Lagging behind ODF, OOXML begs for love
Departments which rely on the assumption that OOXML will meet their standard requirements should no longer hold their breath. Judging by the way things are handled in the ISO — no matter how futile its role has become — things could carry on for quote some time.
The final fate of OOXML will not be decided at the  meeting, just the production of a disposition of comments report. After that, and this is where it gets funky, the original voting countries will have 30 days to decide if they want to change their votes from what they cast this last summer. So expect the supporter(s) of OOXML to go all out in March to try to get the many NO votes to become ABSTAINs or YESes.
That said, I really expect this thing to drag out for a long, long time through 2008.
With countries like Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, and the Netherlands choosing ODF, time may be running out for OOXML to snatch a chair. Even Germany is leaning towards ODF, as we pointed out yesterday. Let’s not forget Russia. Wikipedia should have a fairly up-to-date list.
You may still be able to recall the mess that was observed back in September. People were bribed by Microsoft, people were lied to by Microsoft, and Microsoft was swinging votes by phoning top-tier diplomats. At the end, upon a miserable defeat, Microsoft unleashed a very dishonest press release in order to confuse everyone. This wasn’t the first time, either. Mary Jo Foley, a long-time Microsoft watcher, said that Microsoft deserved this defeat.
InformationWeek, whose gross bias we pointed out before, has an article about less-known products that challenge Microsoft Office, along with OOXML [via Bob Sutor].
When Microsoft completely redesigned Office 2007, rendering it completely unfamiliar to even the most experienced users, it opened a door for a number of alternatives — some of them online. And while Google and Zoho are the names that most people are familiar with when it comes to online office applications (check out our review Google Vs. Zoho: Can Either Replace Microsoft Office?), there are other — perhaps better — services out there.
As a side note, never forget why Novell actually implements OOXML translators, which are a form of OOXML endorsement that will never bear fruit for Novell. Novell was paid by Microsoft (very handsomely in fact) to serve Microsoft’s agenda in this fashion.