Partisans are debating whether the modifications to the
Open XML specification are enough to win it recognition as an
The war of words between Microsoft,
and others with an interest in document formats has reached a boiling point
ahead of the crucial vote later this month on whether or not Microsoft's Office
Open XML format should be approved as an
The format failed to achieve
the two-thirds vote needed for approval
as an international standard by the International Organization for
Standardization in September.
That was followed by a ballot resolution meeting in
this February, designed to find consensus on modifications to the document in
light of the comments made by the national bodies that voted.
The question now is whether those modifications have persuaded enough
of the national bodies to support the publication of the specification as a
Microsoft fired off the first volley, with Chris Capossela, senior vice
president for Microsoft Office, releasing an open letter
March 16 in which he said the Open XML standard
under consideration by the
/IEC has been
significantly improved as a result of global feedback and consideration.
He also appears to assume that the specification is headed for approval
later this month, saying, "We've
listened to the global community and learned a lot, and we are committed to
supporting the Open XML specification that is approved by
in our products."
That led to a sharp retort
March 19 from Ed Brill, an
business unit executive and worldwide sales leader for Lotus Notes, who accused
Microsoft of trying to appear "the good guys" in its efforts to take a "heavily
modified version of the Office 2007 document formats and get it rubber-stamped
as an international standard."
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Brill also took issue with Caposella's claim in the open letter that Novell,
, Sun and others have
already adopted, or announced adoption of, Open XML in their products on a
variety of platforms-including Linux, Windows, the Mac operating system, the Palm
operating system, Java and .Net.
"This hits at one of the core issues of the Office Open XML saga that I have
been highlighting for months. Microsoft claims that the Office 2007 document
formats equals Ecma Open XML and therefore that
announced support for Office 2007 document formats in a few products equals
support for the format.
Ecma Open XML. But whoever expects Microsoft to be clear communicators?"
he said in a blog post.
Earlier in the week, Bob Sutor,
vice president of standards and open source, also made it quite clear that the
is completely opposed
to having Office Open XML become an
is opposed to this specification
becoming a JTC1 [
/IEC] standard because
it was developed in a non-open manner, is ridiculously large, is technically
inferior, and emerged from the Ballot Resolution Meeting with most things not
explicitly resolved and more questions than ever before. So just in case you
were wondering, now you know," he said in a blog post.