Andy Updegrove has a good article Words, Standards and Torture: What’s in a Name that is well worth the click IMHO.
There are some things that are much more important than whether your file format says <tomato> while mine says <tomato>.
Take a look at Bob Sutor's blog: "Standards We Need To Talk."
IMO, IBM is declaring war on ISO. They blame the victim for problems other members don't have because they sign up to legally binding participation agreements. IBM, on the other hand, tries to lead a rebellion through ignoring standards processes and declaring itself the leader of the pack.
Boy, this is really is a 1960s company using 1980s tactics to sell iron.
Len: The main driver for standards quality is the amount of review. The main driver for the amount of review is the availability of people with broad and long-term experience. The main driver for that availability is funding. No money, no honey.
I welcome IBM's interest in quality, but unless they actually start providing endowment funding to national bodies to help fund Secretariat costs and the costs of local committee people and invited experts to participate internationally, "quality" is just a mix of motherhood and FUD. I have previously called for MS to do the same kinds of thing.
I wouldn't worry about a "war on ISO" too much. Procurement officials are, in my experience, pretty hard-nosed about competitor claims and innuendo. They just won't buy it. And I really don't know why IBM bloggers repeated the corruption claims when there is no evidence: insulting and antagonizing standards people from most poor countries seems a contemptible and incompetent way to influence them. Probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Note the country where they are making the announcements is a current focus for increased business. Note the announcements about the Virtual Worlds Interoperability Forum, a market in which they have no products or experience but into which they are selling servers (deals with kaneva, deals with Linden Labs, more to come). Note that ISO already has standards for the clients and a contributing organization that successfully and efficiently creates and manages these under a participation agreement that enforces open IP. Note that IBM purposefully refused to admit that organization to its Interoperability forum. IBM is brazenly playing ethics against ethics and calling that concern.
This is a rip-off. We've seen this before: about 1993/94 when the "ISO is too slow and the W3C is fast" meme was set into motion to enable the mass burglary of existing standards. By sanctioning it then in the interests of the emerging market, we set the stage for this.
People who played it straight and did the right thing are about to be thugged to death. After this, no one will ever takes standards as a means to achieve consensus seriously again. Updegrove et al are playing right into their hands because they can't see the big picture for all their MSMustDie rhetoric and can't think it through AFAICT.
This IS the time to worry, Rick.