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7/19/2007
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Microsoft Faces Petition To Defeat Office 2007 Standard

The Foundation For Free Infrastructure Information claims more than 20,000 individuals have signed its petition.

A group headed by a European patent-reform activist has launched an online petition that aims to defeat Microsoft's attempt to have a new file format used in Office 2007 applications approved as a standard.

The Foundation For Free Infrastructure Information has launched a Web site to capture signatures for its petition, which seeks to block the ratification of Microsoft's Office Open XML format by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The FFII calls OOXML a "broken standard" and lists a number of objections on its site: www.NoOOXML.org.

Among its arguments: The Open Document Format has already been established as the standard for office documents; Office 2007 produces a file format that's different from what's described by the OOXML specification published by Microsoft; there's no guarantee that developers can write software that implements OOXML without being liable for patent lawsuits or fees imposed by Microsoft; and there's a bug in OOXML's spreadsheet format that forbids any date before the year 1900.

FFII's president is Pieter Hintjens, a Belgian software developer and patent-reform activist who has his own Wikipedia entry. FFII claims more than 20,000 individuals have signed the petition to date.

OOXML is under consideration for "fast track" approval by the ISO, and the group is expected to make a decision on whether to sign off on the format as a standard later this year.

Microsoft has argued that publishing OOXML as a standard will benefit business users. Among other things, it will result in the emergence of more robust document storage and management tools for Office from third parties, according to Microsoft.

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