Wow. Microsoft opened up today, taking a nearly 180-degree turn to announce its intent to support ODF, PDF, and XPS. Overall, this is a great, positive move. While unexpected, it's not surprising. Microsoft has been moving towards more open standards, like with its recent DAISY XML initiative. But it's also a no-brainer. Sticking exclusively with its competing Open XML was divisive, complicating IT's efforts to leverage the benefits that open source XML provides.
But before we get too warm and fuzzy about this change of heart, remember: It's only an announcement of intent. The relationships with the OASIS Technical Committee and the ISO/IEC are not official and confirmed. The success of this strategy will only be realized if there are no hard feelings, and Microsoft doesn't try to bully into the committees' efforts. I suspect that Microsoft will be welcomed aboard, however. Certainly because the resources will be welcomed, but also because these organizations would be hard-pressed to deny Microsoft a seat at the table without looking divisive themselves.
There are three major components to today's announcement: