back to article Microsoft roasted for Office 2010 standards FAIL

It will be at least another three years before Office conforms to an international standard for sharing documents with Open Office, a standard that Microsoft pushed hard and that riled Open-Document-Format fans. Microsoft said on Tuesday it will support the "strict" implementation of the Office Open XML spec - officially …


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  1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge


    ...nobody was suprised.

  2. Red Bren
    Gates Horns

    3 years before MS adhere to their own standards?

    I bet Open Office will support it long before then.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Thumb Up


      no contest

      1. The BigYin


        I see the MS astroturfers are hard at work.

    2. g e


      ODF will be broadly adopted in the meantime meaning M$ release an already redundant feature. Ooo/FOSS community will likely use the hiatus as an opportunity to push it, if they have sense, anyway.

      ... and then I woke up.

  3. Joseph Haig

    Nothing new under the sun

    "Microsoft explained the delay to implementing the strict version of 29500 by saying it needed time for customers and partners to transition."

    Wasn't OOXML put on the fast track for being made a standard on the basis that it was already a de facto standard?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fast track for dodgy standards

      No, it wasn't fast-tracke for that reason because OOXML wasn't a de facto standard, the older .doc formats were de facto standards.

      It got fast tracked because it had already been approved by Microsoft's pet standards organisation Ecma. An organisation whose CEO had publicly boasted to its customers that it would pass standards with the minimal amount of oversight and changes to what they submitted.

  4. Roger Greenwood

    Did anybody . . .

    . . really expect MS to do anything else? (Having already railroaded through the "standard" they wanted).

  5. Neil Paterson
    Gates Horns

    Double standards

    see the above..

  6. Nigel Wright

    Well what a surprise!

    Dance with the devil and this is what you get. The ISO <as> well Microshaft should be ashamed of themselves. I think it's probably true to say that many of us open-source fans saw this coming.

    Massive fail.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft explained the delay to implementing the strict version of 29500 by saying it needed time for customers and partners to transition."

    Rearrange these words into a well known phrase or saying... "Bollocks"

    "We have decided to prioritize compatibility and interoperability with existing implementations,"

    Are you on drugs or something?

    "He said OOXML is at a crossroads"

    No its not, its at an open train crossing, there's a heap of burning wreckage with screaming people all over the place and a marketing person crawling out shouting "It's fine! We'll just rename the product!"

    Are you sure this article isn't 7 days late?

  8. Alex Brett


    Unfortunately this is something most people fail to understand - it's why I have to start going in to long explanations to potential customers of why my email2fax service doesn't accept .docx files - even though they may claim to be an ISO approved standard - in reality they're not, and there are no 3rd party libraries that properly implement decoding them!

    1. Absolute Cynic
      Thumb Up

      Good News

      Surely if the new version of Office does not support ODF and does not support OOXML then it does not support any international standard. So governments committed to software that support standards will ban it.

  9. Dazed and Confused

    Freedom of information acts around the world

    So I presume now that all Governments around the world that have freedom on information acts will ban the production of any documentation in any software package that does not confirm to ISO standards and that consequently M$ will be barred from supplying software to all such government agencies, schools ... etc. until they are compliant with their very own personal ISO standard.

    Funny how you can still see the fly pigs even when all the windows are shuttered and it's dark outside.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft's Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will provide partial adherence to the strict version of the spec: It will let Office 2007 users read Office 2010 documents created using the OOXML file formats, but Office 2007 users won't be able to create documents for Office 2010 users."


    "Mahugh was responding after Microsoft was lambasted for failing the standards test on OOXML in Office 2010"

    So Office 2007 users will be able to read Office 2010 documents as long as they fail the standards, while Office 2010 users will be able to save broken documents. Oddly no where does it state if Office 2010 users will be able to view broken documents, perhaps a service pack is needed ?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Correction here please, Mr. Clarke

    Quote from your article : ...Office conforms to an international standard for sharing documents with Open Office, a standard that Microsoft pushed hard and that riled Open-Document-Format fans. End quote.

    It doesn't make sense at all. MS pushing for a document standard for sharing documents with OO and the FOSS is in anger ? Erm, I don't quite think so!

    1. Freddie

      I think

      he was referring to the fact that this new standard annoyed foss fans as it merely duplicated the functionality of odf. It would have been much more straight forward for the foss community if MS had simply adopted odf but MS said that odf lacked features it wanted. Believe who you like on the mis/match of features of odf/ooxml.

