The office documents standards war (between Microsoft and just about everyone else) is well into a new phase, as Microsoft’s Office Open XML challenges the OASIS OpenDocument format as the only ISO standard for office documents.
Microsoft’s Office Open XML specification (OOXML) was approved by ECMA on 7 December 2006. It is now being run through the ISO process in an attempt to become a competing standard for office documents. The first step is the “contradiction” phase, with a deadline of 5 February 2007.
Searching for Openness in Microsoft’s OOXML and Finding Contradictions explains the ISO process and adds: “Because of the apparently unresolvable contradictions being discovered, the questions being asked are whether ISO should reject EOOXML from the fast-track process and instead use the regular process, and whether, if there can be no resolution of some of the contradictions discovered, ISO should accept the specification at all…”
Do we need two standards? I think not, and many people (with a lot more technical knowledge than I have) also think not. For example, see blog entries by Rob Weir, Bob Sutor, and Andy Updegrove, among others.