[Oa-italia] NY Times: "Open-Source File Format Is to Be a Part of Microsoft Office"

Antonella De Robbio antonella.derobbio a unipd.it
Dom 25 Maggio 2008 17:16:03 CEST

May 22, 2008
Open-Source File Format Is to Be a Part of Microsoft Office


Microsoft was set to announce Thursday that it would make the
interchangeable document format of a competitor available in its own
market-leading Office 2007 software during the first half of 2009.

The company, under pressure from European regulators, national standards
organizations and its own government clients, said it planned to give
customers the ability to open, edit and save documents in Open Document
Format — the main competitor to the Microsoft Word format — through a
free update.

With the update, consumers will be able to save text documents in ODF
format and adjust Office 2007 settings to automatically save documents
in the rival format.

Next year, Microsoft will also let consumers open and save files in
Adobe's Portable Document Format 1.5 and PDF/A formats.

Chris Capossela, a senior vice president in Microsoft's business
division in Redmond, Wash., said the decision stemmed from Microsoft's
commitment to make its programs more compatible with rival software,
part of general move away from a longstanding defense of its proprietary

The research firm Gartner says that Microsoft's desktop operating
systems and Office application packages were on more than 95 percent of
computers around the world.

ODF was developed in 2005 by the Oasis Forum, a group that includes
Microsoft competitors like I.B.M. and Sun Microsystems. The idea was to
let consumers save and archive documents, spreadsheets and presentations
in their formats of choice. The result was OpenOffice, a software
application package that resembles Microsoft's Office 2007 — and can
save files in Word formats — but also enables users to save documents in
25 formats. It is free.

In May 2006, OpenOffice backers persuaded the International Organization
for Standardization in Geneva to designate ODF as the world's first
global standard for interchangeable documents. Microsoft responded by
developing a competing interchangeable format of its own, called Office
Open XML, or OOXML, which won its own I.S.O. standard in April after
Microsoft promised to develop it into a truly open and interchangeable

Ivar Jachwitz, the deputy managing director of Standards Norway, the
Norwegian national standards-setting body, which adopted ODF as a
recommended format for government archives, said the proof of
Microsoft's commitment to ODF and interoperability would be seen next
year, when the updated version of Office 2007 reaches consumers.

"We have heard a lot of promises from Microsoft, but as of yet, we are
hoping for results," Mr. Jachwitz said.

Antonella De Robbio
CAB Centro di Ateneo per le Biblioteche
Universita' degli Studi di Padova
Via Anghinoni,
++ 39 049 8273654
++ 320 1808235

Maggiori informazioni sulla lista OA-Italia