Thursday, April 28, 2005

Microsoft's Metro XML Format in Longhorn Targets Adobe

The Register providea a great analysis of how Microsoft's new XML document format dubbed "Metro" that's slated for next year's Longhorn update to Windows XP, noting its positioning as a portable document format that will allow application-independent printing and authoring on any XML-enabled platform. Microsoft is taking its time making sure that this is a quality release and early rumblings are indicating that reverse-compatability is going to be far less of a factor, so the universality of its acceptance is far from assured. That said, Microsoft is barking up the right tree with an XML-enabled universal container that can be freed from fatware such as Adobe's Acrobat Reader and take on a life of its own as a container with both content and functionality. This is great stuff, but it's a shame that Microsoft has the boat anchor of operating system sales and turf to defend in order to launch progressive content packaging schemes such as this. The move towards intelligent packaging of content based on XML objects is steaming along with or without Microsoft. They may yet catch a part of the wave with Metro/Longhorn, but yet again they have failed to define the wave, leaving plenty of room for alternative content packaging schemes to progress on their own. The sooner that Microsoft eases away from the platform business and focuses on universal packaging for completely portable content and functionality the better it will be for them and for all of us content producers and consumers.
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