The spin of the week:
With only four national bodies submitting appeals out of a total of 87 that voted, we think the large majority of participants in this process believe it accomplished what it was supposed to do.
Says Paulo Ferreira, Platform Strategist of Microsoft South Africa1. Of course these are only the nations where Microsoft did not fully obstruct the committee work, in Belgium for instance the Committee was unable to deliberate whether to launch an appeal. Not to mention an appeal is quite unusual in the ISO context. If Microsoft yes men would leave all the standard bodies in those nations where they claim to be at home the appeal rate would be much much worse. Appeal is a pretty unusual procedure, an extraordinary move. And here four bodies file appeals. Another point is that for appeals you need one single party with a good formal case. An appeal is a means of forced choice for ISO staff to either further bend its rules or get real.
Microsoft Office 14 is announced to be compatible with ISO OOXML. No one knows when it will be available on the market. But the software company announced earlier support for OpenDocument, the format the customers ask for:
Supporting standard formats such as ODF in Office is a way to further promote interoperability in the marketplace. Ultimately, it's what customers, partners, developers and competitors want. We recently announced support for both ODF 1.1 and PDF version 1.5 in Office 2007 service pack two, scheduled for release in the first half of 2009 - because our customers wanted it.
Conclusion: It is a longterm negotiation process to move Microsoft towards respect for genuine open standards. It is important to stage the pressure to make the domino effect happen. This is what we are working on behind the scenes now. Of course the company still finances a forceful and broad lobby movement to obstruct the open standards legislation of foreign governments.