    2. blackworx


      There's nothing wrong with the phrasing. It makes sense.

  12. ben_myers
    Jobs Horns

    A steaming pile of horse manure dropped by Micro$oft

    This is yet another steaming pile of horse manure dropped by Micro$oft in its long-standing anti-standards campaign. And it is yet another move to keep Open Office, Google Office and other Office products from gaining market share. They continue to try to kill interoperability between their products and others. This decision adds to the rationale as to why people need to simply leave Microsoft Office behind. ASAP... Ben Myers

    1. Jolyon

      Taken for a Ride? Leave them all behind.

      "This decision adds to the rationale as to why people need to simply leave Microsoft Office behind"


      But for many people MS dragging its heels on this won't be enough to push them into actually making that step.

      And whatever format MS does support will remain a de facto standard as a result keeping the balance on the side of continued MS Office use.

      I can't see any business deciding to move away from the product that is most likely to guarantee them and their documents compatibility with their clients / suppliers / applications.

  13. C 2

    It's Microsoft, anyone expected better?!

    Seriously folks, this is the same company that hasn't been able to squash a bug from Windows 2000, where it sometimes loses the users profile when they log on .. Vista SP2 still carries this around, and it even more frequent.

    But hey! Its SHINY!! It's also crammed to the gills with DRM, and the UI looks to have been designed by a sadistic psychopath.

    Why anyone expects MS Orifice to be any better is beyond me. If you want "standard" skip the garbage from MS. Personally I've been more productive since OpenOffice 3.x came along.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      In other news

      I walked into a local Currys last night (don't ask). Of all the dozens of shiny computers lined up for punters to drool over, only 3 or 4 weren't running win7, and they were the macs. Sadly this is the kind of place most families buy a computer, all paying the microsoft tax, and getting high quality technical advice in the process (copy of office included sir). With marketing muscle like that, MS could drop the FUD and still win $$$

  14. C 2

    29500 is the ...

    year that MS does something right, but by then no one will care.

  15. Geoff Mackenzie

    Does this mean ...

    ... OOXML is a 'standard' with zero implementations at this stage?

    That would be priceless.

    1. Jeff Deacon

      Not only that, but also ...

      The quick route that M$ pushed this through the ISO was on the basis of OOXML already being a "de-facto" standard widely in use.

      Mot only should M$ get shafted for trying this on, the ISO should also suffer for having let M$ abuse their due process so severely.

      Time to get the re-votes that were ridden over roughshod by committee "rules".

  16. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Hoist by their own petard.

    If MS had just stuck with .doc (which world + dog understands) and provided read/write compatibility with OO, everyone would have been happy apart from a few diehard standards nazis.

    By shoving out .docx they've manged to comprehensively piss off just about* everybody. Anyone else as gobsmacked as I am by how long it takes the compatibility addon for Office 2k3 and below to read a .docx? Presumably it does this on its hands and knees, picking up individual characters with its teeth.

    If anyone out there reading this is using a newer Office version, do the world a favour and turn off the "x" format output as it's shit. Thank you.

    * 8 out of 10 chair throwing monkeys, who expressed a preference, said that they thought .docx was great.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Best standards requirement ever.

      "Presumably it does this on its hands and knees, picking up individual characters with its teeth."

      Is that one of the requirements?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      x is good

      While I can concur with the barrage of rants normally directed at MS and Office, I disagree over the .docx (.xlsx etc) files.

      Yes its a pain if you have old version and its a shame the compatibility tools suck although the one I have does it fairly painlessly (faster than opening a .PSD file).

      Compare a .docx file and a .doc file - the x is about 1/3 of the size. Create a .doc in Office 2003, import into 2007 and save as .doc. Small file size.

      Make a template with dynamic content and the .docx gets even more win.

  17. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    short version

    Microsoft, make, doesn’t suck, vacuum cleaner.

    Paris, obvious reason, isn’t it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      RE: short version

      "Microsoft, make, doesn’t suck, vacuum cleaner."

      That would be the first time they'd made something that *didn't* suck!

  18. SynnerCal

    MS= fire, load, buy gun

    TeeCee said:

    "everyone would have been happy apart from a few diehard standards nazis."

    Nope, I'm reasonably sure that offering doc and ODF would have pleased everyone, apart from MS Marketing and El Chair Chucker Grande.

    "if anyone out there reading this is using a newer Office version, do the world a favour and turn off the "x" format output as it's shit."

