IBM, in its new IT standards policy, has put forward the need of accountability and openness in standards organisations and has also hinted that it may reconsider its participation in many of them if these bodies fail to shape up.
The policy statement directed at International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and various other bodies comes after a long discussion amongst leading individuals involved in international standards work.
Expressing the view of the company, IBM vice president Bob Sutor mentioned that “Common, open and consensus-based technology standards from reputable standards bodies help ensure that each of us can easily purchase and interchangeably use computing technology from multiple vendors”
Incidentally IBM led the discussion after ISO approved Microsoft’s OOXML as the official document standard.
The approval of OOXML standard was met with strong protests from the supporters of the rival open document format (ODF) who claimed that the national bodies gave it an unprecedented fast track approval and that many of these bodies were likely to be filled with Microsoft’s supporters.
Though IBM has no immediate plans of moving out of standards bodies, the very fact that it has raised questions about transparency in leading standards organisations should serve as a strong wake up call to ISO and other of their ilk.