ODF in MS Office 2007: More Details
Microsoft announced that Office 2007 would support ODF, as well as Adobe’s PDF, in May. The next version of Office, code-named ‘Office 14’, is also intended to support ODF.
ODF, a rival document format to Office’s native format, has become popular with governments and schools. Microsoft, acknowledging requests for compatibility with ODF, had earlier released a converter to allow Word users to open documents saved in ODF, but Office 2007 SP2 will provide the first direct support for ODF in Office.
This sounds wonderful. I will point out that Microsoft hasn’t completely changed its spots. It still wants competing software to implement ODF its way, rather than according to the standard.
Microsoft said its goal in publishing the details is to help make different implementations of ODF in different software products more consistent, by giving developers a model to imitate.
“By publishing notes on how we are implementing file format standards in Microsoft Office, we are providing details that others can use as a reference point for their own applications,” said Doug Mahugh, senior project manager for Office interoperability at Microsoft, in a statement
Still, this must be a tough thing for them. Recall how the company ferociously throughout 2007 fought moves in several states to standardize state documents using open formats such as ODF. To now say, “we support the format” after marshalling its allies to whine that they would be excluded has got to be like swallowing sand. As much as it hurts, they are participating and joining in the game. This can only be good for end-users, those who support end-users, and for government agencies that do decide to standardize on open formats such as ODF.
Thanks to Carol Geyer for pointing this out.