Tuesday, September 23, 2008

IBM May Quit Technology Standards Bodies - WSJ.com [+ a related Oracle OpenWorld observation]

Somehow I don't think that would help to advance substantive standards... 

International Business Machines Corp. will review its membership in the bodies that set common standards for the technology industry and may withdraw from some, potentially undermining the system that makes electronic equipment and software interoperable world-wide.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based computer maker is expected to announce the review Tuesday, according to company officials. IBM has become frustrated by what it considers opaque processes and poor decision-making at some of the hundreds of bodies that set technical standards for everything from data-storage systems to programming languages, those officials said.

A recent battle over the selection as an international standard of the file format used in Microsoft Corp.'s Office software suite appears to have influenced IBM's decision. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., won that contest in April when its Open XML format was approved by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, or ISO.

Meanwhile, I'm still at Oracle OpenWorld, where there will reportedly be a total of 1,830 presentation sessions this week.  Of the ones I've seen so far -- obviously not a statistically significant sample size, but including the keynotes yesterday and today -- I haven't seen a single reference to OpenOffice.org or ODF (and sessions searches for "OpenOffice", "ODF", and "Open Document Format" return no results). 

All of the OpenWorld presentations I've seen have been in PowerPoint -- mostly PowerPoint 2007 -- and I've also seen several demos of Oracle products leveraging the Office 2007 add-in capabilities for contextual business intelligence, content management, and collaboration. 

Quite a contrast to IBM's strategy in this context.

IBM May Quit Technology Standards Bodies - WSJ.com

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