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What Does the Microsoft ODF Converter Mean? 177

Andy Updegrove writes "It's been a week now since Microsoft announced its ODF/Office open source converter project - time enough for 183 on-line stories to be written, as well as hundreds of blog entries (one expects) and untold numbers of appended comments. Lest all that virtual ink fade silently into obscurity, it seems like a good time to look back and try to figure out what it all means. In this entry, I report on a long chat with Microsoft's Director of Standards Affairs Jason Matusow, and match up his responses with the official messaging in the converter press release. The result is a picture of a continuing, if slow and jerky, evolution within Microsoft as those that recognize market demands for more openness debate those that want to follow the old way. This internal divide means that the proponents of change need to point to real market threats in order to justify incremental changes. This adaptation by reaction process leaves Microsoft still lagging the market, but has allowed those that favor a more open approach to gradually turn the battle ship a few degrees at a time."

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