Open standards and open source

Harsh words for Microsoft

I see that Microsoft is in the news again. According to James Kanter in the New York Times on June 11, 2008, European Union’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, "delivered an unusually blunt rebuke to Microsoft on Tuesday by recommending that businesses and governments use software based on open standards."

(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/technology/11soft.html?ref=technology)

"Ms. Kroes has fought bitterly with Microsoft over the last four years, accusing the company of defying her orders and fining it nearly 1.7 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, on the grounds of violating European competition rules. But her comments were the strongest recommendation yet by Ms. Kroes to jettison Microsoft products, which are based on proprietary standards, and to use rival operating systems to run computers."

But Ms Kroes did not explicitly name Microsoft in her address to a conference in Brussels - instead she referred "to the only company in European antitrust enforcement history that has been fined for refusing to comply with orders".

In her speech, she praised the City of Munich for using software based on open standards, along with the German Foreign Ministry and the Gendarmerie Nationale, a department of the French police force. A policy by the European Commission adopted last year to promote the use of software products that support open standards “needs to be implemented with vigor,” she said.

Yochai Benkler: Open-source economics

In this Ted Talk on "Open-source economics" Law professor Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization. By disrupting traditional economic production, copyright law and established competition, they're paving the way for a new set of economic laws, where empowered individuals are put on a level playing field with industry giants.

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