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Microsoft Office 2007 to Support ODF - But Not OOXML

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the such-strange-goings-on dept.

Microsoft 377

Andy Updegrove writes "About two hours ago, Microsoft announced that it will update Office 2007 to natively support ODF 1.1, but not to implement its own OOXML format. Not until Office 14 is released (no date given so far for that) will anyone be able to buy an OOXML ISO-compliant version. Why will Microsoft do this after so many years of refusal? Perhaps because the only way it can deliver a product to government customers that meets an ISO/IEC document format standard is by finally taking the plunge, and supporting 'that other format.' Still, many questions remain, such as when this upgrade will actually be released, how good a job it will do, and whether the API Microsoft has said it will make available to permit developers to supply 'save to ODF' default plugins will be supported by a patent non-assertion promise allowing implementations under the GPL (the upgrade supplied by Microsoft will not allow ODF as the default setting)."

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377 comments

Sinking Ship. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495662)

They have yielded this little bit because they have to but it is too little too late.

Re:Sinking Ship. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495826)

Thanks, very insightful.

Re:Sinking Ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495934)

Yeah, what he said.

Re:Sinking Ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496094)

ME TOO!!

Re:Sinking Ship. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495874)

Say what you will, this is a good thing. It'll expand the reach of ODF, which is an excellent format.

Whether or not MS will keep their mitts off it remains to be seen. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Suicidal, I know.

An Empire in Rapid Decline, said Time Magazine. (0, Troll)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496028)

They have admitted they need ODF and that will kill OOXML, Office and them. That's because everyone knows OOXML is not ready and will never be good enough. The usual trick of making ODF difficult will not work because people can simply download Open Office. People might do that anyway because Office is not worth the money [twitter.com] [look a twitter reference]. If they don't really become an honest company, and they won't, things will get worse. Despite drastic measures they already have a hard time moving their new software. When they lose the document franchise, they lose the OS monopoly. The curtian is falling fast on their heads [time.com] .

Re:Sinking Ship. (0, Troll)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495922)

I'm not sure what you mean by "too little too late", considering Microsoft has been selling Office 2007 like pancakes [computerworld.com] since it was released.

Re:Sinking Ship. (0, Troll)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496112)

Office 2007 has some really excellent improvements over previous versions of office. Not the least of which is the awesome Sharepoint integration. Previous upgrades have often left me saying, "yeah, ok, new office, flashy buttons, whatever." Once you get past the new UI though, this version really is a marked enhancement over previous iterations in many ways. The office team appears to be one of the few (only?) groups at Microsoft that's churning out a better product. ("only" gets a question mark because WHS should be awesome - alas, no 64bit connector makes me sad.)

Re:Sinking Ship. (0, Offtopic)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496124)

Please don't feed the trolls.

Re:Sinking Ship. (5, Interesting)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496238)

They may be selling it like pancakes, but I have also seen an upsurge in dissatisfaction.
1) Why do I have to learn a new interface?
2) Why is user X not able to open my files. Why can't we open our shared files?
3) Why is our file corrupted.
This issue has become so great that department managers have been asking me if we can go to OpenOffice.
Current plan is to minimize purchases of systems with Office 2007 and switch to OO next year, after the new version with file sharing comes out.

Embrace and Extend (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495672)

Chances of it having several Microsoft-specific "add-ons" that are patent-encumbered and not supported by the actual ODF spec: Approaching 100%.

ITSATRAP! (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495690)

No need to look for further motivations...

Wow (4, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495696)

Not even they are going to implement it until the next full office release. You have to admit, that says a lot about the standard.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495806)

Man, if I was a MS shareholder, I'd be fucking livid. OOXML supporting software won't be available for a long time, and after this move, all the people who care enough about using ISO supported standards are going to be entrenched in ODF.

Which means that all the administration costs, travel expenses, bribe money, etc that they spent to have the OOXML standard pushed through was just thrown away for nothing, even though they got what they were aiming for.

Talk about mismanagement. Hey Ballmer, why don't you try hitting yourself with the chair this time. Might knock some sense into you.

Re:Wow (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495886)

I would expect most stock holders would go eh you win some you loose some. They are probably more worried about Vista bad press then this. In realality Microsoft didn't put that much into it. And if they did win they really wouldn't have gained much anyways.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496090)

MS had to know that they weren't going to actually be able to support this standard for a long time (if ever). This isn't "you win some you lose some". They won in every objective they set. It was bad goals, not bad execution.

