What about choice?

Microsoft works hard to make sure their users stay locked into their products.

Caiff tua 3 miliwn o gyfrifiaduron eu gwerthu bob blwyddyn yn Tsieina, ond dyw pobl ddim yn talu am y feddalwedd.

Rhyw ddydd, fodd bynnag, fe wnân nhw. Cyhyd ag y maen nhw'n dwyn, rydym ni am iddyn nhw ddwyn ein meddalwedd ni. Fe ddôn nhw'n gaeth mewn ffordd, ac yna fe benderfynwn sut i gasglu arian rhywbryd yn y degawd nesaf.

Bill Gates, cyfweliad ym 1998

Poor support for open standards

There exist open file formats and protocols, which are standards to store and carry many types of information, respectively. They are openly specified: they can be read by anyone on any computer, now and in the future. Proprietary programs, however, rarely support them.

For a long time Microsoft Office only had support for Microsoft formats. There are many ways to write work documents, but Microsoft Office users were bound to Microsoft Office files. People who opted without expensive Microsoft products cannot write and read .doc files very reliably.

There are of course other ways of writing and exchanging office files, the most well-known being the OpenDocument Format. But Microsoft isn't keen on letting Office users exchange files anyone can read and edit. As of Microsoft Office 2007 SP2, Microsoft finally added support for the ODF format after being pushed by the European Commission.

Safonau sy'n newid drwy'r amser

Tasg anodd yw ceisio cadw at safonau Microsoft bob amser – oni bai eich bod chi'n gallu fforddio uwchraddio'n aml. Erioed wedi ceisio gweithio ar un ffeil .doc ar ddau gyfrifiadur, y naill ag Office 95 a'r llall ag Office 97? Rydych chi'n deall.

Microsoft owns the Office file formats: they change them with every new Office version and have no obligation to keep them backwards-compatible. Saved your presentation as a .ppt file? If you give up using Microsoft Office next year, you'll have to rely on other communities to reverse-engineer the format, to be able to access and modify your own work.

Rhaglenni na allwch chi mo'u dadosod

Ddim awydd cael Windows Media Player ar eich cyfrifiadur? Ddim yn defnyddio Internet Explorer rhagor? Chewch chi ddim dadosod y rhaglenni hyn. Gynt roedden nhw'n gweithio ar sail annibynnol, ond erbyn hyn mae yna gysylltiad cynhenid rhyngddyn nhw a Windows – felly maen nhw ar bob cyfrifiadur ac ni all neb gael gwared arnynt.

Arferion monopolaidd

Microsoft has a tight control over OEMs (computer manufacturers) who ship their computers with Windows installed.
This means that no program competing with Microsoft products, be it multimedia player, web browser, office suite, instant messaging program or other, will come pre-installed on most computers you can buy.

It is a good thing to propose a wide range of software and services like Microsoft do; however, designing and combining them to shut users from non-Microsoft peers is unethical. It's not technically hard to adopt more open formats. But it means your customers are free to choose what they do with their work – Microsoft isn't there yet.