Why is Open XML ECMA’s best loved effort?

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Take a look at Andy Updegrove’s blog entry called “Why Ecma? (Part I).” He says, in part, of the timetable in the last year:

If you look at the next six months, you’ll find three press releases announcing adoptions of work product at General Assemblies, and four more press releases about OOXML. The final count? Even though Ecma approved 32 different standards during this time period, the Ecma site lists a total of eleven different press releases relating to the OOXML project, and only one relating to any other single technical project. So it would appear that either Ecma doesn’t think that much of what it’s doing these days is very important, or believes that there is a great deal to be gained from being associated with the OOXML project � or both.

I could understand why Microsoft might do this, but isn’t rather unusual behavior for a so-called industry consortium?


  1. You guys are just so unfair. My guess is you’ll qualify for a lump of coal in your stocking this year!

    Updegrove is on the take with IBM and is anti-MS. If he werent? show me his support for customers who want choice or anything pro MS anywhere. I mean, you link to him directly…duh. You wouldnt do that if he were ever going to hammer IBM.

    Second, show me how/where these release hit the newswire? I searched Reuters and PRNewsWire with no results. Updating a committees work in a transparent way on the web is ideal. I certainly wish Sun and OASIS provided better notes about the origins of dark, smoke filled rooms to ram ODF through with little industry participation.

    You have hammered that ECMA isn’t open, isn’t fair etc. Maybe they listened and gave you what you wanted but couldnt stomach. Vendors working together for the benefit of building something we all can actually use.

  2. Andreas, your comments about OASIS just don’t stand up to reality. See the ODF OASIS site to view the archives of the very public, non-backroom discussions that have gone on around ODF.

    I appreciate your expressing your opinion. Perhaps Andy can answer your other questions over at his blog. Luckily I provided a convenient link (grin).

  3. It looks to me that ECMA does not really care about the their Press Release section of the website. Certainly it is clear that the Press office will not bother updating the site unless someone in their TCs passes information to them or ask them to. Except for news about “General Assembly”, the Press Office does not seems to be writing any “Press Release”. The only other non-OOXML related news seems to be written by somebody else and not the press office.

    It is possible that TC45 is actively pushing press releases to the “defunct” web press office. This is definitely a response to the ODF pressure and the need to show progress, at least to their government customers.

  4. There’s a cerrtain similarity between Microsoft’s investments, and the research investments of most pharmaceutical companies. A really good new drug (in the eyes of the pharma companies) would be something that wuold alleviate symptoms, and need to be taken every day by the patient for the rest of their life. Highly profitable.
    When you get a headache, in the US, you get advised to take Tylenol.
    Now, there’s a different investment you could make, whereby you might develop a cure for or a vaccine against the problem in question. Suppose you could get a vaccine against headaches; one ‘shot’ and no more headaches for the rest of your life. Who would make the investment, how would you bring the result to market, and what would be the response of the owners of the Typlenol brand (someone must own it) ?

    Shuttleworth has pulled Ubuntu together. Sun have ‘bought the freedom’ of OpenOffice.org . ISO have blessed ODF XML. The investment in the ‘vaccine’ has been made. You can’t make people take it, of course; all you can do is point out that it is there.

    With that little lot, you don’t have to buy a new Personal Computer every 3 years just to get a good price on Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. You can, of course, but you don’t have to. You make your decision on other factors; lower electricity consumption, smaller box, most stylish case, longer warranty, and so on.

    There’s plenty of other ‘high-volume technology’ markets that might be profitable for an organisation with Microsoft’s skills and with the capital they have to invest; they seem to be looking at personal-service robots, Internet TV service, XBox Live service, commercial home entertainment through Microsoft Ensemble Studios and taking licence fees any time some other games manufacturer sells an XBox game. I’m sure they will be formidable competition for others in those fields, and their products will represent progress for the world.

    So, do they stick to the old, or do they jump to the new ? Or is it just a question of how long they stick before jumping ?

    How about IBM, too ? IBM’s not selling Lenovo personal computers after the end of this year; IBM won’t make anything from selling free software such as Ubuntu or OpenOffice.org, either. What’s the ‘new’ for IBM ?

  5. Seriously, posting about the amount of pressreleases made by Ecma about OOXML ???
    Is that really what bothers anyone ?

    It is like looking at IBM related bloggers and see how much time they spend on hailing ODF and bashing MS. ;-)

  6. A lot of this is about moving standards organizations to more open practices. This means changing previous practices. This means knowing what the previous practices are.

    I think I probably praise and promote ODF more than be negative re the alternative. I know at times the pendulum is more in the other direction, but it tends to be more concentrated around things like the ECMA vote.

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