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RE: Microsoft threat to XML?

From: David Sheehy <dsheehy@mac.com>
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000 10:34:19 +1000
Message-Id: <v04210100b543a24fdc17@[]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

>Basically, some developers at Microsoft saw a need to be able to 
>package scripts in a more reusable form. They could have come up 
>with a proprietary way of 'wrapping' the information that clients of 
>scripts need, but they decided to use an open and extensible 
>standard (XML) to do that instead.

Using XML in this way does make it proprietary. XML is designed for 
all the stuff you mention, but why should scripts be a *part* of the 
XML document? I mean what are applets and parsers for?

>p.s. - Microsoft did not 'cause' your impugned lack of accessibility 
>to computers any more than any other company, and I wish you would 
>stop saying so. You could just as easily blame Apple - they had the 
>first successful GUI. Or Xerox - they had the idea for the GUI. 
>Microsoft just happens to be the company that has developed the most 
>successful GUI in the marketplace. The people on the ADG team at 
>Microsoft are very passionate about what they do, and feel like they 
>are doing good things that are advancing the state of the art. If 
>you wish to belittle their efforts, or look down on their pride in 
>their accomplishments, please do so after you have done more than 
>they have.

OK, I was going to leave tech politics out of this.

However, it seems that it is perfectly acceptable to bash Adobe, who 
have never claimed to be a paragon of disabled services (like MSFT 
do), and mostly offer visual products for the graphics industry.

On the other hand, it's not acceptable to raise perfectly valid 
concerns about the world's largest software company? They do the bare 
minimum that should be required of such a company, and then they act 
like they are saviours and release dozens of press releases when they 
do things for accessibility. They act like they are doing users a 
favour. Well, they should HAVE to do all of this. Apple don't try to 
claim they are doing much about accessibility, they don't try to get 
PR from it, and they have always shipped speech synthesis and 
recognition with their OS, unlike Microsoft. Anyway, I'm not trying 
to defend them. I just think it's interesting that rather than 
dealing with these issues, you want to look for a scapegoat. I just 
want these things dealt with, whether it is with MSFT, Apple, or 

Microsoft aren't doing anyone a favour, but they act like it.

Microsoft are the major influence on the inaccessibility of the web, 
and the majority of the world's computers. Their desire to knock off 
Netscape caused years of degradation of the W3C standards. OK, this 
is no joke, that IE browser war made the internet a miserable place 
to be. MS sabotaged Java with Active X. I could go on, but you get 
the idea.

As far as Windows go, it's hardly usable by non-impaired users, let 
alone the disabled. Just look at the ridiculous number of clicks it 
takes just to do simple things. Look at the illogical and verbose 
dialog boxes, with corresponding nonsensical options. It's a 
usability nightmare. Many ordinary office workers go into panic at 
the thought of using a computer, because of Windows.

I'm sure the ADG team feel that they are pushing the state of the 
art, but that's just a hallucination. Why do they have to fill 
themselves with rhetoric? It's not really about 'pushing the state of 
the art' anyway. It's about standards. Why can't they just admit that 
accessibility is a basic thing, and they are not our saviours, just 
because they are trying to iron out problems which shouldn't be there 
in the first place? Maybe they are 'good guys', but no matter how 
good they are, we both know that they would never have the power or 
the inclination to stand up to the rest of Microsoft. Sure, they can 
fix a few problems here and there, but the overwhelming majority of 
Microsoft is moving away from accessibility. For the ADG to really do 
their job, they have to attack the problem at it's roots. Anyone who 
knows how Microsoft internal culture works, will know that that's 
never going to happen, and the ADG are just as marginalised as anyone 

I don't care how passionate they are, can they do the job properly? 
This thing with scripts in XML shows that they have little influence, 
or are unaware of the bigger picture.

Another thing. Linux is probably the best OS for accessibility. Now, 
if you've seen the MS "Halloween" documents, you will know how 
Microsoft wants to destroy Linux, which is a better solution for the 
disabled than Microsoft could ever be.

No disrespect intended towards you personally, but I'd like to hear 
from someone independent on this. You are an ex Microsoft employee, 
and I don't trust a single word that comes out of Redmond unless it 
is independently verified. Microsoft are the biggest liars and 
hypocrites this side of a totalitarian state. Gates has recently been 
making totally dishonest and false statements to the media. 
Unfortunately, the media doesn't have the guts to call him a liar.

I don't think the sky is falling, and I can see how you operate - 
trying to paint anyone who has a divergent opinion as a hysterical 
anti-Microsoft 'nutcase'. I'm just concerned about a serious issue. I 
don't think the sky is falling, I just think MSFT is a definite 
threat to the future of accessible technology.

Received on Saturday, 13 May 2000 20:35:15 UTC

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