Who says you can't beat Microsoft?
Governments around the world have forced Big Green to back-off its refusal to support the open source Open Document Format.
Brazil, Denmark and Belgium are among the national governments using the standard, and Massachusetts' attempt to move toward ODF became a political issue and was reversed.
Pressure for ODF, however, has been on the increase since the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) approved ODF as a standard in 2005, and it is now supported by IBM, Sun and Novell.
ODF is the format used by OpenOffice, the free challenger to Microsoft Office based on StarOffice.
Don't go cheering yet. The devil is always in the details. Microsoft has agreed only to support the Open XML Translator, a project on Sourceforge which currently offers translations only between ODF and Word 2007, although Excel and PowerPoint are on the drawing board. The code is offered under a BSD license.
There is also this from the Microsoft press release. "Certain compromises and customer disclosures will be a necessary part of translating between the two formats." Uh-huh.