Microsoft: IBM Standards Position Hypocritical

Microsoft is calling IBM out over its opposition to Office Open XML, saying it is attempting to create a movement to prevent ISO standardization of the format.

In an open letter posted to its Web site, Microsoft claims IBM is trying to limit choice by pushing the OpenDocument format, which it is a strong supporter of, while attempting to block Microsoft's attempts at standardizing its own format.

IBM has called on Microsoft frequently to standardize formats, as well as make its intellectual property widely available. Microsoft says it has done so, and claims IBM's own actions with OOXML are hypocritical.

"This campaign to stop even the consideration of Open XML in ISO/IEC JTC1 is a blatant attempt to use the standards process to limit choice in the marketplace for ulterior commercial motives," the company said in its letter.

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37 Comments

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I think the issue is not over the standardization, but how difficult and expensive it would be to implement that standard on other platforms. There is no benefit for MS to look at implementation issues on other platforms whereas the ODF was designed based around cross platform implementation and compatibility. Also, MS wants you to pay them for the right to use the standard whereas ODF is completely free. ODF was also not developed by one vendor or company, it was created by a consortium with no other interest other than compatibility. The article is incomplete and biased...

I don't believe that Microsoft expects licensing or payments for the base OOXML spec. I think that the problem of licensing would only show up when using patented extensions. And therein lies the problem I have with OOXML. (well, other than it sounds a lot like Open Office XML) :P

betasp said,
I think the issue is not over the standardization, but how difficult and expensive it would be to implement that standard on other platforms. There is no benefit for MS to look at implementation issues on other platforms whereas the ODF was designed based around cross platform implementation and compatibility. Also, MS wants you to pay them for the right to use the standard whereas ODF is completely free. ODF was also not developed by one vendor or company, it was created by a consortium with no other interest other than compatibility. The article is incomplete and biased...

it's just a document standard, in xml! how platform dependent can it be

XerXis said,

it's just a document standard, in xml! how platform dependent can it be


But it is not just XML. Try to do some reading.

"In an open letter posted to its Web site, Microsoft claims IBM is trying to limit choice by pushing the OpenDocument format, which it is a strong supporter of, while attempting to block Microsoft's attempts at standardizing its own format."

It took me a half-hour to get up off the floor and stop laughing long enough to read the rest of the article. Microsoft is good for some great comedy these days!

Say what you will about their software, hardware and web sites, but their executives come up with the funniest stuff. Limiting choice and exercising hypocrisy? Oh, stop it, please, you guys are killing me. Too funny!

HawkMan said,
The point is that IBM is being hypicritical abotu it.

MS is quite open abotu their stance to limit choice :p

Home schooled?

meannevil said,

Home schooled?

That was a horrible joke kid. Home schools float with private schools in coverage and are statistically much better then typical schooling.

SimplyPotatoes said,

That was a horrible joke kid. Home schools float with private schools in coverage and are statistically much better then typical schooling.


I was going to respond in kind but figured meannevil might be public schooled and wouldn't understand :P.

OpenDocument allows the user to choose between a whole bunch of office products, any one can fully support the format (unlikely with OpenXML), multiple formats which do the exact same thing just cause confusion.

any one can fully support the format (unlikely with OpenXML),

We all know that OpenDocument dormat specification is much more vague and omits many critical aspects of the format. So ODF real format is dictated by OO.org as the major application that produces files in ODF.
OpenXML standard is much much more specific.

You quoted a licensing benefit, but your post was about technical issues with the spec. It is like having a question on bananas, but talking about mangos.

So your point about "blatant lies" was about nothing that was discussed?

markjensen said,
You quoted a licensing benefit, but your post was about technical issues with the spec. It is like having a question on bananas, but talking about mangos.

So your point about "blatant lies" was about nothing that was discussed?


Maybe I didn't understand him...
I thought he said "you can easily support ODF, but cannot support OpenXML"

Your position that they both can be supported is correct. I think that the biggest problem between the two is potential license/patent issues with extensions.

ODF seems geared more toward the traditional "standard" where anyone can freely use it, like anyone is free to measure in meters and kilograms and so forth. MSOOXML seems to be more like MP3, where it is free-ish, but the spectre of patents prevents full and open use.

I don't have a problem with a Microsoft format becoming a standard as long as other programs are able to be 100% compatible with the format.