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496168)

Talk about mismanagement. Hey Ballmer, why don't you try hitting yourself with the chair this time. Might knock some sense into you.
Will this do?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7412417.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Wow (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496432)

Talk about mismanagement. Hey Ballmer, why don't you try hitting yourself with the chair this time. Might knock some sense into you.

No, Ballmer uses chairs to break Windows.

Re:Wow (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496480)

Brilliant! Thanks for the post :) (you're already at 5)

Worse than that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496058)

Not even they are going to implement it until the next full office release.

Not even the next Office will support it. Office 2007 is version 12. If the article is correct (they said Office 14), that's two releases away!

Re:Worse than that (2, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496258)

Office 2008 for Mac may have the version 13 identifier.

April Fools? (4, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495702)

Honestly, the first thing I thought when I saw this article was that it had to be some kind of April Fools article come late.

You could be right (2, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496528)

Honestly, the first thing I thought when I saw this article was that it had to be some kind of April Fools article come late.
Maybe they were using Excel with a file that actually conformed with ISO date formats?

Typical Tactic (4, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495708)

So, in case anyone was still thinking that OOXML being confirmed as a standard wasn't a bad thing...

And as far as supporting ODF goes, I'd applaud Microsoft for taking a step in the right direction if they weren't constantly declaring themselves the victors over Open Source. I only wonder how they'll spin this.

Re:Typical Tactic (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495834)

So I didn't RTFA, but what's with the not allowing ODF as default setting?

Re:Typical Tactic (4, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495952)

I think they are begrudgingly supporting ODF since their customers are demanding it, but making the implementation just irritating enough (and, I would guess, incompatible with many features of Office) that users will be inclined to just work in docx (which OpenOffice and others cannot read perfectly, if at all).

Re:Typical Tactic (5, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496236)

It could also back-fire. If users are required by business requirements to exchange files as ODF, and MS Office makes this difficult while OO.o makes it default, it's more incentive to switch.

Obviously Microsoft is counting on this to let them sell MS Office to governments as "ISO compatible" until they can properly implement the OOXML standard, while still trying to keep everyone using their proprietary formats. It's a risky gamble, and with Office 14 having no announced release date, not one I'd be comfortable making.

Re:Typical Tactic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496378)

The announcement also says they'll release API's to make it simple to change to ODF as the default.

There's a surprising lack of spin in the announcement. In fact it almost seems begrudging.

OOXML won't be supported in MS Office till Office 14 and who knows when that will show up?

Victory (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495738)

You can say all negative things you will about it, but this is a great victory for ODF.

Re:Victory (4, Insightful)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495758)

At least until we get into the extend and extinguish phases.

Re:Victory (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495790)

Doesn't every extension to an ISO standard have to be approved too?

Re:Victory (2, Interesting)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495818)

Why would they need ISO approval to add their own extensions to their implementation of the standard? Is this some clause in the rules of the ISO that I've missed?

Re:Victory (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495870)

Well they won't be able to call it ODF, but unless someone complains MSFt will anyways.

Sort of like how SCO still claims to own UNIX when the Open group owns the trademark, and Novell owns the copyrights.

Re:Victory (4, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496292)

Nonsense, ODF has it written in the spec to allow proprietary extensions. MS can add whatever they want and still call it ODF.

Re:Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496396)

Just like Sun did :)

Re:Victory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496458)

I'm not thinking so.

They have far too many customers demanding, not asking for, demanding, the use of an ISO standard for documents.

These are governments, business with international operations and those with hetrogenus computing environments.

Microsoft would only poison their relationships with these high paying customers if they did something like that.

Playing the standards games is a double edged sword. MS is feeling the other edge because not even they can implement OOXML now or in the near future.

Re:Victory (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496056)

If they did that, then it wouldn't be a standard again, would it?

Re:Victory (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495842)

I'm guessing that the "Save to ODF" option will prodouce horrendously mangled XML that will "poison" the format altogether.

Of course, that could also be grounds for a lawsuit if they screw it up badly enough....

Re:Victory (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495852)

I don't think so. I am not sure about this yet. Micrsoft, as a company, is very intelligent. They threw a lot of money at OOXML. I may not like their software offerings, but I fully admit Microsoft doesn't just waste money.

