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Re: Word vs. FrameMaker Information

Dan Emory wrote:

>The use of such repositories will become the next paradigm shift for many
>segments of the documentation community, and adoption of XML/SGML as the
>standard is the only feasible way to accomplish it.

No question of it. Not only does it make sense from an information handling
perspective, but it also allows all companies that consider Microsoft to be
competition to align in a united yet informal front. They surely realise
that they are collectively diluting Microsoft's position without ever having
to communicate amongst themselves.

>Microsoft's attempt (described below by Marcus) to corrupt XML is quite
>similar to its attempt (now defeated) to corrupt Java. Both attempts were
>for the same purpose: Perpetuating the Microsoft monopoly at the expense of
>the end-user and developer communities.

That may well be a reasonable assumption. I try to first assume that
organisation's motives are less devious than they may look, but (with my
limited understanding) it certainly is pretty hard to take that stance on
the Java issue.

> Microsoft will then have to respond by reversing course
> and jumping on the XML/SGML bandwagon, which
> means they'll buy some company that's already a player
> in the XML/SGML arena, just as they did to produce their
> internet browser.

One problem with buying a company for their browser next time around will be
the origin of the source code - at the moment, a lot of the work seems to be
taking place around the Netscape open source code initiative, but I doubt if
Microsoft would consider that as a viable alternative to their own

>If the ensuing period of internal confusion within Microsoft lasts long
>enough (something we should all fervently hope for), Adobe and other
>have the opportunity to refine and improve their XML/SGML software products
>to the point where Microsoft will never be able to catch up.
>XML/SGML, combined with Java, could become the achilles heel in Microsoft's
>house of cards.

I believe that this is happening to some extent already. One of our senior
people attended the recent XML conference in Chicago and the report was that
in some areas, Microsoft is lagging noticeably. I don't doubt that they
could come back from a rejection of the "Microsoft approach" to build widely
adopted tools, but it is nonetheless an expensive and time-consuming gamble
if it doesn't come off for them. Given that the syntax of the data will
allow the user to easily adopt any number of similar applications to handle
a document, Microsoft would have to build the ultimate "killer app" to
really snatch market share. One may speculate that this is what really keeps
them from adopting the recommendations as they stand - competition will be
brutal, based on performance and there will be no advantage to adopting
something like Office as a corporate standard. We can see these things, so
there's no reason to believe that Microsoft's corporate strategists have
overlooked it.

Marcus Carr

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