Matt Asay discusses today's Wall Street Journal article on Microsoft's battles with State governments over ODF. [Here's the link to the article source from Market Watch lest the WSJ archive go into pay mode.]
I find this all sort of funny. Five years ago as governments explored open source software preference legislation, Microsoft's rhetoric machine went into overdrive to lobby people to prefer technology based on open standards regardless of implementation methodology and licensing. And this IS the right solution for governments. But based on current rhetoric I thought it would be funny to see what Microsoft had to say for itself. Unfortunately the Wayback Machine wasn't as helpful this time, and Google search results are jammed with the "Men in Black" story about Microsoft's hired
I was, however, able to find a document from that period on Microsoft.com. [Microsoft.com is a sufficiently large site to have a life of its own. While pages change, downloads often remain.] A search on Microsoft.com for "standards open source" returned a huge number of links, but a download called "Key Messages" on the first page looked promising.
So here are some "Key Messages" from Microsoft's standards team circa 2003 (doing battle with the Australian parliament no doubt) [Emphasis added]:
- An open standard is a publicly available specification which details certain technical functionality that may be implemented in different products and services. It is adopted in an open, consensus-based process and must satisfy other criteria for transparency, ease of access, and broad implementation as described below.
- Open standards exist to facilitate interoperability and data exchange across various products and services in a marketplace of multiple, competing implementations, while ensuring that certain minimum requirements are met.
- Other types of standards (e.g., “proprietary standards”) and market-based mechanisms exist and are currently used to facilitate interoperability. However, open standards ensure the highest level of interoperability across the widest range of competing products and services.
You can read the rest but you get the idea. Sooooo ... ODF versus Microsoft Open XML. I guess we should judge each based on the number of implementations of each.