Microsoft is Fighting a War For Your DocumentsSat 01 March 2008
I'm not sure how much of this gets to the mainstream, I see filtered news thanks to RSS and bookmarks.
There is a technological war going on right now, similar to the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD one, and certainly far more important.
It's a fight over your documents and what format they are in. It's ironic that Microsoft announces their new "openness" as they are fighting like hell against an existing open standard that most vendors approve of and support.
Microsoft is fighting for its life to get its new document format certified as an ISO standard. They need this because there is already an ISO document standard and it poses a huge threat to you being stuck with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. They are spending tons of money and bribing governments in order to get it so there are two standards, their proposed OOXML format and the older, established ODF standard. If Microsoft gets their standard accepted it means end users get two incompatible file formats and the accompanying headaches. I already see this with people getting Office 2007 files that they can't open in Office 2003 or Office XP. If Microsoft would use the already existing document standard, the various office suites could compete on merit not on how entrenched their proprietary format is. Already Google Docs, OpenOffice, NeoOffice, Lotus Symphony and Corel (soon) support the 2006 ISO Open Document Format. The only holdout , understandably , is the one with the multibillion-dollar business based on people locked-in to their closed proprietary format.
The best thing we can do until its resolved is use ODF for documents and on existing MS Office files leave them be - don't use Office 2007 formats at all until this is resolved.
Sign this petition: http://www.noooxml.org/petition
The voting deadline on the proposed standard ends March 29th. Let's hope it's defeated and Microsoft takes the opportunity to be interoperable by adopting the ODF ISO standard in Microsoft Office.