Microsoft submits the new MSOfficeXML file formats to ECMA
Microsoft has decided to submit the new MSOfficeXML file formats to ECMA. They also are tweaking the licensing to try to appease customers that want an "open" standard. I am somewhat skeptical.
Microsoft motives are certainly questionable. While "customers are demanding it" is certainly true, they have been for years. They're also demanding that they open the binary formats, which is the entire installed base (see this post from Adam Barr). Pretty quiet on that front, eh?
While the new license is better, it still is worse than comparable ones from Sun and Adobe. Given their history, Microsoft has to be way better than the others. It is a double standard, but it is justified considering the dirty tricks Microsoft has done.
Microsoft is being very careful to keep full control over it. This doesn't really affect people that simply want to access MSOffice data, but it is a deal-killer for people writing MSOffice competitors. Anything innovative that they do will have to be saved, and Microsoft is not going to put it in the standard until they've done it too. Any competitor that wants to use these formats is going to be limited to being a MSOffice clone.
Standards are nice, but they are often only there for show. Not to pick on ECMA, but look at ECMA 234, an attempt to standardize the Windows API. Totally worthless.
My prinicple is Competition is good. It makes everyone better. Microsoft not supporting ODF and trying to force MSOfficeXML is a way to protect the MSOffice franchise and stifle competition.
File Formats: MSOfficeXML