ECMA approves Office Open XML as a standard - MS Office becomes standards compliant

ECMA has approved Office Open XML as a standard. This means that all the MS Office products (2007 product line) are now standards compatible. Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress have worked together as part of a cross-industry collaborative effort. Further, ECMA will submit the standard to ISO for potential fast-track certification. Corel and Novell have already announced to create products on the same standard.

so what is being shared here?

Source Code of Office applications - NO

Format of Office formats - YES

Is the current .docx etc Open XML (ODF): No

Can one get an ODF file from MS Office files: YES (via addin)

The format documentation is extremely detailed, with over 6,000 pages of specifications and samples. Developers can create applications that can interoperate with Open XML with high fidelity across different types of applications and usage.

here are some links for more information:

IBM was the only vote against approval of the standard. Here's a link to where IBM's Bob Sutor tries to explain their reasons for the negative vote:

In an eWeek article entitled "Microsoft Hits Back at Its OpenXML Critics" Microsoft's Alan Yates rebuts Sutor's points here:,1895,2070078,00.asp

Adobe has been also pumping up the volume on the Open document formats with MARS. The Mars (code name) Project is an XML-friendly implementation of PDF syntax. Already an open specification, PDF is the global standard for trusted, high fidelity electronic documentation. The Mars file format incorporates additional industry standards such as SVG, PNG, JPG, JPG2000, OpenType, Xpath and XML into ZIP-based document container. The Mars plug-ins enable recognition of the Mars file format by Adobe Acrobat 8 and Adobe Reader 8 software.


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