I’ve been listening and watching the whole Open XML debate for a while now and decided it was high time to chime in and ask you to offer your support. Here is my very simple recap of things – apologies for the paraphrase but this is the deal.
- Customers and partners have repeatedly asked us over the years to open our proprietary Office document formats. You were probably one of them…I used to get this question a lot when I started at Microsoft.
- We listened (novel I know) and in Office 2007 we included the Open XML format. We also support it in Office 2003 through a free add-on.
- Customers have since told us they would like Open XML become an open standard with broad rights to use, without cost, without any patent infringement. Makes sense.
- Microsoft agreed and called for the standardization of Open XML via international bodies like ECMA. They approved it as an open standard on Dec 7th 2006.
- The vote was nearly unanimous; of the 21 members, IBM’s was the sole dissenting vote. IBM (again) was the lone dissenter when ECMA agreed to submit Open XML as a standard for ratification by ISO.
- The ISO process involves a 1 month period for national bodies to review followed by a 5 month technical review process and when ODF (an alternative doc format) was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process – why should we?
- In the meantime, during the one-month period for consideration of Open XML in ISO, IBM led a global campaign urging national bodies to demand that Open XML was not even considered. They ignored the fact that the vast majority of ISO members chose not to submit comments. Nice eh?
- We think this is a blatant attempt to use the ISO process to limit choice for commercial motives – no surprise that Notes doesn’t support Open XML.
- We think people want choice. Seriously.
If you agree, please show your support at http://www.microsoft.co.uk/openxml/ – it only takes a few moments.