The battle between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft’s Open Office XML was long, and here and there rather nasty, but it appears as if we finally have a winner. The company behind OOXML already conceded by announcing it would implement support for ODF in Office 2007 SP2, but now it has also said it quite literally: ODF has won.Microsoft’s national technology officer, Stuart McKee, speaking at a panel at the Red Hat Summit in Boston, said:
ODF has clearly won. We sell software for a living. The ability to implement ODF in the middle of our ship cycle was just not possible. We couldn’t do that during the release of Office 2007. We’re looking forward and committed to doing more than [ODF-to-OOXML] translators.
This is one of the first times that dominant player Microsoft has been unable to impose its standard upon the rest of the industry, and that can be seen as a major victory for competition. As Sun’s Douglas Johnson said: “The office-suite market has been ruled by one dominant player after another, but those markets were never governed by good open standards practices. What has happened is that this dominant-player market has actually been upset and opened to competition that didn’t exist before.”
Microsoft will deliver ODF support with the second service pack for Office 2007, scheduled for the first half of 2009.