Voice of the People
"We believe this document addresses the comments of those national bodies, and hope that even more national bodies will vote in favor of the improved format later this quarter as a lot of good improvements to the format have taken place as a result of this hard work," Robertson said."The table should be big enough and inclusive of all. We are happy to see the process is more inclusive than it has been in the past," Robertson said. Asked by eWEEK what the impact would be on adoption if Open XML is not ratified by ISO/IEC, Robertson said it is already an open Ecma standard, is already available to the community and is already being rapidly adopted. "We would expect that to continue. The question is whether the global community wants to have a voice in its evolution, and that is what the ISO/IEC ratification process will do," he said. With regard to whether it is possible to create a perfect translator between different formats, Robertson said there is no such thing. The community needs to be involved in the process and translation could be optimized and continually improved, but the fact remains that the two formats are different, he said. Turning to the issue of interoperability, Robertson said it is as important to customers as security and reliability. As such, Microsoft is working with others, including competitors, to achieve this. For Microsoft, interoperability means connecting people, data and diverse systems, addressing real customer concerns and enabling innovation, he said. But Robertson did acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done on the interoperability front. "Is it a perfect world? No. Are we going to resolve all these issues by next week? No. But the work here is ongoing," he said. With regard to antitrust actions in the European Union, Robertson said the Court of First Instance decision in September was in large part about interoperability and the sharing of protocols, which the commission felt needed to be open and shared and Microsoft was working to make sure it complied with this. The Commission's opening of two new investigations on Jan. 14 also have some element of interoperability and "we are working with them to ensure that we comply with all the rules and laws around the world," Robertson said.
But he stressed that Microsoft believes the vote is of interest to many countries and people across the world, and that they should absolutely have a voice in that process, which needs to not be limited to Open XML proponents, but also include ODF supporters.