What did you expect Microsoft (MSFT)? You give 'em an inch and they take a mile! Sun (JAVA) and IBM (IBM) continue to pummel Microsoft via obscure front groups and Microsoft just grins and bears it.
[There are a couple of things for information-technology (IT) investors to remember relative to this non-news flash: (1) free software is different than open source software (OSS), (2) the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) wants software to be free as in "air, trees, fish"--their analogy not mine--not free as in "at no cost," (3) so-called open standards have nothing to do with open source terms and conditions and/or the OSS development culture, (4) the concept of open standards is double-speak practiced by Sun, IBM and all of their front organizations as a way to manipulate the IT market, and (5) document format standards are a solution looking for a problem.
[On the latter point, do you really care that there are over 200 "international" standards for the size of real documents--that is, paper? And have these standards ever had any effect on your investments?]
As described here on March 7, Microsoft is in the process of wasting shareholder value by trying to get its Office Open XML (OOXML)--or Open Office XML--approved as an International Standards Organization (ISO) document format. OOXML is the way Office 2007 saves documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Actually it is the European Computer Machine Association (ECMA) that is trying to secure ISO approval at Microsoft's behest. If approved, OOXML would join the ubiquitous PDF, put forward by AiiM at Adobe's (ADBE) request, and Sun's ODF, put forward by OASIS at Sun's urging. (That's right, if you are invested in these other companies, they are also wasting your money in this meaningless alphabet soup.)
On March 12, the SFLC IBM/Sun front organization joined the Open Source Initiative (OSI) statement on March 6 and other IBM/Sun front organizations like the documentfreedom.org (around March 1) in this coordinated attack against Microsoft about so-called open standards. IBM and Sun appear to be orchestrating an almost daily release of such blather. The reason is that ISO members are currently voting on the standard and Sun and IBM fear that approval of OOXML will hurt StarOffice and Lotus sales (actually in Sun's case, it is a concern that StarOffice sales will never get off the ground).
The jist of the breathless SFLC announcement is that Microsoft is not giving up its patent position in trying to get its Office 2007 formats "standardized." This is of course neither new news nor bad news for investors. In fact, it's about the only thing Microsoft is doing right by investors in this whole debacle.
And always keep in mind that standardizing IT docment formats is a solution chasing a problem.
-- Dennis Byron