It is not very often Microsoft releases statements on related news happenings, but this is clearly a strong hit for the company. The UK government’s decision to adopt the ODF format, instead of Microsoft’s own OpenXML standard.
Read up on all the details here.
But long story short, all ministries and departments in the UK are now essentially free to step away from Microsoft software, and choose the productivity suite that they feel better address their needs.
A Redmond spokesperson quickly released a statement saying that the company is still unsure of how exactly users would benefit from this new development, as Microsoft Office suite already works with the ODF standard.
Office 2013 and Office 365, both:
“Microsoft believes it is unproven and unclear how UK citizens will benefit from the government’s decision. We actively support a broad range of open standards, which is why (like Adobe has with the PDF file format) we now collaborate with many contributors to maintain the Open XML file format through independent and international standards bodies.”
At the same time, Microsoft agrees with offering end users more choices, as this leads to increased competition, which in turn results in the creation of better products.
It might take a few years for the consequences of this decision to be accurately gauged, but there is no denying the importance of this step. What remains to be seen is whether other governments or organizations follow suit in supporting the open standard.