The nature of their protest will evolve
In regard to how to change the process now that the standard has been ratified, David Mitchell, senior vice president of IT research at analyst firm Ovum, said he believes very little will change in the short term. "Those who were protesting and opposing the Open XML progress through the standards process will still oppose it. The nature of their protest will evolve. To begin with, there have been challenges to the process-and these will continue," Mitchell said. "Those who are supporters of Open XML will need to move into the implementation phase, because standards are simply documentation. One of the companies that many will look to take a lead with implementation is Microsoft.""It is likely to take some time for this to be completed, and Microsoft will also need to provide tools to convert from the existing Office 2007 formats into the new Open XML standard. Other ISV developers like Apple, IBM, Sun, et al. will also need to put their plans in place for supporting this standard-it would not be wise for the developer community to ignore it," Mitchell said. The ratification of Microsoft's file formats also does not mean the demise of ODF (Open Document Format), which is also an ISO-ratified document standard. "What it does mean is that developers of software that works with documents will have to support both formats, and that these developers will need to compete on the basis of the intrinsic merits of their products rather than using a standards body lockout-from either the ODF or the Open XML camp," Mitchell said.
The standard that Microsoft initially submitted through Ecma was revised and improved by the standards process and, as such, the software giant will need to update its existing products and planned future products to support the format that was actually ratified, Mitchell noted.