Chris Capossela, SVP at Microsoft (somewhere high in the altitude of my management chain) has published an open letter regarding Open XML. This is another effort to underscore our commitments to openness, the Open XML process, and building the Open XML community. This is a great letter that you should read in its entirety, but I've extracted an important section here, based on my recent increased readership from the likes of Groklaw.
"Pledging our support
Above and beyond our own implementation, however, I wish to make it clear that to enable broader adoption of the format – including for use by our current and future competitors - we have made our commitment to Open XML unambiguous, and as such have made (through our Open Specification Promise) irrevocable, royalty-free patent commitments to all developers to implement the formats.
We submitted the original Open XML specification to Ecma International for consideration in 2005 because we wanted to respond to our public and private sector customers' requests that we turn over control of the specification to the community. Ecma International's further development of the specification for more than a year, and its adoption of Open XML as an Ecma International Standard (Ecma 376) in December 2006 was a realization of that goal. Now, the global community has the opportunity to take control of the future of the specification by ratifying Ecma 376 as an ISO/IEC standard. We know that it will be in good hands when this happens based on the tremendous work and improvements that have been made to the specification during the ISO/IEC process over the past 14 months. We are committed to the healthy maintenance of the standard once ratification takes place so that it will continue to be useful and relevant to the rapidly growing number of implementers and users around the world.
We have listened to our customers and the community and are proud of the work that has been done on the Open XML formats. We believe that these formats deliver unique value to the industry and users will benefit from it being in the hands of the global community as an ISO/IEC standard."