Microsoft is apparently embracing open standards by making their own such. In an application filed with the EMCA in Europe, MS has swung a a bat at XML-based standards that are used in other suites, including the popular OpenOffice. The result of this, if Microsoft is meaning what they say, is that the encoding methods used for Office documents will be made public, enabling third-party software to read and edit them with ease. This could end up being a bad thing, or a good thing. Competition is good, and Microsoft on edge is good, but it could end up being a licensing nightmare or a situation in which it is open only if you have the money to see it open. Open standards encourage growth, though, and it seems at first glance to be a step in the right direction.