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OpenDocument Format Supporters Band Together In Alliance

The companies and organizations opposing Microsoft's Office software format have banded together to form the OpenDocument Format Alliance, announced Friday.

Spearheaded by IBM and Sun Microsystems, the alliance said it supports the OpenDocument Format (ODF), which it maintains is "the only established open standard document format (that) enables the retrieval of information and exchange of documents between different applications."

In addition to IBM and Sun, the 35-plus alliance members include some open source firms and organizations as well as large corporations EDS, EMC, and Oracle. Major library associations including the American Library Association are members as are some European organizations.

A dress rehearsal of the coming battle between the ODF faction and Microsoft, which uses its OpenXML format in its coming Office 12 release, has been playing out in the Massachusetts state government. The state has said it will standardize its office software on ODF, but state officials have also indicated it will consider Microsoft's new submission, too, when it is released later this year.

Microsoft has complained that it was unfairly shut out of the development of ODF.

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