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Microsoft spits out ODF plans for Office 2007 SP2

Foaming at the interoperability mouth

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Microsoft wants the world to believe that in these enlightened days it operates an open Office policy to all comers... sort of.

And that’s why it’s decided to publish documentation that details its implementation of OASIS Open Document Format (ODF) version 1.1 support in MS Office 2007 Service Pack 2.

Microsoft’s Office interoperability overlord Doug Mahugh said today, without even so much as a hint of irony, that the company hopes such a move will “encourage other companies to take similar steps to help achieve greater interoperability across the industry.”

MS said in May this year it planned to build support for ODF and Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5 and XML Paper Specification (XPS) into Office 2007 SP2, that’s expected to land around Easter next year.

At the time many sceptics viewed the so-called “interoperability pledge” as simply Redmond’s latest efforts to silence its critics. The firm has in the past prided itself on keeping a lid on its proprietary software code.

Even the European Commission questioned Microsoft’s intentions. After all, it had been dogged by less-than-pretty grumbles from a range of opponents about the software giant’s campaign to get its contentious Office Open XML (OOXML) document format approved as an international standard at the second time of trying.

EC regulators said they would investigate whether that announcement really did mean "better interoperability", allowing customers "to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice".

In July, Microsoft dished up incomplete protocol documentation for its Office 2007, SharePoint 2007, and Exchange Server 2007 products, effectively lifting the lid on work-in-progress, rather than definitive, code. ®

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