After stirring up a frenzy by threatening to wring royalties out of Linux distributors for allegedly violating its patents, Microsoft is suddenly playing Mr. Nice Guy. The company announced it will back Open Document Format for standardization by the American National Standards Institute.
Considering that ODF is the chief rival of Microsoft's own Open XML when it comes to document standards, not to mention that ODF is primarily used in open source alternatives to Microsoft Office, we think the Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin is on to something when he says the software giant is acting "schizophrenic" these days.
Open source advocate and attorney Andy Updegrove has another idea, according to PC Advisor:
On the one hand, Microsoft is saying, "Nice standard you've got there," while on the other hand warning, "[I]mplement it if you dare, but only for a price."
Updegrove also suggests that Microsoft's move might be a challenge to ODF advocates to vote for Open XML when it's up for standardization before the ISO later this year.