The OpenDocument web site is not longer accepting new posts. Information on this page is preserved for legacy purposes only. For current information on ODF, please see the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee. ODF vs. OOXML and the Future of the Great Powers of IT

Superficially, the conflict between ODF and OOXML would seem to be a classic, if more than usually hard-fought standards war. In fact, it's simply a skirmish in a far broader conflict being played out across an IT landscape that is undergoing fundamental change.

Great companies, like great national powers, compete aggressively — not for territory and resources, but for customers and cash. Just as countries fall into hierarchies of power and alliances for long periods of time based upon their respective advantages at the beginning of such periods, or the outcome of wars, multinational corporations often succeed in establishing themselves in power positions that must be jealously defended. In both cases, the factors upon which dominant positions were originally established inevitably change even as their competitors become increasingly determined to supplant the incumbents. Today, the information technology (IT) marketplace may be on the verge of a fundamental reordering of its "Great Powers" as new technologies (e.g., Software as a Service) and new strategies alter the landscape upon which Microsoft's dominance has to date been based. This article examines the conflict being waged between Microsoft and its commercial rivals over document format standards, attempting to examine the underlying forces, motivations, strategies, and possible outcomes that this contentious standards war helps reveal.

Read the complete article by Andrew Updegrove in Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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