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RE: Formal Objection to One vendor, One Veto

From: Chris Wilson <cwilso@microsoft.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 22:22:47 +0000
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
CC: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Message-ID: <61027177C88032458A7862054B3C625803DF6CAD@TK5EX14MBXW651.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>
The fun conversations always happen when I'm on vacation.

Shelley Powers wrote:
> Right now, we have no commitment one way or another from Microsoft on
> most aspects of HTML 5. According to Ian, Microsoft has the strongest
> veto of all. If it were to come in and just make a statement -- no we're
> not supporting Canvas, or MathML, or SVG, or any number of other
> elements--, just a statement of fact, then supposedly, *poof*, they're
> gone.

I read this statement five minutes ago, and just stopped laughing.  Okay, not really; but seriously, I think we can categorically say that if Microsoft has the strongest veto of all according to Ian, then no vendor has much veto power.

Lachlan Hunt [mailto:lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au] wrote:
>When a vendor objects to implementing something, that doesn't result in
>the instant removal of the feature.  Rather, we need to seek ways to
>resolve the situation and find some alternative that they will
>implement.  When the requirement for Vorbis and Theora was first added
>to the spec, and Apple objected, we looked at the situation and searched
>long and hard for an alternative that would address their concerns.

Precisely.

>It's also worth nothing that the patent concerns expressed by Apple are
>also shared by Microsoft [1].

And I've reiterated that concern multiple times, including in my presentation at @media a week and a half ago.  And I believe at the time of Apple's objection, Nokia was also expressing that concern.

>So if we were to include a requirement
>for Theora and Vorbis in the spec, when we attempt to move to Last Call,
>the likely result would be that we would get formal objections from both
>Apple and Microsoft, at which point would have to go through this whole
>debate again and probably end up right back where we are now.

And if we were to proceed with the requirement, as Ian correctly surmised, we'd simply have two of the leading implementation choose not to implement that part of the spec (at least until the patent clock were to run out, which is quite a while in the future) - which of course, does not further interoperability, which is the whole point.

>Interestingly, this issue is also occurring in relation to Web Fonts.
>From what I've been told, Microsoft have objected to supporting TTF/OTF

True.

>in support of their own EOT format,

Not quite true.  Though certainly I think EOT has a lot to recommend it (not least of which its deployment across 65% of the current browser market, and precisely that segment that updates least often), I've consistently said for a couple of years now that we'd accept another solution if it were acceptable for enabling commercial font vendors.

>and commercial font foundries are pushing for some form of DRM.

I think "DRM" is a biased word, but I'm not going to fan that fire here.  :)

>I'm not particularly surprised that [Microsoft] haven't said they will support
>it, as they, like many companies, tend to keep information about future
>products confidential.

Correct.

>Regading your concerns about XHTML, I've heard Chris Wilson on numerous
>occasions say that they are in favour of eventually supporting XHTML
>[3].  Although I have no information about when that will happen, I
>don't think we should be too concerned about them turning around and
>refusing to support it.

That hasn't changed either, and I do not expect Microsoft to suddenly object to an XML syntax for HTML.

-Chris

Received on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 20:17:07 GMT

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