… Microsoft backed adding ODF, the document file format used widely in open-source alternatives to Microsoft Office, to a list of business standards.
Microsoft also said it will support Office 2007’s default document file format, Open XML, for the list maintained by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as well, according to a press statement.
The company said it supports ODF (Open Document Format for XML) because businesses want choice and interoperability for software they deploy. ANSI recommends business best practices, standards and guidelines to a range of industries in the United States.
An interesting note from Andy Updegrove at the bottom of the first page of the same linked article,
To its credit, Microsoft voted for ODF when it came before the ISO (International Organization for Standards), while IBM cast the only negative vote for Open XML when it was up for approval by standards organization Ecma International, Updegrove added.
Of course, just prior to this he states,
… by supporting ODF as an ANSI standard, Microsoft is “making it appear it is rising above the squabble to do the right thing.” Instead, he thinks the move serves as a challenge to vocal ODF supporters to support approval of Open XML as a global standard when a final vote for the draft specification comes before the ISO.
So let me get this straight,
MSFT votes to approve ODF and makes statements such as that from above, which for all intents and purposes states “Our customers want choice.” On the flip-side, IBM votes against an approval of Open XML as an ECMA standard (suggesting maybe their customers aren’t interested in choice? Not sure.), and yet IBM is the good guy and MSFT plotting a sinister plan to garner favor in regards to gaining support for Open XML.
Hold up… lets try this again: MSFT states “Our customers want choice” and so votes for approval and pays for the development of support for the ODF format inside of their Office suites dating back to Office 2000, and furthermore does so as an open source project on SourceForge. They’ve also stated “Our customers want support for backwards compatibility with previous versions of Office” so MSFT builds in support for these formats inside of Open XML while improving the spec to support a new generations of technologies. And yet “…the move serves as a challenge to vocal ODF supporters to support approval of Open XML as a global standard when a final vote for the draft specification comes before the ISO.”
You sure it isn’t because their customers have stated this is what they want? If yes, are you sure that IBM’s lack of choice alternative is really the better route we should be going down? I already know some of you will say yes to which I pose the following question: Why? Because lack of choice is better? Because having options is “evil!” Even when full support for the ODF standards exist inside of MSFT developed products, and given the fact that no one is required to build support into their own office suite offerings, do you still feel this way?
I’ll ask again: Why?