I agree with Gary Edwards’ idea that the Google – Writely deal is Pearl Harbor to Microsoft. Google’s acquisition of Upstartle (the makers of Writely) is a strong pull with applications in the left hand’s grip and documents in the right hand’s grip. Google and Writely as a team will encourage the advancement of the Open Document Format, which in turn will fuel the separation of application and documents. From Gary Edwards:
Here’s something to think about. When you do a Google search, do you get applications or documents? Right. The power of Google lies in the reach of their computational forces and the open, robust digital life that is the Internet. For Google to thrive, information must be cut loose from their application ties and set free using open, Internet ready file formats.
Microsoft made their billzillions from tying information to specific application and platform versions, and tying those to hardware and API references, charging a premium for the licenses needed to facilitate the exchange and interchange of documents. Just the opposite of the Internet centric Google model.
Question: Will Microsoft respond by finally cutting their file format loose from the hardened application and platform dependencies so profitable in the past? Or will they let Google and ODF run off with both the monopoly base, and the future?
The 1901 pages of the MSECMAXML specification says just the opposite of what anyone with half a brain would advise Microsoft to do. Where ODF is a wrapper of Open XML technologies, MSECMAXML is a wrapper of XP/Vista dependencies and systems calls.
Looks to me like our friends in Redmond tried to squeeze a good thing for far too long.
The battle is heating up. What would you do if you were Microsoft?