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From the weather desk: Blizzard in Hell

Well it happened. The one thing I never thought I would live to see has happened, well aside from Israel and Palestine burying the hatchet for a group hug. Microsoft admitted to slandering competition and lying to cover their tracks, even falsifying "Knowledgebase articles" during this year's CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

The long and short of it is that Microsoft issued a patch for Office 2003 that blocked users from opening previous Microsoft formats and any competitor's formats, claiming the competition's formats were a security risk (because Windows itself isn't, right?). They went so far as to scare the less informed, claiming "They may pose a risk to you." In their defense, Stevie B was jumped by 3 OOXML documents and mugged earlier in the year, but you can't blame an entire format for a few bad seeds.

Now if you had to make an apology to millions of people, and the CES show, a highly publicised event, is going on right now, you might use your clout to be the bigger man and fess up during the show. Well, Microsoft came close. David LeBlanc made the apology in his Blog on MSDN. Who's David LeBlanc you might ask? Exactly. He's a programmer for Microsoft. Why not have Billy Boy or Stevie B announce it in their flair? Well, for one Stevie B might set fire to the stage and bite the head off of an audience member at random. And secondly it would be admitting they were at fault.

Another issue with this apology is that it isn't much of an apology. They say they were doing what was right, that they were very old formats, you know, like the new Corel formats. In fact, the only time the word apology appears is in the statement "We also recognize that we have not made any of this as usable as we'd like, and we apologize that this hasn't been as well documented or as easy as you need it to be." This is in reference to the file opening fix. Never do they apologize to Corel, their users, or the public they lied to. Isn't that like smacking someone and saying "Sorry I didn't give you ample warning."?

They also state "From the data we have on file opens, very few users open files in these formats, so we decided to modify the default behavior to this safer approach." From the data they have on file opens? This should send up a flag to some Office 2003 users. They're tracking file usage, in some cases at least. That I find a bit bizarre, I can see how it's useful for them when making new formats, but a bit "Big Brother"ish as well.

Good luck finding this story at the top of any major news networks, though we can always hope, right?

You can read the full "apology" here.

Side note: I hope nobody is offended or even believes the statements I make about Steve Ballmer, he's actually a very delightfully insane man and has never, to my knowledge, been jumped by any document or file format.

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