Open Format: ECMA approved Microsoft’s OpenXML

On the 7th of December the industry association Ecma International has approved Microsoft’s Office Open XML format as a standard. Jan van den Beld, Secretary General of Ecma International, said:

The Open XML standard recognizes the benefit of backward compatibility preservation of the billions of documents that have already been created while enabling new future applications of document technology.

Bob Suthor from IBM put it on another line:

We voted “no” because we fundamentally believe that this is doing nothing more than “standardizing” Microsoft’s formats for its own products and that’s not how the industry should be behaving in 2006. In ECMA you do get to vote, and we exercised that right. It’s nice that the Microsoft spec is XML, but that alone will not guarantee widespread correct and complete implementation for the many reasons people have laid out.

Richard Carriere, Corel‘s general manager of office productivity, looks for interoperability at large, saying:

The debut of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft OOXML will immediately experience broad dissemination. [..] Far from clear which of these formats will be adopted by productivity customers, or indeed if we’ll simply need to continue working with multiple file formats.

On the same line Novell chief technology and strategy officer for Open Source Nat Friedman said:

Novell supports the OpenDocument format as the default file format in because it provides customer choice and flexibility, but interoperability with Microsoft Office has also been critical to the success of