anyone with half an iota of tech knowledge would see that Micro$soft is just trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with their nonsense &, yet, the bills just keep on getting defeated. Maybe that's part of the problem, we have ZERO tech experts who actually have any influence on the decision-making process.

Let me give you a price-breakdown to show what's at stake. Office 2007 costs $425 retail. OpenOffice is free, uses various ODF formats (& you can even save to Office formats) & runs on MANY operating systems. That's just for 1 user. The discrepancy becomes exponential when you start factoring in licenses (say your small biz has 20 computers, you need 1 license per machine- 20 licenses- to be able to install w/out breaking the law & each license costs extra). That's a considerable investment for any organization or home user who just wants to make a budget & write letters. So it's no wonder Micro$oft is out in force trying to stop this movement as their overpriced, criminally-negligent monopoly could start to crumble. New York's bill is a bit more watered-down than the previous 5 states' bills which were defeated but all of this begs the question- is government making decisions to finally become financially responsible or do these bills keep getting shot down since noone in a decision-making capacity has any clue how to do it after years of $250 toilet seats?

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