Open XML Suffers a Setback on the Road to ISO Ratification

An eWeek article by Peter Galli talks about how Microsoft's XML based configuration language for Microsoft Office (Office Open XML) suffered a setback in the process used by the US to decide whether to support the format with ISO. I have heard that the Canadian process has lead to a non-recommendation.

Microsoft misinformation about this format is that it is offering a choice for office file formats. What they don't explain is that while OpenDocument format is a vendor-neutral way to express specific document types (word processor, spreadsheet, etc), Office Open XML is a way for third party vendors to interact with Microsoft Office. It is more comparable to an XML based configuration file for a specific application than it is a document format. It is not at all a substitute for OpenDocument which has an entirely different purpose. It is interesting how Microsoft has managed to spread their misinformation well, given many of the standards bodies used a description of OpenDocument in describing what Office Open XML was intended to be used for.

See also: When is a standard not a standard? by Edward Macnaghten