Re: "improve import and export compatibility with Microsoft Office"
I don't blame Microsoft for coming up with their own format. To quote Joel Spolsky, "A file format is a concise summary of all the features an application supports [...] They have to reflect all the complexity of the applications. Every checkbox, every formatting option, and every feature in Microsoft Office has to be represented in file formats somewhere. That checkbox in Word’s paragraph menu called “Keep With Next” that causes a paragraph to be moved to the next page if necessary so that it’s on the same page as the paragraph after it? That has to be in the file format."
Microsoft would never, ever allow a standards committee to decide the makeup of Microsoft Office's default editable formats, because then they are locked out of adding new features to Microsoft Office. If an open format becomes mandatory, they will immediately extend it (they are kind of doing that with ODF). Just like Adobe will never, ever allow a standards committee to decide the makeup of PSD. They are fine with committees deciding on "export" formats such as PDF and JPG respectively (where things can be flattened into a bitmap and fixed in place), but not with the editable format.
Where Microsoft gets the blame is for not giving us a clear spec. Yes, I agree, that was a calculated move to lock out competitors, and shame on ISO for approving their horrible spec.