ODF backer abandons file format in favor of W3C alternative

A group that was set up to promote the Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) is abandoning its support of that file format in favor of a set of specifications developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The OpenDocument Foundation Inc. doesn't have any control over ODF. But its embrace of the W3C's Compound Document Formats (CDF) adds a new twist to the already acrimonious debate over the possible creation of a universal file format for desktop applications.

The OpenDocument Foundation was formed five years ago to push for the adoption of a universal format. Until recently, the group was focused on the technology upon which it based its existence: ODF, which is overseen by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and has been approved as an international standard by the Geneva-based ISO standards body.