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Subject: Gartner's First Take on ISO's Approval of OpenDocument

FYI, Gartner published the following First Take report last Friday.
(It's available online from http://www.gartner.com/ as Document
#G00140101.) Although we provided Gartner with a fact-check (which
included an accurate list of TC members), they apparently did not accept
all our suggested edits. I'm looking into this with Rita now.



ISO Approval of OASIS OpenDocument Is a Blow to Microsoft  
12 May 2006
Rita E. Knox   Michael A. Silver   

International standards bodies' unanimous approval of ISO/IEC 26300
moves OASIS OpenDocument Format to being the official XML document
format. It is now unlikely that ISO will adopt Microsoft's Open XML
document format.

On 8 May 2006, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) approved the
OpenDocument Format (ODF) for release as ISO/IEC 26300. ODF, an
XML-defined specification created by OpenOffice.org and developed by the
Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards
(OASIS), aims to enable different applications to exchange documents.

This validates the OASIS technical committee's nearly four-year effort
(led by Sun Microsystems, and including Adobe Systems, IBM and
Textuality) to develop an XML representation for document formats such
as text files and spreadsheets. From the outset, we predicted that
Microsoft would face greater competition if OASIS succeeded (see "XML
Content Standard Could Challenge Microsoft"). Government agencies
worldwide are increasingly seeking document format compatibility among
users who don't have access to common applications, particularly
Microsoft Office applications. 

ODF opens up opportunities for new products - for example, users could
create integrated "composite" documents using text, graphics or
spreadsheet elements, without shifting between applications.
Applications and suites that support ODF include Google's Writely, IBM
Workplace and Sun's OpenOffice and StarOffice. By 2010, ODF document
exchange will be required by 50 percent of government and 20 percent of
commercial organizations (0.7 probability).

The future of Microsoft's proposed Open XML format is unclear. Microsoft
only submitted this format for the European Computer Manufacturers
Association's (Ecma's) approval in late 2005, after Massachusetts
mandated that agencies use ODF for office productivity documents. Until
Massachusetts' decision, Microsoft seemed to ignore growing support for
ODF. Microsoft plans to submit its XML format to ISO after Ecma
approval. But ISO will not approve multiple XML document formats

Users: Recognize that you eventually will be saving your office product
data in an XML-based format. Users that need ODF support today or need
to comply with ISO standards should explore applications that support
ODF. These applications may be cheaper to acquire, and enable different
functionality, but the migration will not be inexpensive and will
involve compatibility issues when exchanging documents with Microsoft
Office users. If you need compatibility with Microsoft Office formats or
cannot cost justify a migration, lobby Microsoft to support ODF and look
for plug-ins that allow you to open and save ODF files from within
Microsoft applications. 

Vendors supporting any application using document formats that deliver
content to people: Seek opportunities to leverage ODF, particularly
"mash-up" approaches to content creation and sharing. 
Analytical Sources: Rita Knox and Michael Silver, Gartner Research

 Recommended Reading

 "Use XML to Structure and Manage Content" - XML is becoming the tool
that knowledge workers use to structure content and ensure semantic
consistency throughout the enterprise. By Rita Knox "Office Software
Battle Moves to Open-Source Theater" - We don't believe that Microsoft
Office will be replaced, but it will likely decline in importance as
users spend time in other productivity applications. By Michael Silver,
Rita Knox and others (You may need to sign in or be a Gartner client to
access the documents referenced in this First Take.) 

Carol Geyer
Director of Communications
Voice: +1.978.667.5115 x209

OASIS Symposium: The Meaning of Interoperability, 9-12 May, San
Francisco http://www.oasis-open.org/events/symposium_2006/

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