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Microsoft fighting for open standards?

By Fjodor on Feb. 16, 2007.

As may be known to you, proposals for open, XML-based document formats have been submitted to the ISO/IEC. Open Document Format (wikipedia article), ODF, meets the usual requirements for being an open standard, and on the outside, MS’ competing format Office Open XML (wikipedia article), OOXML, appears to do so as well.

ISO adoption of the OOXML format has been blocked by IBM, backing ODF, which has sparked this open letter from MS, stating among other things that

When ODF was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process because we recognized customers’ interest in the standardization of document formats.

While it is true that MS did not hinder the standardisation process, it certainly did not forgo chances to hinder the adoption of it by interested parties: Inside story: How Microsoft & Massachusetts played hardball over open standards,

Furthermore, while a proposed standard may be openly presented, that certainly does not mean that it is openly implementable, as this article shows.

I will let it suffice to ask, if a standard containing the tags “lineWrapLikeWord6”, “useWord2002TableStyleRules” or “useWord97LineBreakRules” conveys a sense of openness or interoperabilty, considering that the formats for Word 6, Word 97 and Word2002 are strictly closed.

Category: Microsoft

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