OOXML, ODF, standards and innovation: Steve Ballmer

Here is an interesting video from a conference Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) gave at Sciences Po, my university, in October 2007. My friend Pierre Slamich, who is also responsible for our association “Digital Freedom” asked Steve Ballmer about the future of OOXML since its failure to be accepted as an international standard in the first place.

You can download the video in Ogg/Theora.

Pierre: “Microsoft-Office”Open”XML (MS-OOXML)* was recently dismissed as an international standard, so what will Microsoft do about this? Will you merge it with the OpenDocument Format(ODF) standard or maintain two standards on the market place?”

Steve Ballmer: “Well, MS-OOXML is an international standard, it is an European standard actually […] The truth is, We don’t control MS-OOXML anymore, it is now controlled by the European Computer Manufacturer Association (ECMA) so whether it gets merged will be largely in function of how the standardisation organizations want to move forward. […] [ODF and MS-OOXML] do interoperate at some level of fidelity. We are encouraging people to take a pluralistic view of this.

Otherwise what will happen is: we don’t want standards to be the enemy of innovation.”

* funny to see how Pierre has troubles to say Office “Open”…because MS-OOXML is all but an open standard! For some more information about how Microsoft standard is “open” you can see this comparison with ODF.

I always like it when Microsoft talks about “innovation.” See this article from Georg Greve, Microsoft, Antitrust and innovation on Groklaw.