U.S. to plug Open XML as an ISO standard

The United States is likely to recommend Microsoft's Open XML standard as an international standard. News.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

The United States is likely to recommend Microsoft's Open XML standard as an international standard.

News.com's Martin LaMonica reports:

Two members of the technical committee tasked with setting the national position on a pivotal vote said the States will retain its "Approve" position in a vote to make Open XML (all resources) a standard at the International Organization for Standards (ISO).

The chair of the committee, Patrick Durusau, who is also the editor of the rival OpenDocument standard, said that the controversy surrounding Microsoft's Open XML standards bid is being fueled by an irrational anti-Microsoft sentiment.

Durusau has an interesting riff on the whole Open XML saga. Here's an excerpt:

One evening, through a cold miserable rain, a hungry Russian peasant was walking home. A luminous being appeared in their path. "Please! If you will make one wish, it will free me from my prison!" The genie pointed to an oddly shaped lamp on the side of the path. "Wish for anything you want, food, power, wealth, ..., anything!"

The peasant grunted, "I wish my neighbor's cow would die," as he pushed past the genie to continue home. The strategy behind NOOXML strikes me as being quite similar to that of the Russian peasant. It seeks nothing that would benefit itself, no new product to sell to customers, no new service to serve as a revenue stream. It is simply a wish that "...my neighbors cow would die."

What is puzzling in this day and age of quarterly reports and returns that any corporate governance structure would long tolerate spite as a business strategy. Or that investors would stay with companies that follow such strategies.

OpenXML (OOXML) has issues in its latest version but the profitable strategy is to help isolate those problems and fix them. Correcting problems with an XML based document format is a benefit to everyone. If not a direct addition to the bottom line, it at least avoids later costs in dealing with defects in a format.

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