Open XML vs ODF do customers care?

I guess most people in the street (or in their office) don’t understand what this fight about document standards is all about, and they probably don’t care either. What is clear is that the anti Microsoft alliance (with strangely enough IBM leading the group) don’t seem to want users to have a competitive choices in the market or between standards J. A bit ironic this comes from companies like Sun that have been defending the freedom of choice and product for a long time now. The promise of XML based formats as the base for data interoperability and archiving is a vision Microsoft shares with those proposing the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Despite that, IBM and Sun are interested in creating advantage for their own products that support ODF, and that against the style we’re used from them to promotes open standards for technology. ODF (Openoffice/StarOffice derived) and Open XML (Microsoft’s supported proposal) were originally developed to serve different customer needs, and therefore both XML based standards and others like HTML or PDF can co-exist.
So what does the Microsoft proposed Office Open XML (OOXML) format look like and where does it differ from the existing format for office documents. The "old" formats .Doc/.XLS/.PPT stored the document in a binary format which in the beginning was only known by Microsoft. One of the objections from competitors was that because this format was originally not publicly available, competitors were unable to write in these formats (today the binary format is available). The new (Office 2007) Word format stores a document in .DocX format. This is a zip file (container) that contains all components of the document like, styles, fonts references and content in XML format and of course images in their native formats. If you have Office 2007 installed just open one of your DocX’s as a zip file and you can dissect the content yourself.
This is the format we have published as Open XML so that whoever in the market can create documents in this compatible format. The difference with e.g. ODF is that we wanted to be backward compatible with older Office versions and be able to represent documents and their existing formatting, in combination with offering an extensive set of new, modern editing possibilities we offer in Office 2007 (like inserting edited tables etc). So clear that the Open XML standard is larger (in number of pages) than the ODF one as it contains more features.
There are
translators available and under development (as open source by the way) that enable one format to be mapped to the other, a bit like saving your DOC as PDF or visa-versa. The fact Corel and Novell have announced that their products will support Open XML (and I’m sure they see us a competitor) is probably the proof of the pudding.
It’s sure that ODF and Open XML will evolve to serve even more requirements in the future and will add functionality but stay interoperable. Take for example a look at the evolution of SQL over the years, not the best example but a good illustration of what might happen to the document standards. SQL started out last century (early 70s) with a limited implementation and yet today there are many dialects each serving a purpose very often linked to the unique competitive offering of a certain vendor. If I remember well none of the vendors (IBM neither) implemented just the standard but they all added their goodies to make it richer and more appealing to customers. But don’t we currently have the technology in place to access nearly whatever database on the market from almost whatever modern programming environment?
I rest my case, there is a market for multiple standards in the document space PDF, ODF and Open XML as long as they serve the same goal: interoperability and allow people to share data.