    Oh, I couldn't agree more and second (third, fourth,...) that recommendation wholeheartedly.

    Glad to see also that I'm not the only one that disparages the docx convertor that MS supply. Some dork sent me a docx last week (unfortunately my employer's are moving to it as a standard) and I fed it into the convertor, which produced a lovely surreal collection of boxes and characters in various fonts. Art? Maybe. Useful? Nope.

    So I fed the same docx into OpenOffice, which gave me a pair of warnings, but seemed to do a very acceptable job of converting into good old .doc. I also tried using a borrowed copy of Office 2007, which worked fine, but produced a .doc that was 4x the size of the source .docx.

    Here's a question - if MS won't properly implement the OOXML "standard" that _they_ were pushing for, then do we really need OOXML as a standard at all? Maybe the folks (govt/businesses) that were pushing for it should stand back and pick something else - like plain old doc and/or ODF?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Gates Horns


      Nope. I'll bet my bum that had they done this there would have been a few openistas at the more shrill end of the spectrum screaming blue murder that they hadn't gone to ODF as the *default* format OOB.

      You know it's true.

      As for the converter, I've never had it do that. Then again, on anything complicated I've usually got bored waiting for the thing to do its stuff, deleted the file and mailed the person wot sent it a request for a version in .doc. Patience is a virtue and I'm just not the virtuous type.

      I was *very* interested to see your results using OO to convert against the "fatter" version kicked out by 2k7. That might just explain AC's "x is good" comment above with the claim of .docx being more efficient. I wonder if MS have deliberately b0rken .doc in 2k7 to push .docx? Say it ain't so.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    ODF was already an ISO standard before MS bought the vote.

    ODF already had implementations and adopters.

    There was no need for a competitor to ODF, anyone could implement it.

    ODF was not perfect, but anyone could have joined the working group and moved the standard forward in a coherent manner.

    Then MS came along, saw that people were moving away from MS Orifice and MS decided to buy votes vie various means and got the abhorrence that is OOXML accpeted as an ISO standard.

    Allowing this was a massive FAIL by the ISO and every man-jack of them should have been dismissed for letting it happen. But anyway...

    So now we have MS "implementing" a standard that really isn't a standard. Business will switch to this non-standard standard and in a few years MS will start slinging the shit about how FOSS can't work with business because they can't work with the quasi-standard.

    The people who get fucked over by this (sorry for the language, but it is appropriate in this case) are the consumers who have to pay higher prices because of MSs bullshit and are further locked in.

    OOXML should be dropped as an ISO standard.

    MS should be told to fully implement ODF or lose government contracts.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    How many MS programmers to change a light bulb?

    Non - they just decide that darkness is a better "standard".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually...'s 2,493 personnel, not just devs.

      400 to design a new bulb socket

      400 to design a new bulb

      420 to help "partners" make the new bulb and sockets

      150 to create various features for the new bulb (such as "auto-on" as soon as you connect it)

      1,000 marketing spivs to explain to the world why the new bulb and socket is so much better and ensure that all light manufacturers world-wide only use the new bulb and face swingeing penalties if they do not.

      100 bloggers and astroturfers to spew crap about how great the new bulb is

      23 lawyers to patent "bulb" and then sue the ass out of anyone using any bulb of any type anywhere in the world.

      No joke icon because it, unfortunately, isn't a joke.

  21. P Saunders
    Paris Hilton

    Lambasted, eh?

    I am sure they felt suitably chastened by the ISO. All the organisation need do now is to berate, dress down, rebuke, reprimand and take to task Microsoft and all will be well.

    Paris, 'cause she I would dress down any day.

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Or ...

      Or ISO and Ecma could revoke the standard...

  22. Magnus_Pym

    "He said OOXML is at a crossroads"

    Is the ISO actually threatening to do something? surely not.

  23. John G Imrie

    Micosoft Announce

    That Office 2010 does not conform to any approved ISO standard.

    Can we now stop our respective governments from using their products?

  24. Absolute Cynic
    Thumb Up

    Good News

    Surely if Office 2010 does not support ODF or OOXML then it will be banned by governments who are committed to software that conforms to international standards.

  25. pandionknight

    B**ll***S that what I said

    I was explaining ODF, OOXML and the shoddy ISO vote to someone only last week. Once again I had to explain to a colleague why they could not open doc files created at home. She had subsequently edited and updated them to docx at work and now her old version of Office at home would not open them.

