The following is Gary Edwards' response to the Microsoft Apache POI news. Verbose, but nonetheless interesting.
*************************************************************************** Rather than providing a generic application-neutral format for MSOffice documents and business process information workflows, Microsoft is providing a universal reader for their application specific format.
I continue to believe that the only way anyone can understand what
Microsoft is doing is to imagine that the choice for Microsoft is that
of provisioning MSOffice with W3C compliant XHTML-CSS capabilities OR,
following the ODF path and creating a standardized format out of an
application specific XML encoding of MSOffice
Clearly they chose the later.
At this point, the most important thing for Microsoft is to get ISO approval of OOXML without having to comply with ISO Interoperability Requirements. For this, they need to keep ISO on the ODF path! The beauty of a non compliant but approved format is that MS can exert tremendous application-marketshare-interop influence on a continuing basis by simply taking advantage of the fact that they can infinitely eXtend OOXML and not have to ever document these features. The most that is required of them is to document the legacy XML encoded "extensions". And for that they pretty much got away with the minimal amount of semantic documentation.
The key is that going forward, they won't have to document or define eXtensions that connect MSOffice information to MS Server Stack business processes. With ISO approval, MSOffice becomes a standards compliant "editor" for the MS Cloud and ecosystem of web application - web services developers. Expanding this ecosystem to capture the Apache developer community, so that they too are bound into the MSOffice editor - MS Server Stack, is probably the fruit of their surprising support for Apache POI.
Let's go back to 1998, when the order was given. Play the tape. In fact, we have this statement from Chairman Bill himself in a December 1998 a memo to the Office product group, Bob Muglia, Jon DeVaan, Steven Sinofsky, cc Paul Maritz [Comes v Microsoft EXHIBIT 2991] ...
"One thing we have got to change in our strategy - allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company. We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities."
Anything else is suicide for our platform. This is a case where Office has to avoid doing something to destroy Windows.
I would be glad to explain at greater length.
Likewise, this love of DAV in Office/Exchange is a huge problem. I would also like to make sure people understand this as well."
- Do not support XHTML - CSS. This includes MSOffice, IE, and the MS Server Stack.
- Replace XHTML with a MSOffice-IE-MS Stack web ready format.
- W3C XML allows for application specific XML languages. XML encode the binaries, submit the syntax to a vendor friendly standards consortia, drag feet on semantic documentation, make certain there is no interop framework - especially one with a compliance clause insisting that all eXtensions be fully documented.
- Standardize an MSOffice specific format, but control the conversion points:
- Conversion of legacy binary documents <> OOXML
- Conversion of OOXML <> XAML (fixed/flow)
- Standardize the innovation layer (otherwise known as the vendor rights clause)
- limit the interop layer and allow for unlimited vendor specific innovation
- This is critical because Web business process management systems are based on portable documents that will often include data and media bindings. These accelerator channels must be kept proprietary, with access only through vendor controlled API's.
- Keep the Web ready versions of the billions of MSOffice business process bound documents proprietary.
approval of OOXML protects the proprietary nature of XAML, Silverlight,
Smart Tags and other WPF technologies. (Winforms, XPS)
- This replaces W3C XHTML-CSS, CDF, SVG, XForms and RDF!
- ISO approval of OOXML protects the proprietary nature of XAML, Silverlight, Smart Tags and other WPF technologies. (Winforms, XPS)
a useful cover strategy that will mask the illegal anti trust aspects
of this great transition leveraging the desktop monopoly into the fifth
- Thank you ODF! Thank you IBM!
- XML and the success of OpenOffice ODF will allow Microsoft to break the Web
demonstrates support for limited "browser bound" documents based on
HTML-5 bits, and CSS 2.1. Notably missing is support for the W3C CDF
family of XHTML-2, CSS-3, SVG, XForms and RDF; all of which are needed
for web ready "complex" portable documents. The kind produced by
MSOffice businenss processes. This will break the web between consumer
services (Google), and, Web business processes (Microsoft)
- The acquisition of Yahoo! provides Microsoft with a consumer layer that will buffer the business process management monopoly. Think of it as creating a consumer-business cloud where every user is a aggregate of consumer and business oriented interests and information flows.
- The acquisition of Yahoo! provides cover for the embarrassing situation that Windows can't do Cloud Computing! It will take time to get Viridian hyper-V "high volume" applications running on a Solaris grid.
- The Fifth Wave:
- In 1998 the Economist Magazine published a graphic chart called "The Fourth Wave". It featured the four great waves of computing: Mainframe, PC, Network and Internet Consumer. The waves were measured in volume of users and time. The interesting part was where they intersected, with the decline of the previous wave as the rise of the next wave took precedence.
- The Fifth Wave is that of Internet Business Process Management; The Business Wave.
- Google owns the consumer wave, but it is noticeably a HTML 2.0 - HTTP dominant phenom.
- The Business Wave will be owned by Microsoft if they can control the transition of existing client/server business processes to a new model; client/WEB-Stack/server.
- Establishing MSOffice as the dominant "editor" on the client side
of this equation is beyond important. Of course, this would be
meaningless unless and until Microsoft had their Web-Stack ready. Now
is the time! The pieces are in place to make a controlled transition,
effectively leveraging an existing monopoly into an emerging new market.
- MS needs to keep Google trapped inside the browser. IE-8 demonstrates exactly how they intend on pulling this off. ISO approval of OOXML enables MS to compete against the hapless browser bound - business process barred Google. A web ready MSOffice will crush Google Docs wherever the issue is that of business documents and the transition of business processes to client/WEB-Stack/server business process management systems.
- Apache POI establishes a MSOffice OOXML<>XAML divide of the previously HTML-XHTML-CSS specific Apache Community. Nicely done if you ask me.
- The fifth wave will be huge. Establishing MSOffice as the "editor" of the MS Cloud is the key. We'll know next week whether they pulled off the first challenge; ISO approval of MSOffice!
Hope this helps.