Hey BRM! Don’t Give In!
I join Google in urging the delegates at the ISO to support truly open standards.
Currently, the technology industry is evaluating a proposed ISO standard for document formats. Given the importance of a workable standard, Microsoft’s submission of Office Open XML (OOXML ) as an additional international standard has caught the attention of many. In September 2007, the original request to ISO was defeated. After further technical analysis of the specification along with all the additional data available on OOXML, Google believes OOXML would be an insufficient and unnecessary standard, designed purely around the needs of Microsoft Office.
This isn't the old days when it was acceptable to use file formats that were vendor-specific, and often unreadable by similar applications made by other vendors. These days, there is no rational reason for creating documents in file formats that are not vendor-neutral open standards. Truly, office applications have improved little since 1997, so there is no burning reason to choose a particular vendor's product over another—except for the current case, where the most widely-used vendor uses closed and secret formats as a tool for maintaining their dominance. (Yes, I know that they have opened the formats up a little in recent days. But it is still not open enough.)
So, until OOXML is cleaned of its most glaring flaws, made vendor-neutral and freed of "IP" impediments for implementers, ISO and other reputable standards groups need to reject it. For office software, choose something that reads and writes OpenDocument Format in addition to legacy formats (such as .doc, .xls, .ppt). If your company's software does not read and write ODF, take a look at the list of software that does use ODF. You can continue to use your legacy Microsoft office suite until upgrade time by utilizing Sun's ODF plugin.
Thanks to Bob Sutor for the tip.