Because Microsoft has so much market power, it can often impose new standards at will. It need only patent some minor idea, design a file format, programming language, or communication protocol based on it, and then pressure users to adopt it. Then we in the free software community will be forbidden to provide software that does what these users want; they will be locked in to Microsoft, and we will be locked out from serving them.
Previously Microsoft tried to get its patented scheme for spam-blocking adopted as an Internet standard, so as to exclude free software from handling email. The standards committee in charge rejected the proposal, but Microsoft said it would try to convince large ISPs to use the scheme anyway.
Now Microsoft is planning to try something similar for Word files.
Read the complete story. (IT Manager’s Journal)