The world's fastest-growing economies reject Microsoft

Microsoft tried to get its new OOXML file format standard ratified by India and Brazil. It failed. Now what?

First it was China. Now India and Brazil. The rout of Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) standardization efforts is now essentially complete. When the world's fastest growing economies reject Microsoft, Microsoft has a problem.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about India's and Brazil's separate rejections of Microsoft's attempts to standardize its Open Office XML. Microsoft is holding out hope that if it resolves all 200 of India's complaints with its submission, it will have OOXML approved.

Yes, but this largely misses the point.

If Microsoft resolves all those concerns, no one (including the Open Document Format camp) will have a problem with it. Microsoft doesn't seem to grok that true openness breeds trust. If it were submitting a truly open standard, it wouldn't matter what anyone thought of the company submitting it .

It looks like Microsoft's days of rolling over opposition with a superior lobbying budget and the lack of clear alternatives is over. It might actually have to play nicely now with the other children. Imagine that.

Of course, it is hedging its file-format lock-in with its content-"process" lock-in . That's called Sharepoint. You probably already use it. You should reconsider. Now.

Full-disclosure: I compete with Sharepoint. So do you. You just don't realize it yet.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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