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?

Tech Culture

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.

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