Chinese academics and software developers gathered in Beijing
yesterday to voice their opposition to Microsoft's latest standard
document format Office Open XML (OOXML).
Major software developers, academics and industry associations
spoke out against Microsoft's "monopoly" on the format of digital
Document format refers to how a digital file is coded.
Microsoft's document formats - such as .doc, .xls and .ppt -
have been widely used all over the world since the company first
began its dominance in the 1990s.
Its document format has helped it to unprecedented success,
setting a formidable barrier for other software companies, who must
make Microsoft-compatible products and cannot access the core code
of the format.
"Microsoft's move to make its OOXML format the international
standard is an extension of its goal to maintain its monopoly in
the world's software market," said Ni Guangnan, an academic from
the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
"We are calling on the government to veto the OOXML format at
the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)."
The OOXML format is a file specification released by Microsoft
in December last year for its Microsoft Office 2007 suite.
It is currently in a fast track standardization process with the
ISO and will be subject to voting next month.
Unlike the current ISO digital document standard ODF (Open
Document Format) and China's national standard UDF (Unified Office
Document Format), Microsoft's OOXML format can only be run on a
Windows platform. It is also criticized for containing many
proprietary technologies that can only be fully supported by
Microsoft's Office products.
Over the past few months, Microsoft has been campaigning to get
the new format approved as an ISO standard. It claims there are
thousands of software companies in China that can support the
Ni wrote a public letter to Chinese media on July 17
opposing the new format.
Microsoft did not respond to Ni's letter until July 31, when Tim
Chen, senior vice-president of Microsoft and chairman and CEO of
its China operation, said the accusation was "unfair".
"We are promoting the new format in response to our users'
needs," he said.
(China Daily August 7, 2007)