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RE: MS Word and XML

> -----Original Message-----
> From: DW Emory [mailto:danemory@globalcrossing.net] 
> Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 7:20 PM
> To: moritzb@moritz-berger.de; framers@omsys.com
> Cc: Framers List
> Subject: RE: MS Word and XML

> The holy grail we all seek is true information interchange, 
> which demands 
> the capability to output documents created in any proprietary 
> software 
> product into a non-proprietary format established by an International 
> Standard in which the content and the intended formatting is 
> preserved, 
> such that any other proprietary software capable of importing 
> documents in 
> that standard format can faithfully replicate both the 
> content and the 
> intended formatting of that content.

Let me illustrate my reasoning with a well establish precedent:
The UN/EDIFACT standard. This standard focuses on international trade, a
much more limited scope than your vision of universal information

As the UN/EDIFACT standard is backed by the United Nations, even some
Americans might agree on its use for this purpose as serving as a bad

Why do I deliberately call it a "bad" example? After all, it is in use at
more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US.

Well, here's my point: If you take into account that there are more than 400
context dependent meanings for a date or time code and on top of that more
than 80 choices for the unit of time in which that value is expressed --
doesn't a "proprietary" standard like SWIFT (which only later became an ISO
norm) look like heaven in its glorious simplicity, much the same way a Word8
binary document does?

> Provably, Microsoft never intends to work toward that goal 
> because it would 
> threaten Offices's market domination,

Even Wordpad (which comes with every copy of Windows) can read Word8
Every major "competitor" can read Word8 documents (SO, OO, WP, SmartSuite,
K-Office, ...).
All DTP apps can read Word8 docs (e.g. Frame, Ventura, PM, ID, QXP).

Heck, there even is a Word to LaTeX converter (and vice versa).

> which now discourages competing 
> software companies from producing products that are superior 
> to those in 
> the Office suite, particularly Word, which is most certainly 
> the worst 
> piece of crap ever created by human beings,

Come out, come out, wherever you are ...
Boy, you sure hate Microsoft, don't you?

> and is probably 
> responsible for 
> the greatest diminution of human productivity in world history.

.DOC is much easier to parse than e.g. PDF, if you disregard some formatting
information, the relevance of which in e.g. 50 years from now might not be
as important as the "meat" of a particular digital file.

 > See my above comment. Almost any good software company could produce 
> products far superior to those in the Office suite if it had 
> a good shot at 
> generating a high enough demand to sell those products at a 
> competitive price.

E.g. Corel's pricing is fairly similar to what MS is asking.
Also, IMHO the WP suite is overall very much competitive with MSO, if you
disregard the server integration story (SharePoint, 3rd party DMS, ...).


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