Speaking of what works -- and doesn't -- in community building, Microsoft launched a new community Web site on May 8, called OpenXMLCommunity.org.
Microsoft is continuing to push its claim that developers and users just can't get enough of Open XML, the new file format that the company has baked into Office 2007. Microsoft is warring with the backers of Open Document Format (ODF) alternative to Open XML. Microsoft's efforts to neutralize backing for ODF at the state- and international-government levels has been intensifying, as of late.
Microsoft already has built an online Open XML developer forum, OpenXMLDeveloper.org, to build support among programmers for its Open XML format. The new Open XML community site is for customers and partners, according to Microsoft Office Program Manager Brian Jones.
Jones described in a May 8 blog entry the newest Open XML site as a place "to help better organize the large number of people interested in OpenXML." Many of the more than 300 initial customers and partners signed up to participate in the site are not based in the U.S., according to a partial member roster on the site.
Microsoft's move to create the new site follows on the heels of its campaign to encourage customers and partners to sign an online petition to support the ratificaion of the ECMA OpenXML formats as an international open standard.
Do users really care enough about file formats to participate voluntarily in a community site dedicated to promoting them? I guess we'll find out, as the OpenXMLCommunity.Org site moves ahead ....