MS: 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.

When OOXML was before the Ecma International standardization body, IBM was the only member to vote against it. It again was the only 'no' vote when Ecma decided to send the document format to ISO.

Microsoft said IBM has "led a global campaign" to prevent OOXML from being considered for ISO standardization on the basis that ODF has already received it. It also noted that the company's Lotus Notes product only supports the ODF standard.

Allowing IBM to be successful could prove damaging to the standards process, Microsoft contends. It could create a situation where the first technology to receive the ISO stamp could block competing technologies from gaining similar certification.

"We have listened to our customers," Microsoft wrote. "They want choice. They want interoperability. They want innovation. We and others believe that Open XML achieves all these goals, and we look forward to supporting Ecma as it works positively with national standards bodies throughout the ISO/IEC process."

IBM has declined to comment.

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