OpenXML again

It is painful reading the comments at Rod Drury > Open XML Crunch Time.

Robert O’Callahan has a useful comparison to the HTML standard.

Ignore the usually stupid naming call on both sides. Over and over, we have the same:

  1. Business case – Many billion documents in the old format.
  2. Business case – Cost to move away from Office
  3. Technical case – What happens to innovation?


  1. Business case – The future is not dependent on the past in this situation.
  2. Business case – Why should a ISO standard justify _your_ potential OOXML business model?
  3. Techical case – What happened to making it work?

Some of it seems to be what hear about at global whaling conference.


  1. Rob Said,

    August 27, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

    > Business case – Many billion documents in the old format.

    I don’t understand this. Nobody is going to convert billions of documents into the “new” format, so the .doc binaries are here to stay for most existing documents.

    But we can *move on* and create new documents with a good quality standard. It’s not like MS Office has a good backwards-compatibility record to start with!

  2. stateless Said,

    August 27, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

    That is exact the point.

    Any document standard will not be defined by what exists now, regardless of how much it is embedded in to culture. DOC will never be an ISO standard.

    However, many in the pro OOXML camp are using this as a reason to claim that OOXML should be a standard.

    They are confusing the market position of Microsoft with the needs of a document standard. Thinking that just because there are a billion plus DOC files out there, that Microsoft will make a better DOC 2.0.

    Of course there is probably the other aspect with some people expecting to make money of the transition from DOC to an ISO standard. Given existing partnerships with Microsoft they expect they will have an easier time holding on to their existing markets as well.

    None of this is justification for accepting OOXML as an ISO standard.

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