Home > Office > Office Standards Battle Grinds On Office Standards Battle Grinds On Eugenia Loli 2005-12-13 Office 18 Comments Standards body Ecma International has created a committee to standardize Microsoft Office document formats, handing the software giant a victory in an intensifying struggle over desktop software. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 18 Comments 2005-12-13 9:10 pm Anonymous Money Talks 2005-12-13 9:39 pm DittoBox Any links or hard facts that show MS payed off any ECMA officials? 2005-12-14 12:08 am Anonymous “Any links or hard facts that show MS payed off any ECMA officials?” Please don’t be stupid. Bribes are illegal. Finding evidence of this isn’t so easy. It doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye. The original poster was probably pointing to the fact that MS got so much support so quickly, that it’s hard to believe that no one got paid off. 2005-12-14 11:07 am Tyr. Any links or hard facts that show MS payed off any ECMA officials? Let’s take a look at some ECMA voting members: Adobe : produce software for use on Windows HP : produce Windows pcs notebooks and peripherials Fujitsu : produce Windows pcs notebooks and peripherials Intel : they don’t call it wintel for nothing NEC : produce Windows pcs notebooks and peripherials Philips : produce Windows peripherials Sony : produce Windows notebooks and peripherials Toshiba : produce Windows notebooks These people know how to play ball. Microsoft has been convicted by a court of law in the past for questionable behaviour towards competitors and others that were in the way. Biting the hand that feeds you never is a good idea, especially when you can see the carcasses of those who did all around you. 2005-12-13 10:26 pm SamuraiCrow If this means that other applications will be able to import Office documents without paying a fee then maybe this is a good thing. (Although I hope that Open Office.org wins in the end.) 2005-12-13 10:30 pm dylansmrjones Heh… this isn’t a victory yet. It only mean ECMA has decided to look further at Microsofts standard. Hardly a victory. 2005-12-13 11:01 pm Googlesaurus “Heh… this isn’t a victory yet.” At the very least it is progressing rapidly. I don’t believe anyone really has much doubt of the eventual outcome. This is a lot more “black and white” than most are willing to admit. Has anyone mentioned EMCA has a “fast-track” arrangement with ISO? Being approved by EMCA “could” leapfrog the MS format ahead of ODF application to ISO. This deal is running on nicely greased wheels. 2005-12-13 11:05 pm dylansmrjones I don’t know about that. There is a major risk it’ll run into some sort of bureaucratic disturbance. That usually happens, and I doubt Microsoft is strong enough to avoid it. I’d like to see my statement proved wrong, but I’m just too skeptical to believe it’ll go fast. 2005-12-13 11:19 pm Googlesaurus It “could” go really fast. I don’t see any obstacles with teeth. A bunch of blabbering at the hands of a few “associations”, a little whining from IBM and Novell, tears from a couple others who are not even in the wordprocessing business. Case closed. Approval before Q2 06. 2005-12-13 11:43 pm Kroc Now why didn’t they think of this before!? That’s right; they didn’t have any competition before. I may be a windows user, but Microsoft are more reactionary than revolutionary. 2005-12-14 2:23 am ma_d I don’t see how this is handing them a victory… TMK anyone who proposes a reasonable standard and pays the required fees can get it standardized… I see no reason for the ECMA to refuse their standard. I do see reason for customers to not believe them when they say they’re not extending the standard in their own software. 2005-12-14 5:52 am Anonymous This is all just a show that Microsoft is putting on, they already own the office market. This is like adding color to the frosting on a cake. Big deal. Now, if Open Source software could actually use this it would *mean* something. It is not like this is going to suddenly revive the dead Wordperfect suite! 2005-12-14 6:35 am Haicube – Sun went out and standardized for the Oasis format. – The crowd cheered – Microsoft tried to open up it’s format a little more – The crowd got pissed off A bit illogical to me but hey, there is an explanation for everything. What we have seen here is a move to standards, some took some big steps (Sun as usual) and some took smaller (Msft). The whole result of it all is that it will become simpler for all office suites to adapt to these two formats. And if we can cut down the number of formats from 50 to 2, everyone is a winner… Now when will that happen with .indd and .psd documents? 2005-12-14 1:47 pm Anonymous There was the OASIS standard which currently is the only standard for rich wordprocessing currently. Then MS lost the “MA Battle of Formats”, because they refused to let competitors of the open source cummunities into their format. Then MS step by step opens up their format, but in a way which still has some loopholes in it (what about the office 13 format? What about MS extensions to the standardized format? Will they be open enough for open source?). You do not say to a child which came along kicking and screaming: “Nice of you for coming along.” You watch that child for what nasty things it might do next. That is happening, nothing more, nothing less. 2005-12-14 8:25 am TwoBits I hadn’t heard of ECMA until I heard of Ecmascript. But many have heard of ISO and ODF will not be left in a vacuum – Ecmadocument – an ECMA standard – Opendocument – an ISO standard This is all rather important stuff. What business does not use office softwares? I think the world will end up using both standards. Getting the ISO stamp will help ODF tremendously – also to find users outside FOSS circles. And 2 standards is just the way it should be. Just 1 might be more efficient but is also an invitation to abuse. Besides, that’s true whether it is a software standard or a war in Iraq. ECMA has only few europeans among its members according to its web page. Odd. It’s headquartered in Geneva. Are Europeans not interested in a say in this? But maybe ECMA is not that important. 2005-12-14 4:34 pm Googlesaurus “Getting the ISO stamp will help ODF tremendously – also to find users outside FOSS circles.” MS is using “the process” to gain ISO approval before ODF. They applied to ECMA first only as a means of accessing the “fast track” approval methods of ISO. Direct quote from ecma website: “Since 1986, when fast tracking was introduced to ISO, over 75% of fast-tracked standards have been fast-tracked through Ecma.” MS appears to be banking on gaining approval via ECMA, and immediately applying to ISO on the fast track. If this method goes according to plans they could have ISO approval before the application for the ODF format is even heard by ISO, much less approved. This is where having the resources of a huge corporation backing you up is a major advantage. MS hired people who knew how to play this game. In hind site, ODF should have played via this method themselves. 2005-12-14 10:49 am Anonymous I dont care which company wins, just choose the best one and open it so many different suites can use it. It isnt much to ask for 2005-12-14 11:01 pm Anonymous I’m not so sure ECMA’s imprimatur will accelerate ISO approval much. ECMA has lower standards for acceptance than ISO. They permit, for example, a company to proffer up a standard, fait accompli, whereas ISO requires you to accept comments & revisions in a more open process. (How patents are handled is also different.) Does anyone think MS will amend their .doc format based on comments from the Open Office group? Nah, I think the play is they will document a broken subset of .doc as an ECMA standard–broken enough that regualar users won’t use it, but good enough to argue that their standard is as good as OASIS. So we will all still be stuck with stupid .doc files in our email inboxes.