See their press release: “Microsoft Votes for Choice: Company backs the addition of ODF to American National Standards list.”
- Any real and full support for ODF from Microsoft is most welcome. Any time they actively encourage people to adopt ODF, that rate of adoption will accelerate, so this is a good thing.
- Microsoft believes we need many standards: the industry standards, plus the ones they themselves create. That’s why they want “choice.” If there is no “choice,” the industry might not use what Microsoft creates by itself. Sorry to be cynical, but there you go.
- I believe the industry wants a common set of the fewest possible non-overlapping standards, and then a large choice of applications that use those standards. An analogy: I don’t want lots of standards for electrical wires and plugs in my house, I want a few standards and then a huge choice of electrical appliances. Microsoft is deliberately trying to confuse the industry and its customers with this bizarre and self-serving “choice of standards” argument, in my opinion.
- I believe we need convergence of document standards. I would welcome Microsoft’s active and honest participation in further advancing the OpenDocument Format by adding its requirements and expertise. It’s a crying shame that they have been absent from this effort, and we invite them to take their product-specific knowledge embodied in their binary and OOXML (OpenXML) formats, and make them work more generally using modern, well-designed XML for the benefit of all. There’s hope that the China-developed UOF will converge with ODF, and I would welcome the same comrades-in-arms common effort to bring ODF and OOXML together. Remember, ODF is a community based global standards effort.
- The longer Microsoft continues this charade of OOXML being an independent open standard rather than its actually just being an XMLification of their proprietary product data formats, the longer the industry will have to wait for the full benefits of a single standard. In the meanwhile, ODF will continue to grow in adoption. Remember, we’re only playing with the rate of adoption of ODF here, not the question of whether or not it will happen.
The press release is a PR stunt, sorry to say. The real message is in the middle where Microsoft tries to advance the case for OOXML. That is, this is OOXML promotion using ODF as the vehicle. I think this is obvious.
I’m not a cynical person by nature and I tried to watch my tone here, but a stunt is a stunt. I had hoped for better.
Finally, it’s excellent news that ODF appears to be on the way to being an American National Standard!