IBM is hijacking the debate over document standards to promote its desktop suites while refusing to look at the merits of each standard, according to Microsoft's general manager of interoperability and standards Tom Robertson.
"IBM does not want Open XML to be standardised. It does not want an alternative to be out there," Robertson told vnunet.com in an interview.
"It wants to drive usage to ODF in the marketplace, including by supporting government mandates. We think that is an effort to limit choice for IBM's competitive advantage."
IBM and other ODF backers have been lobbying governments to gather support for the standard.
Robertson cited the launch of IBM's Open Client Solution earlier this week as evidence. Open Client Solution offers a single suite of common applications across both Windows and Linux systems.
IBM touted the software as a way to end vendor lock-in for the desktop operating systems market. But the suite will support only ODF and not Open XML.
Robertson said that he welcomed the launch of the suite, but argued that IBM's support for ODF is limiting customer choice.
"Competition is good, but it should not come from limiting choice in the marketplace," he said.
ODF is currently certified by the International Standards Organization (ISO) as an open standard.
Microsoft's Open XML has been certified by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) standards body and is currently awaiting certification by the ISO.
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