Ryan Paul wrote an Ars technica piece about a conversation with Bob Sutor of IBM.
[Bob Sutor] is convinced that the industry will regard OOXML as a dead end, and that will force Microsoft to accept ODF. We have already seen some evidence of this in Microsoft's recent decision to support ODF in Office—a change of heart that was precipitated by pressure from ODF adopters. Sutor suspects that this trend will continue and that Microsoft will eventually fully embrace ODF.
Although the article is quite opinionated it hints towards an important conclusion: ODF could become the next generation office format of Microsoft. It was early admitted that OpenDocument's architecture would provide the better clean room framework than the home-grown format with all its legacy. But hey, we do care about the legacy and backwards compatibility, the proponents of Open XML said.
What we observe these days is that more and more government agencies make the move towards OpenDocument, sometimes through adoption of OpenOffice.org. The most recent news is from Malaysia. Malaysian Yoon Kit, known to everyone in the debate as the entertaining blogger on Open XML standardisation insanity and OOXML BRM participant himself, points us to developments in Pahang.
Its just been made official that the State of Pahang is migrating all its productivity suites to OpenOffice.org.
State Governments are faced with the reality that software costs money, and they would rather use the money saved with FOSS…
Now I wonder if tomorrow, Microsoft will 'extend' their RM99 Microsoft Office Home & Student license for 3 computers to these Government officials now. Or maybe even better; USD5 per seat? Any takers?
Bye bye fat margins, you've been commoditized!
Government officials often point out how cheap licenses have become. Better competition drives the margins down. Good for Yoon Kit and his Schadenfreude humour. Good for Yoon Kit as a tax payer. Good or bad for business? That depends on your interests. From a procurement perspective you need to avoid all vendor dependencies, reduce procurement costs and put the vendor in chains if you can. A behaviour as moral or immoral as when you are on the sales side and attempt the opposite. Microsoft early understood the need to regard interoperability control as crucial for its business. The awareness among procurement agencies is on the rise to pay similar attention to the strategic importance of procurement policies and interoperability promotion. But also on the sales side of the medal it is a fight between one and many.
"International standard-setting should enable a free competitive market, a level playing field and not promote lock-in for the benefit of a single party".."Dependency on a semi-open format as Open XML would continue to let a foreign software vendor milk our governments and markets while it inhibits national competitors to catch up with support"
There are other parties which want their share in the market. Open Standards strike a balance and enable a free competitive market. A dominant player would become at least contestable. No one can blame it to resist these developments. But if it does fight the Open standards slippery slope it is upon others to increase their pressure.
The road ahead for ODF is filled with both challenges and opportunities. Sutor sees a very promising future for open standards and is convinced that companies and governments are now capable of recognizing the value of interoperability.