Microsoft Office ‘support’ for ODF file format

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Microsoft has announced that they will support an ‘open source’ team of developers to provide Open Document Format features in Office.

Say what you like about Microsoft, they have clever people working for them and not all of them are developers. Microsoft has announced that they will support an ‘open source’ team of developers to provide Open Document Format features in Office.

In other words, Microsoft won’t provide support for an ISO document standard themselves but instead prompt some outside companies to do the job for them.

( If you’d like to get up to speed with ODF check out this previous article )

As we’ve predicted, Microsoft had to make some accommodation for ODF within Microsoft Office. They could not ignore an ISO standard for documents which could lead to people using rivals to their major cash cow.

Cynics about Microsoft (and the ODF camp is full of Redmond cynics) might think that Microsoft’s reason for ‘out sourcing’ ODF support in Office is a way for the company to say they have ODF functionality while keeping their distance from the practicalities and letting them focus on their own home-grown document formats.

Our sources at Microsoft tell us that’s exactly why Microsoft has done this. It puts the proverbial ball in the ODF court, who now have the responsibility to make MS Office work with ODF – not Microsoft. If the ODF support is good, Microsoft can make use of it in selling Office and trumpet their support of open standards. If there are problems or shortcomings with ODF support then Microsoft can absolve themselves of responsibility by pointing to the external group.

To top it all off, Microsoft doesn’t have to divert money and developers from the push to get Office 2007 out the door. As we said, clever people there in Redmond.

 


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