OpenDocument has the clear advantage of being a format where any application can support the document.

If MS formats were to be standardised would we end up with a situation where only MS applications can take full advantage of the format, therefore effectively locking people into using Microsoft applications?

I'm not 100% clear on this new Microsoft open format, so if someone would clarify I'd appreciate it.

Open Office XML is a standard format. That means the specifications are open for anybody to create their own reader or writer.

It's based on XML, which is also a standardised technology.

I think that the biggest objections to Office Open XML are the provisions for proprietary and/or patented "extensions". The standard, itself, is fine. But a schema that allows patent encumbering quickly becomes "non-free" to use and "non-standard" across different implementations that must avoid infringing other patents.

Not that this has been known to be done by Microsoft in the past... MS Java or MSHTML anyone?

Blackice said,
That means the specifications are open for anybody to create their own reader or writer.

Not "anybody", only people who conform to Microsoft's usage agreements. And with OXML you pay MS (via FlexGo or Office) for the privilege of writing and reading your documents. With ODF you can have endless free Open Standard choices.

lbmouse said,

Not "anybody", only people who conform to Microsoft's usage agreements. And with OXML you pay MS (via FlexGo or Office) for the privilege of writing and reading your documents. With ODF you can have endless free Open Standard choices.

1) You don't pay to read office documents!
2) You can easily produce OpenXML documents yourself for free. Just look at MS website.

RealFduch said,

1) You don't pay to read office documents!
2) You can easily produce OpenXML documents yourself for free. Just look at MS website.

We know of a great deal of Microsoft technology which does in fact contain patents and which lies outside the specification which would need to be implemented by such a 3rd-party for the formats to work. The Microsoft Office Open XML formats are therefore dependent upon a host of patented Microsoft technology.

In effect, this license means that if you are making a well-functioning, complete implementation of the Microsoft Office Open XML specification, then you are not covered by the "promise" in the License. In other words, Microsoft effectively prohibits you legally from making a complete and working implementation of its new formats in your software. If you do, you run the risk of being sued.

http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/2007/...zing_the_m.html

markjensen said,
I think that the biggest objections to Office Open XML are the provisions for proprietary and/or patented "extensions". The standard, itself, is fine. But a schema that allows patent encumbering quickly becomes "non-free" to use and "non-standard" across different implementations that must avoid infringing other patents.

Not that this has been known to be done by Microsoft in the past... MS Java or MSHTML anyone?


That's exactly what I am worried about, sure each application can have rudimentary support for the format, but if it allows other software vendors to create their own closed extensions it's effectively limiting a user's freedom and creating an environment where other applications have limited support for a format... again.

I want something which will read on any software, sure each application might render it a little differently, but at the end of the day,whether the application can support certain extensions and elements should be the decision of the software publisher, not because the law wont let them.

What annoys me about the new standard .docx - is totally unreadable in former versions of Office unless its 'converted' to Word 97-2003 format.

I've had a few friends phone me panicking that letters they've sent via email couldn't be opened by potential employers (who haven't adopted Office 2007, and won't for at least a year).

That is most annoying to say the least. Not that I mind helping, it's just that the new standard hasn't helped the average user at all.

mrmckeb said,
Have you seen the differences in file sizes? docx is clearly the format I want to use.

you have to be kidding me... We have multi thousand page documents in word, in the doc format they are significantly smaller then the docx format... we are talking 20-30% smaller

RealFduch said,

My 500kb .docx => 90Mb .doc

I have NEVER seen that happen... what is in your document? just text? tons of formatting? pictures? because our documents have all of it and right now our 3654 page document as a word 2003 doc comes in at 123.2MB and as a docx comes in at 245.32MB

neufuse said,

I have NEVER seen that happen... what is in your document? just text? tons of formatting? pictures? because our documents have all of it and right now our 3654 page document as a word 2003 doc comes in at 123.2MB and as a docx comes in at 245.32MB


Few pages with Quantum Physics formulas.

RealFduch said,

Yes. I used Equation editor.

I think I can clear this up.

.Doc file is not packed in the same way a .DocX file is because the OOXML files are zip files with a bunch of plaintext XMLs and pics or whatever, packed inside. Try running an app like 7-zip and unpack a .docx file. pretty kewl, if you ask me.

I, in all honesty, like the OOXML format.