Subject: Re: Mass. Bill to Block OpenDocument Format Standard
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <gumby@henkel-wallace.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 16:02:17 -0800

On Nov 7, 2005, at 14:14 , Anderson, Kelly wrote:
> But stepping back a few paces... I'd have to agree that "quality" does
> always have something to do with commercial success. However "quality"
> what? Microsoft proves that "quality marketing" is enough to be
> successful as long as your software is good enough. Many companies get
> by with "quality support", IBM Consulting doesn't really sell anything
> BUT support and I would guess that's a pretty good business.

Well, let's not be hasty.  Microsoft's software is good enough to  
provide _good value for money_ for most of its paying customers.   
That _is_ tautological.  You'll note that when quality (in terms of  
bug count or feature count) is no longer a driver (e.g. I.E.) they  
stop investing in it.  When quality threatens to cut them out (I.E.  
again, the move Windows NT in W2K) the invest there.  And it is good  
enough.  Sure I think a lot of it (but not all) is crap _for me_ but  
I think for most people it's perfectly adequate, and there for better  
than they spending time researching an alternative.  Marketing adds  
hysteresis to the process, that's all.  You can edge down the quality  
curve, but as long as you don't go too far you can recover _until_  
something discontinuous comes along.  And for some businesses, in  
certain stages of the product life cycle, marketing is a better  
investment.

This can cut both ways: the quality (in terms of reliability  
reliability/buck) of most american cars is ahead of most imports  
(with Toyota and Honda as notable exceptions) but their long standing  
reputation for crap is very difficult to shake.   If they manage to  
recover it will take a long time.

This also applies to free software: the established player provides  
good value for money for most of its users while FS is an unknown  
except for those with unusual needs (need to change it, need a  
particular feature, or can estimate the cost and it is lower).

And this is why trying to out-windows windows is extremely unlikely  
to be at all effective.  You have to move the goalposts.  _AND_ to  
tie this message back to its putative subject: OpenDocument itself  
won' t make much of a difference if all that it does is allow you to  
run an inferior opffice suite.  Somebody needs to develop a cool  
(i.e. useful) app that only works with Open Document -- a web app, a  
mobile app, something new -- in order to make it worth switching.