Today we announced that we are putting forward the Office Open XML document format to Ecma with the intention of making the formats an ISO standard.

The official press release: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2005/nov05/11-21Ecma.mspx

Brian Jones, a program manager in the Office team has a great write-up on his blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/11/21/495466.aspx

I think one of the key comments is around what this means to open source developers: (from the press release)

Finally, Office Open XML is open because the license for Office Open XML is open to anyone. We are expanding the language of the current royalty-free license to specifically enable developers who work only with open source licensing to also be able to work with Office Open XML. This will enable any customer or technology provider to use the file formats in its own systems without financial consideration to Microsoft.

And this: (from Brian Jones)

I'm not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this "covenant not to sue" looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks.

As someone who talks to the open source community this should help clear the way for broader adoption.

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