There are a number of us commenting on issues related to open standards, in particular ODF. My blog roll has a list of several who regularly cover these topics. I’ve recently added a new link to that list, and I’d like to highlight it for you today.
Walt Hucks and Opportunity Knocks blog has been putting out some nicely researched commentary on the file format debate. His most recent post, “Whose Finances Are On the Line?”, looks at what Microsoft is risking if OOXML fails to gain acceptance.
Walt looks at the business angle in “What’s Wrong With Choice?”, delving into Microsoft’s financials and explaining how that is determining Microsoft’s behavior around OOXML:
Let’s be honest here. According to your latest Form 10-Q, Office is 90% of the revenue of Microsoft Business Division, which is in turn one of the three profitable segments in the company. Both of the other two segments related directly to the Windows operating systems (“Client” & “Server”). MBD is able to charge a pretty high price for its products. If there was a fully-level playing field—a standardized file format for the industry that almost anyone could implement—that would directly threaten Office & MBD. Losing dominance with Office would in turn threaten the Client segment, because users would be free to utilize whatever operating system(s) met their needs without being risking being unable to share office documents with others.
So, I’d like to officially welcome Walt to the Fraternity of Geeks who Blog about File Formats on the Weekend (FGBFFW), and recommend him to everyone else who will read his blog on Monday.