Microsoft wants to make the file formats for its new Office 12 applications a standard.
The company said it would submit applications to the European standards body ECMA International next month, in a move to reassure customers that they will not be locked into proprietary file formats. Microsoft has been fighting off competition from newer, more open formats, such as XML-based format called OpenDocument, or ODF.
The move was met with cautious optimism by bloggers. While Microsoft is hoping the move will calm fears about its intentions, many industry watchers remained concerned about the company's motives.
Blog community response:
"Standardization of Microsoft's new Office formats will be a big win for Microsoft consumers that want more control over what they can do with their own data, but we will have to wait and see if licensing issues impede the interoperability that many users want and need."
"So maybe this announcement will mean that in the near future I won't have to pay a bundle for software that I use in a limited manner, but can opt for the free and able Open Office productivity suite."
--Digital Media Minute
"I honestly don't know whether ECMA will provide for meaningful input, or whether the process' outcome, as for example OASIS allows, is completely predetermined. You have to admire the chutzpah in pre-announcing that the ECMA and ISO processes will finish before Office 12 ships, if only by minutes, especially since one assumes that the idea is that Office 12 is going to comply with those standards. Remarkable process-management and software development skills are evidently involved."