"Great companies, like great national powers, compete
aggressively--not for territory and resources, but for customers
and cash. Just as countries fall into hierarchies of power and
alliances for long periods of time based upon their respective
advantages at the beginning of such periods, or the outcome of
wars, multinational corporations often succeed in establishing
themselves in power positions that must be jealously defended. In
both cases, the factors upon which dominant positions were
originally established inevitably change even as their competitors
become increasingly determined to supplant the incumbents. Today,
the information technology (IT) marketplace may be on the verge of
a fundamental reordering of its 'Great Powers' as new technologies
(e.g., Software as a Service) and new strategies alter the
landscape upon which Microsoft's dominance has to date been based.
This article examines the conflict being waged between Microsoft
and its commercial rivals over document format standards,
attempting to examine the underlying forces, motivations,
strategies, and possible outcomes that this contentious standards
war helps reveal..."
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