    This is further proof of how two faced Microsoft really is. How can the ISO be surprised that Microsoft acted in "Bad faith". Shame on the ISO for believing them in the first place.

  26. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    Is MS bothered?


    It will slap "ISO compliant" on its still ridiculously over sized boxes and in corporate presentations when asked about standards compatibility. Box ticked.

    If OpenOffice adds a compatibility option for the *full* standards you *still* won't be able to properly move a document because *now* MS is not fully compatible.

    This is a real win for Microsoft. It gives them potentially another 3 years of customer lockin to their product. I'll be someone at Redmond got a nice bonus for this piece of work.

    I wonder how many people remember to archive a copy of whatever version of Office they were using when they wrote the documents they are archiving? If they don't their whole archive might be unreadable.

    It's my guess that companies that worry about ISO standards compatibility also worry about such matters. They're about to learn a *very* valuable lesson.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not news, and not all.

    For those who've been watching this trainwreck long enough, the only thing notable is the minor tidbit that now some ISO guy is mildly unhappy with micros~1 for not scrambling as fast as they can to implement their own standard as ratified. Had they had any clue they would've known that any committee will meddle with your drafts and thus Things Will Change. Very much fsck you to ISO, btw, for letting this pile of dung stand, and for letting itself be abused so blatantly. It also effectively means that ECMA standards are of very dubious value indeed.

    What I want to know is how ISO is performing now that so many micros~1 shills are on board and, having no clue, aren't voting for other standards. And for that matter, what ISO proposes to do about making itself (more) functional again and less open to blatant abuse.

    But since they can't even admit this was indeed an epic error with global impact, I expect no improvement on that front. In fact, I expect we'll have to live with the damage for the foreseeable future.

  28. Tristan Young

    Transitional? No way!

    I absolutely refuse to support Microsoft's OOXML format. I've been quite successful at avoiding it - it appears no-one in my family or workplace want anything to do with it.

    But I couldn't believe it when I read this article. I knew Microsoft wasn't adhering to their own approved standard, but I thought it was because Microsoft has a long history of inventing new ways of doing the same thing - transitional makes it sound like this is planned.

    This will fragment the archives of documents users have composed and maintained under the illusion that their investment is well protected.

    I stand behind my decision to convert to Openoffice. Openofice has received more updates in the last 2 years than Microsoft Office, and it supports the one standard that really matters to me - a non-Microsoft drafted standard.

    Of all the idiotic moves Microsoft could have made, this one is really dumb. Microsoft deserves to fail.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OOXML at a crossroads

    and the name of Microsoft invoked? I'd have thought a pentagram would have been more likely, seeing as how they're so uncool at M$ it can't possibly have been where Robert Johnson got his talent.

  30. Piro

    Oh Microsoft

    This is absolutely retarded. YOU came up with the standard, and then violated it. No wonder Internet Explorer will never be usable, seeing as you have to follow others, and you can't follow your own...

    Beer? Because I need one after reading this

  31. Simon Westerby 1

    Should rename OOXML to OOPSML

    Title says it all..

  32. tom 24

    Or in other words...

    Force an inferior, overly-complex standard on the world, and then don't bother to support it? Business as usual for our friends at Microsoft.

  33. Doc Spock

    ISO Certification

    In the same way that electronics require BSi / CE / FCC certification before they can legally be sold (to ensure a number of things, including suitability for use in a heterogeneous environment), is it too much to ask that word processors MUST adhere to the current ISO document standard (i.e. the strict version of ISO 29500) to be sold legally?

    This would prevent anyone, not just MS, from releasing word processing software that is not inter-operable with all other modern word processor packages.**

    Please tell me this is not just some utopian pipe-dream?

    **of course, were the market truly open and competitive, this would happen as a result of natural market forces (i.e., the only way to compete is to be inter-operable with existing products, not just inter-operable with whatever half-baked draft spec MS are using in Office this time around),

  34. BlueGreen

    Refs to the blogs

    From Doug Mahugh's (the microsoft drone) blog <>: "There has been some interest expressed lately regarding how soon Microsoft Office will offer full read/write support for the Strict conformance class of ISO/IEC 29500."

    The word 'interest' links to Alex Brown's (the standards dude) blog <>, headed "Microsoft Fails the Standards Test".

    The former is putrid reality-spinning PR crap, the latter is a rather measured look at how the standards body sees it and is worth a read (fairly short and clear). They credibly conclude that MS is basically shafting itself by this.

