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OOXML Finally Gets the Gold

We're contractually obligated -- OK, we don't have contracts here at RCPU, but if we did we'd be obligated -- to mention the Olympics this time of year, so here you go: Microsoft's Office Open XML format, for which we previously used a sports metaphor to discuss, finally got its gold medal late last week, sweeping away the last few desperate appeals and becoming -- for sure, this time -- an ISO standard.

Oh, sure, the medal ceremony was delayed. In fact, it hasn't even happened yet. The ISO will publish OOXML as a standard in the next few weeks, it says, as long as there aren't any other appeals against it. At this point, further appeals look unlikely, as far as we can tell. So Microsoft should have another medal in its trophy case very soon.

Beyond that, Redmond will have a legitimate claim to "openness," a theme it's been harping on almost as much as NBC has been pushing the (amazing, we must say) Michael Phelps story. Well, the "openness" claim will be as legitimate as any that a proprietary software vendor that still has an awkward relationship with the open source world can make...but OOXML's ultimate acceptance by the ISO will serve as a reference point nonetheless.

We still see this whole episode as a show of might on Microsoft's part in an industry that, with Vista sinking and Software-as-a-Service on the rise, looks less and less like the old-school, Microsoft-dominated world of recent decades almost by the day. Score this one (finally) as a victory for Redmond -- the old war horse that still has some kick left in it yet. (And for the purposes of our Olympic theme, let's just consider that last metaphor to be a reference to the equestrian events. Deal? Great.)

Are you pleased or disgruntled about OOXML apparently clearing its last hurdle? (Hey, there's another Olympic reference!) Sound off at [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on August 19, 2008 at 11:54 AM


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