Document Standards : MS Open Office XML versus ODF

The Burton Group, a premier IT industry analyst firm, has released a detailed independent research (i.e. without any financial support from MS) concerning the debate around document standardization between OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Ecma 376 Office Open XML (OOXML) supported by Microsoft (included in Office2007).

The report tries to formulate an answer around the following key questions:

1. How well does ODF match complex real-world enterprise requirements?

2. Given the relation between Sun/Open Office/ODF, how independent is ODF from Sun, even being an ISO standard?

3. Will other ODF consortium members follow Sun or take another road?

4. ODF: open standard with a political agenda?

Globally the report comes to conclusions that very much values the approach taken by MS with Office Open XML as is shown by the following extract:

“ODF is insufficient for complex real-world enterprise requirements, and it is indirectly controlled by Sun Microsystems, despite also being an ISO standard. It’s possible that IBM, Novell, and other vendors may be able to put ODF on a more customer-oriented trajectory in the future and more completely integrate it with the W3C content model, but for now ODF should be seen as more of an anti-Microsoft political statement than an objective technology selection.”

The full report can be read here.