    Anyway, had time to follow this as I've been chasing down a bug in sql server 2008 related to views. Thanks MS. You had a solid DB in sql 2000, and you've rolled back a whole long way with 2008. Hint to management: Working beats Cool any day. That's my blood on the cutting edge.

  35. BigRedS
    IT Angle

    In other news

    Bear defecates on tree

    IE doesn't comply with HTML standards

    Pope admits 'catholic tendencies'

    Seriously, this was so inevitable to make any reporting on the topic irrelevant. I don't think even whatever MS's equivalent of the Linux Zealot ever genuinely believed MS would cut off their Office incompatibility revenue stream.

    Why is this news, and what's happened recently for everyone to suddenly start talking about it?

  36. Marcus Aurelius

    And in other news

    After discovering that Microsoft doesn't live up to its promises, Alex Brown makes the amazing discoveries that the Pope is a Catholic and bears do shit in woods.

  37. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    Jobs Horns


    "We have decided to prioritize compatibility and interoperability with existing implementations,"

    This is a lie, as Philip Clarke says above, Office 2007 presumably already needed patches to read what 2010 produces, this was not a valid reason to make 2010 continue to produce gratuitously non-compliant files. In reality, Microsoft wanted to ram through OOXML as a "standard", they got it pushed through, and now that they did they don't care if they follow it or not -- they will lie and say they implement a standard and some people (who want to follow standards) will believe it.

    1. smooth1x

      RE: Non-standard

      Sigh...another file convertor to tack on to the front of Open Office.

  38. Cyfaill

    The ISO was suckerpunched by Micro$soft

    Microsoft Corporation is an old pro at despicable tactics to destroy any usable standards that actually promote compatible productivity.

    The ISO should have been aware, so I don't feel any compassion for them... They Failed to do what their mandate of purpose should have been.

    Microsoft did what was expected of them by the very ugly truth of the entirety of their history.

    Sadly it is the greater world full of of unsuspecting gullible normal people who pay Billions of Dollars and hundreds of lost "Man Years" of effort trying recollect time and effort through non compatible and ephemeral, by design, document tools from Microsoft.

    Don't you (the ISO) get it by now... You have been had, old sport.

    The ISO reputation is soiled... And in the background Microsoft's rulers laugh.

    USE ODF... Long time productivity and authentic compatibility is the goal.

    Or pay the hoods at Microsoft for another moment of readability of documents they own by possession of the closed tools Microsoft owns. They, not you, own your own works.

  39. asdf

    ISO are such p_ssies

    <weenie voice> Microsoft you giant powerful multinational you better respect our authority or else .. else we will taunt you in a press release again</weenie voice> LMAO M$ exposes ISO for the worthless irrelevant joke bureaucracy geek club from the very beginning of this process. If the EU was smart they would treat ISO as just another worthless trade organization worth ignoring.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    They just lost the government market...

    Oke that't too bad for MS then. The Dutch government requires every governmental organization to use .odf and other open standards since 2009. This is not just a simple request, this is a law, period.

    So by making such a big deal out of implementing open standards^, Microsoft' share holders are loosing A LOT of money (well in the Dutch market anyway). By the year that Microsoft will have support for *a open standard*, there won't be any Dutch government organisation left that will even consider paying for MS Office. The irony is that they all will have been forced by this Microsoft action to switch to alternatives!

    Really bad strategy this. They could have prolonged their grip on the market by implementing open standards yet they choose to collide with the will of the people. I almost feel sorry for them.

    (^for no other reason then their misplaced religious war against anything open. I guess the new guy already failed : )

  41. Eldnah
    Gates Horns

    ODF supporters are not just FOSS folk

    >> ODF, which humanity - well, the open-source industry and its supporters - had lined up behind.

    Um, not just the open-source industry and supporters. Try national governments able to think for themselves and concerned with accessibility of archives far into the future. Ever try opening a 10 or 15 year old MS Word document with today's version? Good luck and have fun! Now imagine needing to open that Word document some century or two from now. You get the picture.

    [Tip: take that old Word file and open it in OpenOffice. You're welcome.]

  42. gratou

    Listen ISO, it's easy...

    No one is willing to use or comply with OOXML, not even its lone proponent, so remove OOXML from the ISO list. Done!

    1. kissingthecarpet
      Gates Horns

      Even if

      they won't remove it, they surely could suspend it or similar. The whole OOXML affair has to be one of the most pathetically obvious MS dodgy schemes they've ever hatched. The mob who run the Office business unit are still on the EEE's * it appears

      * Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

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