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Microsoft and XML

FUDBust: Microsoft has mistreated the competition by tweaking RTF with each Office release, effectively forcing a continuous upgrade cycle. But since Microsoft invented rich text, it can do anything it wants with it. XML, on the other hand, is a derivative of ISO's SGML. If Microsoft wants to change XML direction, it must do so the way any other company would--by contributing to the XML working group at the World Wide Web Consortium.

The company's recent set of XML patents seeks to control the way its apps write, read and validate XML content. In particular, the patents set down the methodology necessary to create word-processing documents, which may include programmatic instructions, data and images within a single XML file.

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Of course, other word processors won't be able to make full use of these documents. So, why did Microsoft bother to base its strategic document format on XML? Well, that is Microsoft's privilege. For vendors wishing to fully interoperate with Word, there's always RTF.