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BECTA and OOXML

A week or so ago BECTA referred it's interoperability complaint against Microsoft to the EU Commission. The EU is taking the this referral and adding it to the evidence pile against Microsoft. I do wonder though how much the Interoperability complaint is actually Microsoft's problem. If Office 2007 is able to open Open Office documents and save to the same format then surely it passes interoperability with the Open Office suite. I get the impression from what I've read however that Microsoft is being held accountable for other office suites not being able to open OOXML documents. This is surely a complaint against the other vendors and not against Microsoft. If the documentation on OOXML is available then there shouldn't be a problem. This just seems to be BECTA jumping on the EU Commission bandwagon.

When I asked BECTA whether the complaint against Microsoft should actually be directed at the other vendors now that OOXML is an ISO standard format they replied:



The extent to which OOXML is sufficiently open to allow effective competiton is one of the issues that are the subject of ongoing investigation by the European Commission.

Once the results of the Commission´s deliberations are known we will, if necessary, update our advice on OOXML.



Let's hope the EU makes the right decision this time and forces the other vendors to catch up to the high standard of the Microsoft Office suite rather than trying to drag office down to their level.

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