New standard gets mixed reception
The format's approval is also likely to have little true impact on the future success of products that are compliant with the competing ODF (Open Document Format), said Andy Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove and editor of the ConsortiumInfo standards blog. There are many reasons for this, Updegrove said, including the fact that the quality of Office Open XML is not what it should be yet, that there will be no compliant products for some time, that the billions of documents that already exist were not created in this format and that many governments do not want to support a monopoly.Adam Farquhar, head of Digital Library Technology at the British Library and vice chair of Ecma TC45, said the move was "an important step forward for digital preservation and will help us fulfill the British Library's core responsibility of making our digital collections accessible for generations to come." Martha Anderson, director of Program Management for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, agreed. "The U.S. Library of Congress believes that the preservation of digital content for future generations will be much easier if widely used software applications use formats with full public specifications that will be maintained by the global community going forward. The approval of Office Open XML as an international standard has important benefits for libraries and other archival institutions for generations to come," Anderson said. For Tom Ngo, chief technology officer of ISV NextPage and a member of Ecma TC45, the ISO/IEC approval puts control of Open XML "in the hands of the international community." Officials at IBM, which has been the most vocal critic of the whole process, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Some of the members of the technical committee who supported the adoption of Office Open XML as an international standard welcomed the news.