Thursday, December 29, 2005

Microsoft Wins, Open Standards Lose

"Some people, bless their hearts, think that what determines which technology is bought and deployed in business and government depends on technical quality. You might call it the 'let the best program win' crew.

Some people know better."
"It may be a happy day in Redmond, Wash., but it's a sad day for Massachusetts and anywhere else where people think that IT dollars should be spent on the best technology for the job, no matter who makes or supports it."

This reminded me of my comments HERE regarding Microsoft's insane fear of potential competitors:

This is what I hate about Microsoft. They not only crush competition, they crush innovation even if it isn’t competition. They are a bull in the china shop of US technology, which is why I think they have set us back at least ten years in many areas. That’s why I think that the only hope for technology to break free is for the US to become a second class citizen, a fate well on its way to happening.

And the situation in Massachusetts confirms my belief that Open Source will ultimately ONLY succeed outside the US where many of these decisions are already going the other way. Like the Metric system, Open Source, or even Open Formats might be something that the US talks about for many years without actually adopting, even going so far as pretending that they support Open Formats when they actually don't. The government agency I worked with constantly talked about how flexible their situation was thanks to the fact that they had decided to go with a "Client/Server architecture" which was the buzzword of the day. But the reality is that at every decision point they opted for proprietary solutions (and not just Microsoft's) that violated generic Client/Server standards.

That is why when it came to contract negotiation time the vendor always knew that the customer was a captive audience and their prices reflected that. The agency would kick and scream, pout and threaten, but always caved in. To save face, they would get the vendor to throw in a dozen server licenses (for a 45000 seat organization) to demonstrate that they were spending the tax payers money wisely.

Yeah, right.

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