Yesterday at a customer site:
Customer: So can you also help us with infrastructure and hardware problems?
Me: Yes, of course!
Customer: We need help upgrading to Vista and Office 2007.
Customer: Is there a problem?
Me: Well, you have now Windows XP and Office 2003 – and to be honest thats everything you need. In fact I would recommend taking a look at Open Office 2.2. So why do you want to upgrade?
Customer: Very simple: We want to read and edit Office 2007 DOCX files.
Me: But why? Nobody in the world uses that format except Microsoft itself?
Customer: We receive every day documents in that format from the European Commission in Brussels, we are part of many groups in Brussels, and they send out their stuff as DOCX.
Me: So tell them to convert it to DOC or even Open Document Format. There are probably hundreds of other interest group outside in Europe that receive these files and cant open it – and don’t want to spent thousands of Euros to upgrade the systems.
Customer: No way. Everybody in Brussels uses now Office 2007, and they will not stop sending the documents out in DOCX. We tried and failed.
Me: But what is the reason for this bullshit?
Customer: Microsoft gave away Office 2007 licenses to the Commission’s administrative staff – for free.
So this is how it works.
Left me lost for words.
Whats the value in the ODF efforts and those of its supporters like Rob Weir, Bob Sutor and others, if M$ keep abusing their position in this way? Particularly with organisations like the European Commission, who should know better!