naming open standards

Josef Dalcolmo dalcolmo at
Thu Jul 5 08:47:52 UTC 2001

Microsoft has for some time a tactic to attach its name to open standards, 
creating the impression these open standards are proprietary.

An example of what I mean is the labelling of protocols in the network 
properties under Windows. There is "MS TCP/IP" for example, which I always 
found irritating, since the TCP/IP protocol is not from Microsoft.

This creates the wrong impression that Microsoft was the inventor of such a 
protocol. Perhaps there should be taken legal care, that open standards cannot 
be used in immediate conjunction with company names or trademarks. One 
possibility would be to trademark the names of the standards to the issuing 
organisation, but perhaps a better solution can be found.

Interestingly MS does not (yet) write "MS HTML" or "MS RTF" in the menues to 
choose the respective document formats, although to an extent this may be an 
appropriate labelling, not because these open standards are from MS, but 
because the actual files created by MS software contain so much MS specific 
stuff that at least the spirit of the standard has been violated. This is an 
issue, the public is probably not aware of either. I only started noticing, 
when I openend HTML files written with Amaya with MS Word and found they were 
10 times bigger after saving them unchanged. So with document formats the 
problem may be reversed: here the companies should attach their name if they 
modify the intent of the standard to such a degree, or even better, they 
should not be allowed to use the Label of the standard at all. However, this 
is probably not enforceable.

I hope I will never see such a thing as "MS XML"!

- Josef

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