Re:Victory (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496114)

It's a victory for ODF, but not a great one. A great one would have been ODF being made the default. Or better yet, a cheaper version with no docx support.

Larger question (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495750)

More to the point, how badly will they cripple the ODF support?
  • Will ODF spreadsheets be functionally equivalent to CSV?
  • Will ODF text be functionally equivalent to plain-text ASCII with line breaks?
  • WIll ODF presentations be JPEG renderings?
  • Will ODF import and export take hours?
  • etc.
I've occasionally been accused of having an evil mind, but I'm sure that professionals given weeks or months can come up with better kneecapping plans than the above amateur hipshots.

It won't matter. (-1, Troll)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496162)

If they don't give people what they want, which is honest standards, they will just speed migration away from them. The scenerio looks like this:

Having trouble reading that ODF? Why not download the real deal, Open Office?
That does not work well for you? Works great for me, try a nice GNU/Linux distribution.

With vendors jumping on the GNU/Linux bandwagon, the non free software game is almost over. Free software is in everyone's best interest.

What people want (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496350)

If they don't give people what they want, which is honest standards, they will just speed migration away from them.


Sorry, but most people actually couldn't give a crap about standards. Most people just want a functional suite of office applications that works more or less the way they've come to expect such programs. Most people aren't even aware that there is such a thing as a file format, or that there are different types of them.

Most people also want to be able to easily exchange documents with other people. That's part of the reason why Office is so well entrenched. Sure, you can download a copy of OO to open an ODF file, but if you're running a business, you don't want to make your clients do that, because it's a hassle. Nearly everyone has Office, and practically nobody has OO (this is in rough marketshare percentages).

Don't get me wrong. I would rather have a clear, open standard with a decent existing implementation that's not tied to the whims of a vendor. But I and people like me really are a very small part of the market.

Even Larger Question (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496214)

How long does that "patent non-assertion" protection racket last? More to the point, WHAT patents have been violated?

What will the license be like? Let's ignore for a moment the argument about the enforceability of eula's.

Re:Larger question (5, Interesting)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496276)

I think what matters most is that MS has committed itself to providing ODF compliance, even if that is a bit limited way, by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

This means that businesses who have been delaying the normal computer upgrade cycle (sometimes for years) now have a clear pathway: they can immediately migrate to OpenOffice under existing WinXP licenses on new hardware, or they can jump directly to an enterprise Linux with OpenOffice. Either way, they can move forward knowing that before they have finished the rollout, the documents they are producing will be compliant with the Microsoft universe.

The timing of this is great for the USA economy. It is much less costly to do a major rollout in a slack period, and we can count on slack for the rest of 2008. It will be easier to hire the needed tech support people, and if the rollout involves moving to Linux, it can be done with a lot less expense in hardware than the cost forecasts of even last year. The time and cost for retraining staff can be more easily absorbed during the competitive lull. Then when the economy gets back on track in 2009, these companies will be very well positioned for fast and strong growth.

I applaud Microsoft for biting the bullet and coming out with this news now. Perhaps now USA IT departments can get out of these doldrum eddies and start making headway again.

OOXML is not an ISO standard (5, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495752)

well - only if microsoft is able to buy their way through the standards process will anyone be able to buy an OOXML ISO-compliant version.

UKUUG is currently waiting on the UK judicial system to decide whether to do a judicial review of the British Standards Institute's recent decision to ratify OOXML.

clonking "comments" together in blocks of 100 for vote "yes no", towards the end of the (only) 5 day process, smells a bit fishy. especially as the comments weren't actually reviewed as having been actioned / corrected (in the 6,000 page document).

the BSI came up with something ridiculous like 900 comments on the 6,000 page document.

it's all incredibly fishy - long story. far too much to fit into one silly slashdot comment, so i'll stop.

Re:OOXML is not an ISO standard (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496054)

UKUUG is currently waiting on the UK judicial system to decide whether to do a judicial review of the British Standards Institute's recent decision to ratify OOXML.
Since the appeal deadline will have passed before the judicial review can even begin, it's all rather moot.

Results for eggs (5, Funny)

pacroon (846604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495792)

So I guess speaking Hungarian and throwing eggs at Steve Ballmer actually did pay off.

