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India, Brazil, South Africa Challenge Microsoft Office Docs Standard

8:40 am on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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India and Brazil have filed appeals against the adoption of the Microsoft-sponsored Office Open XML (OOXML) document format as an international standard.

Their appeals join one from South Africa, filed last Friday with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the two standardization bodies responsible for the technical committee which approved the OOXML standard.

"By the deadline last night, we had received three appeals, from Brazil, India and South Africa," said Jonathan Buck, spokesman for IEC.

India, Brazil, South Africa Challenge Microsoft Office Docs Standard [nytimes.com]

11:27 am on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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OOXML is in a lot of trouble that is for sure

- The final draft is between 1 and 2 months late. It should never have been fast-tracked.
- Microsoft Office does not support it, it seems even Microsoft is having problems with this ISO format. How can they expect third-parties to implement it if they can't?
- Many complaints and 3 (or possibly 4) appeals, people have resigned in disgust from standards bodies because of the way this has been handled.
- EU investigation into Microsoft's tactics.

Microsoft should be in a lot of trouble for this, standards are involved in fair trade and that is monitored by the WTO. If this appeal is not acceptable to everyone then the WTO will be involved.

Maybe Microsoft has bitten off more than they can chew this time.

2:45 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I agree with MikeDee, MS with their power pushed a specification threw the standards process which was not ready and flawed. They stuffed up National Bodies with Certified Partners and got many Third World Countries to join ISO to vote an un-conditional Yes even when those countries had not even reviewd the spec.

OOXML is now "Moot", it is a dead format. MS has announced support for ODF (Opendocument Format) in the next Service Pack for Office 2007. This is a great because it creats a fair playing field even thou Office has a substantial lead in market share. This also allows users to escape the vendor propriatary lock-in.

5:01 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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2 things can be observed:

- MSFT's utter lack of strategy (first manipulate OSI to adopt their poor excuse for a format (they're not even using it themselves!) and then adopt the existing ODF standard)
- MSFT's utter lack of respect (for standards, for their customers, ...)

I'd bet a lot the "support" for ODF won't be full and complete, there will for certain will be reasons not to use it by default (compatibility reports, annoying pop-ups, plain trouble, ... or it'll use an "extended" ODF, ...), and hence continue the monopoly they created

There's but one solution: "just say no" not just from a customer perspective, but also from a stakeholder perspective.

1:53 pm on June 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Wow, I've been watching the debacle over OOXML for months, and it's getting more complicated, not less. ISO is a strange, complex, beaurocratic, very political organization. I barely understand their processes. While I admire some of the ISO's achievements in the past, I think it's odd that they're trying to standardize something that may be better resolved in the marketplace, in the real world where people decide to use one format or another based on its actual merit.

I think just the one fact that OOXML doesn't "mesh" with the ISO's pre-existing time and date formats makes it a moot format. If it's ISO, be ISO all the way, especially in details that pertain to measuring things.

For the record, Canada voted "disapprove" to OOXML from the getgo. :-)


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