Microsoft Office 2007 and Open XML: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Last week Joe Wilcox (Microsoft Watch) observed that Microsoft Office 2007 apparently doesn't conform to the Open XML standard (ISO/IEC 29500) that Microsoft has rammed through the system. Alex Brown has the full test here. No surprise. I've argued for the past year that the product must have diverged from the standard under construction. It's a normal thing in the standards world as Joe and Alex observe. They each challenge Microsoft to declare itself with respect to the standard and the future of the product.
But here's the problem: Microsoft already has declared itself. Last August Microsoft commissioned a study from IDC on the adoption of document standards. The "study" names Office Open XML as the obvious favourite. "Among the XML-based document standards, Office Open XML seems to be creating the most traction in the market." In the PR push leading up to the September 2007 votes on ISO/IEC 29500, Microsoft was already equating the standard with Microsoft Office 2007. That's what the sales field will be telling customers, with graphs culled from the "report". [srw — If you really want to read the report, follow the link from Mary Jo Foley's editorial. I still refuse to give the paid report link cred, small as it may be.]
Here's more writing on the ISO adoption and next steps:
Microsoft Claims Success with ISO and Open XML Standard