Microsoft to Open up Office Formats?

This is a topic I've covered quite a bit recently and one that I think is extremely important. The main problem I see with this press release is the lack of details. I've seen rumors that only the information to write will be included, which would seem odd, considering MA's main concern was people being able to read Government documents. It should be noted that this is at least 12-18 months off (an eternity in this industry). It should also be noted that this is going to be an ISO standard, not a completely “open” standard. This could get Microsoft the ability to say their documents are a “standard”, without being beneficial to others in the way a standard developed transparently in the open would. How? Let's say they release office version X and then submit to ISO. 12-18 months later the standard is available and people like OOo can properly implement. By the time that is done though, Office version X+1 will be nearing release. Microsoft could completely change the format, submit to ISO and then the waiting game begins again. In reality, the competition's access to the format lags so far behind that it's nearly useless. Sneaky. This is something I'll be watching closely and I'll be sure to post updates as more information becomes available.
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One Response to Microsoft to Open up Office Formats?

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is indeed a worry if the open source products are constantly playing catch-up.
    The only thing that I can see being a problem though with the idea is that all those people who are using Office version X will need to upgrade their version to be compatible with version X+1 (at least be able to read the new 'open' file format). This could be easily done I suppose if they are using the new web delivered Office (i.e. everyone uses the new format) but I'm still not convinced that all Microsoft Office users will be able to use the new formats without making changes to their Office software. That in effect would defeat the purpose of the 'open' file format and would be exactly the same problem that currently exists – oh, I see the problem now!

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