Friday, April 2, 2010

Microsoft fails the standards test

There's an interesting post over at Alex Brown's blog: Microsoft Fails the Standards Test. Alex discusses the Microsoft Office Open XML ("OOXML") file format in the forthcoming Office 2010 suite. In brief, Microsoft promised that Office 2010 would implement the ISO-approved standard for Open XML - that is the "Strict" version. Alex responds:

On this count Microsoft seems set for failure. In its pre-release form Office 2010 supports not the approved Strict variant of OOXML, but the very format the global community rejected in September 2007, and subsequently marked as not for use in new documents – the Transitional variant. Microsoft are behaving as if the JTC 1 standardisation process never happened, and using technologies (like VML) in a new product which even the text of the Standard itself describes as “deprecated” and “included […] for legacy reasons only” (see ISO/IEC 29500-1:2008, clause M.5.1).


  1. Obviously, Microsoft sees itself as a legacy company. Obviously.

  2. I don't think Microsoft care if they meet standards.
    They will sell Office 2010, people will buy it, and they will save files.
    Other people who have also got Office 2010 will be able to open these files. That is all that Microsoft will care about. Their product will 'work' for the 95% of users, and it will look great, new and shiney.

  3. There was never an intention to create a genuine standard. The MSOOXML ISO "standard" is so full of defects that a competent standards committee would never have approved it. MS stacked and otherwise influenced the various committees to pass that garbage as a standard. MS only wanted the brand "standard" to fight off ODF at the time. Obviously maintaining the facade of a standard is no longer a terribly hight priority at MS. Now even if MS had adhered to what's printed, vendor lock-in would still be guaranteed due to the defects of this pretentious "standard". My opinion is that MSOOXML should be stricken off the records of the ISO.


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