Microsoft’s Office 12 standards move draws mixed reactions

Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley reports that Pundits Give Microsoft’s Open XML Play Mixed Marks. “While the Massachusetts governor’s office (and attorney Larry Rosen, an open-source specialist) may be upbeat about Microsoft’s decision to push the Office 12 Open XML document format through the ECMA standards process, not everyone is equally bullish about Microsoft’s move.”

I was impressed with the positive tone of Larry Rosen’s review. A fair playing field benefits all, and it looks like Microsoft has taken some good first steps. However, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ column cites several serious concerns. The best point in that article is the last: When the O-12 standard is a legitimate standards-body-approved standard, only then should it be considered as a peer to competing standards at that level. Before that, it’s just another proprietary, encumbered under-documented binary file format.

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