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We had a feeling this was coming...


This article http://news.com.com/2100-1013_3-5146581.html is reporting that Microsoft is seeking patents on the XML structure of their new Office suite. This would effectively cut out competitors from interoperating with Office documents in the next version. This means that anyone upgrading to the new Office suite and uses the default "Save" command will be saving their files into a PATENTED XML format that nobody else could legally open, save or reverse engineer.


Microsoft is actively pursuing their monopoly again, this time by using the Office documents structure as a way to cut competition out completely.


Be mindful of upgrading if this comes to pass!!
 

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I would suggest any company do NOT upgrade to this latest version of Office as it is their stepping stone into total control as MacGenious said.

If it comes down to it, I will simply move to text edit and start to make all my docuements in .RTF format
 

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Good good OpenOffice.... :D
 

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Actually it wouldn't matter... the whole point of XML is that it is an open standard, so even if Microsoft pattened their own XML dialect (essentially a DTD or Schema) it could still be parsed by any other XML tool.

Also it would be quite straight forward to transform this XML to any other XML using XSL/T.... that's the point.

So good on em... patent it, won't make a difference in stopping other vendors from importing or exporting a Microsoft XML instance.
 

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Actually it wouldn't matter... the whole point of XML is that it is an open standard, so even if Microsoft pattened their own XML dialect (essentially a DTD or Schema) it could still be parsed by any other XML tool.
No, far from the truth on the XML standard. This DOES NOT mean that any application that handles the XML code can open and work with the data file. Office 2004 has aldready been shown that it will not support this standard.

See this link here:
http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html#mspath

This is not something to be taken lightly, although the whole world will take it lightly. Anyone who contracts or works for companies that deal with Microsoft should show them this article. It is long article but well worth the read!


For anyone what does not want to read the whole article, here is the XML portion of it!

XML

Microsoft is enamored of XML, to the point they try hard to convey the impression that it's a Microsoft protocol, XML is an open standard for communications between systems in a Web Services environment. A subset of SGML, XML is under development by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

Microsoft was involved in creation of SOAP, a remote procedure call protocol that works with XML, but David Winer of Userland was the principal architect of SOAP. Microsoft has promised complete compliance with the XML standard and did announce that the Microsoft Office file formats will be transitioned to XML.

Many people rejoiced, saying, "Microsoft is converting even Office formats to standard XML, so soon we will be free of all those problems with proprietary Office formats". This is just silly. "Extensible" fits perfectly with Microsoft's traditional approach for destroying standards: "Embrace, Extend, Exterminate".

Even a casual reading of XML specifications will show that you can define data types that require a special parser to interpret them, which could be a parser only available in a Microsoft product. Microsoft has already stated they will do this, "to protect our intellectual property".

Now it appears even that won't be necessary. Microsoft has backed off its earlier statements and now says Office 2003 will consume standard XML, but won't produce it. It'll still be all proprietary formats. No prediction has been made as to when there might be an Office that saves in standard XML format.

A serious probelem with this strategy is that low cost competitor StarOffice and no cost competitor OpenOffice already use standard XML as their native format and will be much easier to integrate into enterprise systems. Further, OASIS, a leading industry standards organization, is developing an XML standard for office applications, using the OpenOffice formats as the starting point.

If Microsoft can get business to go along with their XML schemas, and many businesses will, then business to business, and even business to consumer activity can easily be diverted through .NET services controlled by Microsoft. For that, you will pay a fee.

Intuit is currently showing the way to do this by hijacking the traffic of QuickBooks users using the built in email invoicing feature. This turns out to be an ASP service for which Intuit intends to start charging a fee. Further, Intuit reserves the right to add third party advertisements to your invoices and gather all the data they want to from those invoices, right down to customer addresses and line item prices, and use it as they please.

Expect Microsoft to be watching Intuit's work very closely, since they share the same cavalier attitude toward their customers (they tried to merge some years ago, but screwed it up).
 

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Sorry that is a load of BS... you cannot create a proprietary XML instance... that's the whole point. Provided the instance adhere's to the W3C recommendation, any Parser will be able to parse that XML instance.

If it does not adhere to the W3C recommendation than it is NOT XML... sorry there is no way they can past that. The XML recommendation is VERY simple, if you don't follow it you don't get XML.

The only thing they could potentially do is add a bunch of system specific processing instructions... but since PI's do not contain markup, CDATA or PCDATA as such they would only be meaningful to the MS products.... BUT the content and markup is still there for anyone to see and use and work against.

Clearly... the author of that article doesn't REALLY know what XML is all about. Trust me on this one... load of BS.

Jonesy
 

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If it's total BS, then why are they applying for a patent?
 

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because M$ has lawyers and they need to be kept busy
it's just corporate spin
create a M$ only technology based on industry standards
patent M$ standard
unleash lawyers
wait for users to fall in line
collect cheques
buy more property around Gates's house to create "moat effect"
 

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Also I would add that their IP lawyers have NO experience working with open standards based languages. They may have lots of experience with proprietary MS code written in house... but they should look at what Apple can claim pattents on in terms of the underlying BSD code in OSX.

Past that they will be s**t out of luck trying to enforce those patents... as a matter of fact I have not heard of any "patented" XML based languages.

Now they can patent a parser, however they cannot (they can try, but they sure can't enforce it) an XML instance.

[ January 25, 2004, 08:13 PM: Message edited by: da_jonesy ]
 

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While I don't think they'll be able to (or rather hope that they can't) patent the XML itself, I would not be surprised if they were able to patent a specific parsing scheme.

If Amazon can patent 1-Click shopping, then anything is possible.
 
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