How to gain market share…

Found today on Alexander Kluge’s blog:

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.
Me: Ooops…
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!

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Simon Scullion Written by:

Question everything. Reinventor. Sailor. Newbie Triathlete. Dad. Chief of Transformation @ Zapiens



  1. John

    So this is how CIA does their spying of EU commission.

  2. 11/07/2007


    And Microsoft! Remember they were hit by the EU with a rather large fine not so long ago.

    I suppose this is one way to try and get back in their good books!

  3. muzzy

    I think it should be illegal for them to receive ‘gifts’, isn’t it just a different form of bribery? Well, with the exception that these bribes had this questionable document format payload, quite some trojan horse alright.

  4. 11/07/2007

    Muzzy, I’m inclined to agree. We’re talking about an organisation run with tax-payers money, where I would expect higher levels of ethics, not to mention IT control.

    What is also worrying is that if they are running Office 2007, they are also running Windows Vista on what I assume are fairly new PCs. 🙁

  5. Fly

    Hah.. So they gave away the free licenses, but “forgot” to pitch in with the courses on “How To Save Your Documents So Other People Can Read Them”? =D

  6. 12/07/2007

    Convenient that huh!

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