Microsoft to Standardize Office Formats

Microsoft intends to submit Office file formats to the European standards body ECMA International, a move the company hopes will allay concerns over the company's level of control over document formats.

The company, which dominates the market for desktop productivity software, plans to hand over the technical specifications of Office 12 file formats to ECMA early next month. The technical committee is also being sponsored by Intel, Apple, NextPage and some European customers, including BP and the British Library.

The creation of a fully documented standard submission derived from the formats, called Microsoft Office Open XML, will likely take about a year, Microsoft executives said. Once Microsoft Office Open XML is recognized as an ECMA standard, the group of companies then intends to pursue standardization at ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, which is particularly influential among government customers.

News source: C|Net News.com

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