For those that consider Microsoft was seriously asked to participate I will show you the OASIS document asking other parties in OASIS participate just to you show how that suggestion is totally wrong:
Look at the name of the committee then in November 2002.
"Open Office XML TC"
Notice that the name was later changed to Open Document to lose the obvious connection to OpenOffice in the name of the format.
Also from that call to participate so even before the TC starts:
"Since the OpenOffice.org XML format specification meets these criteria and has proven its value in real life, this TC will use it as the basis for its work.
Sun Microsystems intends to contribute the OpenOffice.org XML Format to this TC at the first meeting of the TC, under reciprocal Royalty Free terms."
So a set of preset criteria matching the OOo format specs and Sun contributing that format to the OASIS committee 1 month before the start of the committee. Yes, that is extremely open way to ensure that this TC only ever was about the OOo format
Also the call to participate already contains a full members suggestion list with four Sun employees in the proposed committee but of course no-one of market leader Microsoft.
Does this look like a committee that Microsoft could have ever joined or if anybody seriously wanted them to ? No, of course not.
This was before governments for instance in Massachusetts suggested open formats might be required for governments and also before the EU suggested ISO standardisation.
This was at a time when OpenOffice was looking for interoperability amongst OSS. Interoperability with MS Office was even left behind from the first meeting of the TC:
"The TC agreed that transformability into potential Microsoft office XML formats could be sensible, but is not a formal requirement."
Not that I want to state that Microsoft would have been easily persuaded to participate to such a document standardisation process. There was only limited reason for Microsoft to use a standardised format in MS Office as nobody was really demanding it and as at the time they were already well on their way to making their own XML based format for MS Office. That format was already shown two years earlier in august 2000 in an Office XP beta that contained a early version of SpreadsheetML which is currently still a part of Ecma Office Open XML.
So the OASIS effort by Sun and other OpenOffice supporters might in 2002 also be seen as an answer to the Microsoft XML formats that were starting to come out of MS Office and might become commonplace as they are now with the introduction of default XML formats in Office 2007.
For Microsoft to participate in a standardisation process it would have required a least the following 3 things.
- Firstly a need to standardize the format, like pressure from governments or their customers. I think that the transfer to the MS Office XML formats starting in 2000 already showed a slight move toward their customers in opening up data in their binary format to a more readable format but probably no need for formal standardization was considered or even asked for at that time.
- Secondly the format would need good backwards compatibility with the billions of existing MS Office documents. It would be very hard to push trough an Office product that did not have backwards compatibility written all over it.
- Thirdly it would need to support MS Office functionality as much as possible without immediately extending the format.
Seriously, Microsoft participation on the "Open Office XML TC" was never going to happen based on a short term particpation call for a TC working that pre-decided on OpenOffice and was dominated by a competitor.
People suggesting otherwise, that Microsoft actually could have participated on such a venture are just bullshitting their audience.