Microsoft Enlists Intel in Quest to Sanction Open XML Supply Chain Standards

Microsoft is hustling to get its Office Open XML standard accepted and in place before the rival OpenDocument Format standard becomes widespread.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Microsoft announced Sept. 28 that Intel has joined it in an initiative to get its proposed Office Open XML format standard approved by an international standards body.

The Office Open XML format standard for documents—a more than 4,000-page, 6.7MB Microsoft Word document—is less of a standard and more of a detailed description of how Open XML could be used to display almost any Microsoft Office document.

The Open XML document format is aimed at improving SMB (small and midsize business) and enterprise-and-supplier collaboration in the IT industry, a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., and Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash.—which have seen their products become de facto standards in sectors of the industry for years—are co-sponsoring the next-generation RosettaNet Automated Enablement program as part of the RosettaNet consortium, which is holding its global council summit this week in Santa Clara, Calif.

RosettaNet is a global standards-setting organization committed to finding better ways to achieve a globally integrated value network.

While Microsoft is proposing this as the better alternative to ODF (OpenDocument Format), Andrew "Andy" Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove LLP and the editor of ConsortiumInfo.org, told eWEEK that the level is so high, that if Open XML becomes a standard, "only clones can be built, which is good for interoperability, but death to innovation."

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about an open-source project to create a series of tools that allow translation between the Open XML format and the ODF format.

"It can also be death to competition, since if [as in this case] the standard is based on an existing product, then no would-be competitor would ever expect to be able to catch up with the incumbent, much less compete on price," Updegrove said.

ODF, a completely nonproprietary document format that has already been adopted by the state of Massachusetts and other organizations, became an international ISO standard last May.

Microsoft said Office Open XML is designed to capture text-based information and can repurpose and reuse the information from the XML format regardless of platform. Standard invoicing, inventory and purchase order forms would be based in XML formats and easily utilized by all supplier companies, a spokesperson said.

Next Page: Finalizing Office Open XML spec.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...