"And not to again pick on Microsoft here, but it is
unfortunately the Redmond software giant that tends to be the
biggest offender. The two other best examples I like to think of
are with Microsoft Outlook and ActiveSync.
"Outlook, by its very nature, it hideous to use. I was fed up
back in 2002, as I tired of the idea of being locked into those
ever-growing .PST files. While the files can be parsed, it takes
other software to do the reverse engineering in order to cobble
together the data so that it might be converted into something that
is actually compatible with other Personal Information Managers
(PIM). This process is so convoluted, that I have been told that
any software designed to parse the data actually relies on Outlook
itself at some level just to begin the conversion process.
"Then we have that little piece of software business once known
as ActiveSync. While it has not been completely changed over in
Windows Vista, along with its new title, the premise is the same.
If you are using a Windows Mobile product, you will find the entire
process goes much easier than when using non-Microsoft sync/mobile
products. While this example is hardly considered total vendor
lock-in, it was designed to make itself seem so appealing as to
make other non-MS products something to be scoffed at as they would
not integrate so nicely."