1.) Closed standards is not just a Microsoft term. Talk with Apple, Adobe, Sun, Symantec, etc. and you'll find the same things.
2.) Office 2007 uses a new OPTIONAL document format that adds additional functionality and cuts the file size dramatically. It still supports the old formats, which can be opened by previous versions of Office. It is your CHOICE to save it in a new format which offers new benefits but is incompatible with old versions. They also provide a free reader so if someone sends you a document in the new format and you can't open it, you can use a FREE program to do so.
in short, they ARE maintaining the standard. Old and new versions alike can create documents that open flawlessly in each other. However, they are adding new functionality to the new software. There is no obligation to update old versions with the new functionality such that the old versions are identical to the new.
3.) I thought every version of every program was a stepping stone to the next version. Mac OS X 10.1 led to 10.2, Ubuntu Dapper Drake to Edge Eft, Acrobat reader 7.0 to Adobe Reader 8.0, etc. They all plan years in advance, and each release is a stepping stone to another milestone on their product roadmaps. They fell drastically behind and therefore cut many features from the OS, but I still would not consider it another ME.
4.) If you are referring to WinFS, it's not a physical filing system...NTFS will remain the underlying filing system, thus maintaining complete compatibility with 2000/XP/Vista.
5.) It's not one company dictating to all...Mac OS X, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Linspire, and many other fish are in the sea. Granted, Microsoft is more restrictive than most others, but they all have various conventions and restrictions you must follow. Remember, a program is designed to run on the operating system, not the other way around.
6.) Microsoft OneCare (I assume that's what you are referring to) was a mistake on Microsoft's part, and admittedly so. They rushed it to release without the proper testing and analysis, and thus has been an overall failure in the 'real world.' However, a failed initial attempt at creating a security suite is not an indication of a difficult environment; it's an indication they do not have the knowledge and skill as of yet to design an adequate security package.
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