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Appeared on: Friday, December 08, 2006
Ecma Approves Office Open XML Standard

Ecma International approved Office Open XML Formats as an Ecma standard and voted to submit the new standards to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for consideration as an ISO standard.

"For the past year, representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil ASA, Toshiba, and the U.S. Library of Congress have worked together to help ensure that the Office Open XML Formats are highly useful and interoperable in a wide variety of scenarios," said Microsoft in a statement.

"Today?s Ecma vote is a major milestone in furthering document interoperability ? we believe customers will really appreciate the benefits that Open XML provides," said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. "We look forward to continuing to work with Ecma and the other contributors, extending our collaboration across the industry as part of the ISO certification process."

The Ecma committee TC45 made significant changes to the specification and also produced more than 6,000 pages of documentation on the formats to help developers get predictable results with the formats, whether they wanted to take advantage of a few specific features or the full technology set of the formats.

Novell and Corel have officialy announced their support for Open XML in their OpenOffice.org and WordPerfect offerings. Microsoft believes that the Open XML Formats will be used by millions of customers worldwide, across both Windows and Linux platforms. In addition, more than 750 developers have joined the Open XML Formats Developer Group.

However, IBM seems to be among the stronger oponents of adopting Microsoft's proposal. Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president for open source, released on Thursday the following statement on its blog:

"We think the OpenDocument Format ISO standard is vastly superior to the Open XML spec. ODF is what the world needs today to drive competition, innovation, and lower costs for customers. It is an example of a real open standard versus a vendor-dictated spec that documents proprietary products via XML. ODF is about the future, Open XML is about the past. We voted for the future."


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