As some of you might have noticed, the hottest debate nowadays is the debate on Microsofts new document format, the OOXML (Office Open XML) and Microsofts attempt to get the OOXML standard ISO certified.

What is OOXML?

OOXML is a document format developed by Microsoft and it has been certified by Ecma International, a standards organization. The format is capable of making spreadsheets, presentations and ordinary rich text format documents. Microsoft is trying to get it ISO certified through MS’s membership in Ecma. It looks like MS wants to compete with the already ISO certified open document format ODF.

The OOXML is even a whole lot slower than ODF.

What is ODF?

Wikipedia:

ODF is a file format for electronic office documents, such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations, databases and word processing documents.

The standard was developed by a technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium and based upon the XML format originally created and implemented by the OpenOffice.org office suite. As well as an OASIS Standard, it is a published ISO and IEC International Standard, The OpenDocument standard meets the common definitions of an open standard, meaning the specification is freely available and implementable.

The problem

The problem at hand, is that we already have a standard for open documents called ODF. ISO and World Trade Organization (WTO) has a clause that states that they can’t have contradicting standards within one area. If OOXML gets an ISO standard, the clause is violated and this opens up for more contradicting standards in other areas.

Another thing, by introducing a “new fancy” document format, MS can hold a tighter grip round existing customers and get more on the false pretence that they’ve “opened up”. MS has of today a de-facto-monopoly on their OS and their Office solutions. What would happen if they gain a bigger share of the market? Increased licensing fees, restrained conditions, reduced freedom of choice when it comes to platforms and applications, and the dependencies to other applications or solutions would be probles on the horizon.

My view on this matter

Well, I would like to see the outcome of this. Personally I hope that ISO says NO to OOXML, due to the fact that they were first. I urge you to go to the NO to OOXML site and put your vote in their petition!

A litle paste from Wired.com’s article: MS Fights to Own Your Office Docs:

Microsoft’s legacy formats give them a great ramp into whatever next thing they are selling. Even if it’s herring,” says Sam Hiser, vice president and director of business affairs at the OpenDocument Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the ODF standard.