Love the vendor lock-in

It was pointed out to me that MS has a online site for small businesses under office live “brand”. It is apparently for SMEs to be able to get hosted services etc. One can get an account on it for free and begin to use it. Intrigued, I went to that site (which I shall not a href here for good reason), but it needed an account with “Mircosoft Office Live”. Not having one, I tried to signup and viola:

“To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

* Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later, running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003. You can download the latest version of Internet Explorer from the Windows Internet Explorer page.

* Firefox 2.0, running on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. You can download Firefox 2.0 from the Firefox Download page.”

Another bizarre bit of trivia on that site. At the bottom left, there is a link to “Accessibility” which says that among other things:

“Further information
Go to the Microsoft Accessibility site for information about the efforts at Microsoft to create software and services that are accessible to everyone.”

I guess the “everyone” referenced is “eveyone running Windows”.

Nice. First you lock in the SME with an OS, then bait them with free resources, then you smother them with dependencies every nook and corner.

Why would I *trust* MS to hold *my* data, let alone my company’s data? They will probably never let me take my data out and even if they did, it would be in a broken ooxml format.


  1. Accessibility Efforts of Microsoft
    Hi Harish,
    Just wanted to provide some information on the accessibility efforts of Microsoft that you are referring to. I think you might have misinterpreted the focus of the Accessibility programs in which we work hard to develop solutions to enable computing to be made accessible to people who may be suffering some sort of impairment (e.g. people suffering from eyesight or hearing impairments). At Microsoft we invest in a lot of research to make this happen, and not only do we focus on the Windows platform for accessibility, we also work closely with Novell and their SUSE Linux Enterprise offering to create a cross-platform accessibility framework together (more details can be found at
    As a Microsoft employee I am extremely proud of the investments and research we do in this area, as I have personally seen those that have benefitted from it.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Matthew Hardman

    • Re: Accessibility Efforts of Microsoft
      Matthew –
      Thanks for the note and I applaud the efforts done by MS to make sure that technology is accessible by as wide a audience as possible.
      I did not misinterpret the link, but drew attention to it as a oxymoronic situation where one needs *Windows* before anything else can be of use with reference to the live office stuff.
      You should be even prouder of your employer if your employer was seen to be magnanimous and willing to work with anyone on a level playing field instead of being in a situation where the end user is in a power disadvantage. I might be willing to use the live office stuff, but not on what I will label as unfair terms.
      And let’s not confuse anything Novell and MS has done in this space. Novell has apparently done some work in OO.o, BUT some key parts have not gone upstream. Why? You tell me.
      All the publicity on the press release you point to is just that – a press release. In covering Asia Pacific, I have *yet* to come across anyone who can be even remotely considered to have benefited from the “collaboration”. But I digress.

Leave a Reply