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December 8, 2005

Ecma Approves MS Office Committee

Posted by David Hunter at 8:20 PM ET.

Nate Mook and Ed Oswald at BetaNews:

International technology standards organization Ecma International voted Thursday to approve the creation of a technical committee to begin looking into standardization of Microsoft Office’s Open XML document format. The effort has been backed Apple, Intel and Toshiba.

The vote to create the committee would have been unanimous, however OpenDocument supporter IBM voted against the proposal while HP abstained. Critics outside of Ecma questioned the organization’s move to standardize what they consider to be a proprietary format.

The first meeting of the Office Open XML technical committee is set to take place on December 15.

They also point to Andy Updegrove’s commentary on the decision:

So there we have it. A “standards” committee formed to standardize a single vendor’s product, and only one vote against proceeding as requested by Microsoft.

It would appear that Microsoft has chosen its venue quite well. It has also shown its hand at the last possible moment to limit the possibility of organized external opposition, and will be driving the process hard to end true to its beginning.

All of which makes the contrast to ODF rather stark: in contrast, that standard was developed by a community process that decided what should and should not be included and which had no constraints imposed upon it by anyone; it is supported today in multiple product offerings; it is not only open source friendly, but already implemented in open source; it is already in the voting queue at ISO; and it has no dependency, formal or de facto, that will require it to track any individual vendor’s product in the future.

There’s no denying that Microsoft is a great strategist and extremely thorough in its execution, and therefore likely to succeed in its effort to produce an Ecma branded standard . The question is, when that standard comes out with the Ecma rubber stamp at the top, will the market adopt it to the exclusion of ODF?

More by following both links.

Filed under Coopetition, HP, IBM, ODF, OOXML, Office, Office 2007, Standards

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