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In a resounding victory for Microsoft Corp., bills seeking to mandate the use of open document formats by government agencies have been defeated in five states, and only a much-watered-down version of such legislation was signed into law in a sixth state.
Although Microsoft publicly testifies from every available pulpit of their deep longing for multiple document formats, a quick glance at reality shows that this love remains unrequited in their products. For example, what new formats does Office 2007 include out of the box?
n a policy document specifically timed for release this afternoon, Microsoft's general managers for interoperability, Tom Robertson and Jean Paoli, make a play for ownership of the standards issue facing users of competing document formats, by saying the company would support ratification of its own Open XML format along with OpenDocument Format (ODF) as ISO standards, if and only if doing so woul
"As you will recall, V1, the INCITS Technical Committee that addresses document format standards, was unable to reach consensus on a recommended US vote to either approve or reject DIS 29500, the draft ISO/IEC standard that describes Microsoft's OOXML formats. As expected, Microsoft is seeking to gain a US vote in favor of OOXML..."
Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global grassroots effort to promote and build awareness of the importance of free document formats in particular and open standards in general. If you have ever received a document from a friend that your software could not open, then you know the frustration of proprietary formats.
Massachusetts' open formats policy is off to a slow start with only 250 of the government's 50,000 PCs outfitted with the necessary technology. Since the policy was publicly introduced last year, the plan has seen resistance from state employees and Microsoft, lobbying heavily against the format change.
The problem with the battle between HD-DVD and BLU-RAY was they were identical standards for high-definition video players. The arguments over high-definition digital video standards has a salutary lesson for the world of document formats. Once the dominant owner of all document formats, the ubiquitous .DOC, .XLS and .PPT file types, Microsoft is attempting to force all computer users to standardize on their latest efforts. This new format goes by the unwieldy name of Office Open XML (OOXML).
In the wake of the ISO rejecting Microsoft's OOXML document format as an international standard, Microsoft has launched its Document Interoperability Initiative pledging to work with industry to ensure its document formats remain interchangeable with industry standards.
"Like the Terminator – just when the monster machine seems defeated, it always somehow rises again – Microsoft's push for international standards status for its Office document formats refuses to die."