If you close your eyes and stay in silence for a few minutes you will hear the echo of the fight engaged by Microsoft against Google and IBM (with many more smaller allies) to dominate the future of office documents. I’m now following from the distance and there is so much dust it’s impossible to see who is winning.
It’s clear though who is losing: ISO, the once glorious International Standards Organization lost. Its image of highly respected organization is devastated by the abuse of the inevitable cracks in its regulament that led to many irregularities. It’s easy to blame Microsoft this time: their OOXML proposal is not ready, they’re late in its development and it’s so bloated it’s impossible to implement. On the contrary ISO approved ODF (ISO 26300) is good enough, stable and widely used already.
It’s a sad, sad story, however it will end.
If you’re interested to discuss the issues of open standards and you’re in Milano on April 2nd, I’ll be at OMAT360 to listen to the round table about the implications of file format standards in the society. It’s going to be interesting, with speakers from Microsoft, Adobe, OO.org, public administration and others.