Insulting Jason

Saturday, 2007-June-30 at 16:48 1 comment

Microsoft's Jason Matusow writes a tongue-in-cheek article, Instructions For Insulting Me. My reply is actually serious, simply because there is a serious issue underneath the humor.

Jason says:

Given that I tend to blog about contentious issues in the software
industry, and that I work for Microsoft, it seems that I frequently
draw the ire of some of my readers.

Jason, I frequently read and occasionally comment on your blog. I attempt to understand, to enlighten, and to persuade. I recognize that you have a job to do and you have to support your employer's policies, even when those policies are destructive to consumers, competitors, to government agencies and the citizens they represent, and eventually to your own company. What I do not want to do is insult you. That benefits no one.

Watching your stock price and listening to the things coming from your CEO (and other top corporate leadership), I recognize that the Evil Empire days will continue until the current leadership is out of office. I also realize that the flat stock price could motivate a revolt of non-management shareholders, especially those that work for the company, which would likely lead to accelerated change at the top.

If and when office, Money, and similar applications are spun out as their own company, some of the ideas that I have helped plant in your mind may indeed influence your advocacy within the resulting company. You may think it is not possible that this happens, and I would agree that it is not likely under the current leadership. However, I have heard it said that no tree reaches the sky. Eventually, it will be necessary to split the company in order to realize the increased value that is currently hidden amidst the megacorporation that is the current Microsoft. Competent management would likely have already done this in order to unlock the value held in the Windows (client and server) and MS Office (mbd) businesses.

So, Jason, I hope you realize, even if you cannot publicly admit it, that Not-so-open XML is all about monopoly preservation. Rather than "openness ", it is about the appearance of openness in order to forestall the march to openness that is transforming the world. Openness is non-hierarchical and tends to break down established "opolies". But the increased competition revitalizes the market and the companies in it, while vastly improving the offerings and prices that consumers receive. That begins with the inclusion of ODF as a full-peer native format (and perhaps even default format) in MS Office.. As soon as MS Office is decoupled from proprietary formats, (this includes "proprietary formats in drag" such as OOXML) users will be able to use whatever software they desire to achieve the results they desire. As scary as that is for a monopoly-share provider, the end result is worth it for all of us.

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Entry filed under: ODF, Open Standards.

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1 Comment

  • 1. lnxwalt  |  Saturday, 2007-June-30 at 18:44

    Update: Read what James had to say on Scoble’s blog. It looks like that management change may be closer than I thought.

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