RE: Results of Open XML balloting at INCITS
>It would seem to be clearly in the interest of American economics that the US vote for OOXML. I would challenge the "clearly". I think it's a very complex argument and the answer isn't at all clear. Although the people making the most noise are probably the vendors, who have most to gain or lose, the economic argument needs to be made in terms of costs and benefits to the user community. This community is currently paying a very high price for the near-monopoly enjoyed by Microsoft - a cost measured both in the high price of software and in the cost of data lock-in. Equally, the user community is largely comfortable with this monopoly (indeed, the user community is responsible for it), because it significantly reduces training costs and document interchange costs, as those of us who were around when there was real competition for office software will remember. So the questions are (a) will making OOXML a standard affect the level (or duration) of Microsoft's near-monopoly in office software, and (b) will it reduce the costs or increase the compensatory benefits of that monopoly to the user community. I certainly can't predict the answers to those questions. My instinct tells me that if it's good for Microsoft then it must be bad for everyone else. But I suspect I'm falling into the trap of assuming that it must be a zero-sum game, which may not be the case. Certainly one would like to think that the standards game is not zero-sum in general! Michael Kay http://www.saxonica.com/
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