IBM piles on Microsoft's open document defeat

ODF supporter commits developers, plans changes to Notes as part of first major backing of OpenOffice.org

Eunice, however, says not to count Microsoft out. While OOXML failed last week's ISO vote, another vote is in the offing after a special ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting Feb. 25-29, 2008.

"IBM coming to the table is extremely good news for ODF," Eunice says. "They have been behind ODF, but it is good news for implementation." He says it also will jumpstart the pace of improvements. "I'm not sure the OpenOffice.org applications will look that much different in a year, but the pace of releases and the depth of improvements per release should improve fairly markedly. Code quality, testing, those things also go up," he says.

Eunice says OpenOffice.org, however, will need to improve the organization among its many divergent development communities.

Andy Updegrove, a lawyer, Linux Foundation board member, and citizen crusader against the Massachusetts decision to adopt OOXML, wrote in his blog that IBM's commitment is a welcomed development. "The news is significant principally because the ability of ODF-compliant software to meet end-user, and especially enterprise end-user, needs has arguably lagged the success of the ODF standard itself to achieve credibility in the marketplace," Updegrove wrote.

"Whatever the reasons may have been that have kept Sun and IBM from working together to support OpenOffice over the past four years more fully, the reality is that a chance to break an industry monopoly that generates US$15 billion in revenues a year comes only once in a generation -- when it comes at all. This is no time for either vendor to let the differences of the past prevent them from seizing the historic opportunities of the future."

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John Fontana

Network World

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