Well, that’s it. Not only did Verizon and AT&T come out on top in the 700MHz spectrum auction – promising an end to hopes of Google’s utopian ideals of a truly open network – but I just heard that “Office Open XML” was approved as an ISO standard.
I don’t think it even merits comment on my part. The world is run by corporations. Corporations with more money than brains, hopes, or balls. The 700MHz spectrum will become another copy of what American has now – a resource (frequencies) that are “owned by the people”, yet controlled by major corporations, and horribly biased against the interests of the consumer.
Well, OOXML is now a standard. Is it any less flawed? No. Is it any safer for me to implement? No. Does it even contain enough information for me to implement? No. But it’s a specification, and it’s here. While Jason Matusow may have stated that “the patents related to the technology are not a barrier to use – for anyone, in any country, for all time“, I’m still a bit worried about the issues that will crop up with OOXML – not to mention the fact that it’s a standard squarely aimed at eliminating choice (we all know Microsoft will push hard for organizations not to use ODF) and preventing competition in a sector already overwhelmingly dominated by *one* product.
In short, what happened in the past few weeks? A confirmation that the governments and organizations of the world care little about the individual, and fear change. They’re owned by big business, and the 700MHz spectrum will end up being, at best, a marginal improvement over the current restrictive cellular system. And big business doesn’t even have the balls to fight for itself. Or, even worse, doesn’t worry about vendor lock-in or proprietary software because, as long as they keep bending over backwards to follow Microsoft’s every whim, Microsoft will always be there to help them.
I’m surprised that even multinational corporations, who have a data center filled with redundant systems, and fiber running in every direction in case this or that CO goes up in flames, doesn’t consider closed standards, proprietary (possibly patent-encumbered) software, or closed-source software to be as obvious a single point of failure as a critical service running on a single desktop computer. Sure, your vendor might tell you their software will achieve five-nines. But if they discontinue support, or have a few bad quarters, and they won’t fix it for you, what then?
I’m just thankful that there are some people, few and far between, that don’t fall into the trap.