Since the beginning of the year I've spent a lot of time thinking about standards. This should be no surprise, since it is my job to do so. Nevertheless, it is important to get past the somewhat naive (for 2005) thought that amounts simply to "standards are good." Surprisingly, this wasn't necessarily the case five years ago. I firmly believe that it was the success of the Web and the business opportunities spawned by the near-ubiquitous connectivity via the Internet that really drove to people to understand both the importance but also the strong liklihood of success of the standards process. Standards represent a tremendous opportunity for our customers, for vertical industries, for governments, and for vendors as well. You know all those horizontal standards like Web services that we've been working on for five years? The use of those to drive new standards around business processes is about to explode. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Another thing that I think is changing is that people are starting to think critically and therefore constructively about the difference between vendor- or provider-specific de facto standards and open standards. A standard being de facto is about marketshare, not about an open process. Marketshare is not bad: I don't think for a moment that Firefox would not mind being the browser marketshare leader and thus a de facto standard in addition to being an openly developed application. Marketshare changes over time and the "products" that you are considering move up and down in popularity. The moral of this is: don't get snowed by someone claiming that something is a standard "just like those open ones" simply because they have a lot of users (today). There are other, valid reasons to go with the marketshare leader, such as service, support, scalability, quality assurance, and security, if that leader, in fact, has those characteristics. If it does not, look for the possibility of the aforementioned negative change in marketshare.
I committed a bit of a sin just now in that I mixed "open source" with "open standards". This is a topic we'll be spending a lot of time on in this space in the future. They are related, but not the same.