Re:Results for eggs (4, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495892)

Throwing chairs might have yielded results faster.

Re:Results for eggs (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496476)

Choose your weapon wisely; it's hard to throw an egg back.

- RG>

Q: Will this signal the end of Excel dominance? (3, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495878)

A: No, because companies are already so deep with old .xls files and macros built for said files that they will still be unwilling to transition from Microsoft Office to StarOffice.

That, and StarOffice just doesn't feel polished compared to MSOffice.

I seriously think that the macros built around companies' documents & spreadsheets are what's keeping them locked in to MSOffice, not the file format, per se

And for all you OO.o fans out there, don't even bother getting started; StarOffice is essentially OO.o, but with better support for MSOffice formatted documents, plus it has better tools like its thesaurus. OO.o may be nice for you, but there's a reason why Sun can sell StarOffice, and it's not because Sun's evil, and it's not *just* about tech support.

Re:Q: Will this signal the end of Excel dominance? (3, Interesting)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496032)

OO.o 3 will include support for VBA macros [openoffice.org] . That should help.

Oh, and MS Office 2008 for Mac will not.

Re:Q: Will this signal the end of Excel dominance? (5, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496066)

Very true but this is the foot in the door people have been waiting for. The problem I have always had was not opening up DOC docs but not being able to trust the ones I send from OO. Now that I know MS office can read ODF I can safely make and send them out with out worrying. Making ODF common is step one. Making DOC and XLS uncommon is step two. Making DOC and XLS so uncommon that people go through the hassle of converting them is step three.

Re:Q: Will this signal the end of Excel dominance? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496370)

Now that I know MS office can read ODF I can safely make and send them out with out worrying.
So naive...

Re:Q: Will this signal the end of Excel dominance? (2, Interesting)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496526)

Before this announcement: "MS Office 2003 is unable to read this file format (docx). Please upgrade to Office 2007."

After this announcement: "MS Office 2003 is unable to read this file format (odt). Please upgrade to Office 2007."

- RG>

Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (5, Insightful)

darealpat (826858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495894)

It may be that Microsoft is serious about supporting ODF, but I would not be surprised if it is somehow "crippled" or poorly implemented within the word processor and spreadsheet. Somehow I don't feel that you will be able to open an .odf made in Word with OpenOffice and there will be no "artifacts" or some loss of formatting, and vice versa of course. There are already issues with odf's opening across operating systems (usually a font issue causing discrepancy in formatting), and I am sure that Microsoft will use this opportunity to "make its case" for the "superiority" of its native format, whatever that format may be. If this will not be, it will be a most astute business move. Making their office suite cost less would be even better.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496060)

Yeah, I think either Microsoft will embrace and extend as I mentioned above, or they'll bring up a huge warning box every time you try to save to an ODF claiming that "Not all features are supported!" and actually make the saving code substandard so people will think ODF is a bad format.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (1)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496522)

a huge warning box [...] claiming that "Not all features are supported!"
Doesn't OO.o do (or used to do) thos for .doc? I don't actually know, I use ODF for storage and PDF for sharing like a sane person.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496208)

Well, I guess the answer to that is, if you want a format that maintains your formatting perfectly down to the pixel across all implementations of the standard, then you had better go with PDF (or TIFF). But if you want a format you can easily edit and pass between colleagues, without worrying too much about how the formatting is going to be a little off, then go with ODF, DOC, or some other word processing format. No word processing format looks the same across all platforms. Even something as simple as using a different printer can cause problems with the same version of MS Word opening it's own doc files. If formatting is so important that you can' have things be moved around a little bit, then use PDF.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496394)

No word processing format looks the same across all platforms. Even something as simple as using a different printer can cause problems with the same version of MS Word opening it's own doc files.

That's called a bug. Word processing files should look exactly the same across platforms and versions, with exceptions given for missing fonts or other referenced data. It should absolutely not change when you switch printers and as far as I know MS Word is the only program to have that problem.

PDF is for files you want to distribute and don't want to be easily editable. ODF is for files you want others to edit as well. DOC is deprecated and is for dealing with legacy versions of Word when you have to.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496266)

Well, poorly implemented software is the whole M$ Office Suite. And artifacts and corrupted layout is a classical problem for all Word users. So that will surprise nobody.

Re:Not embrace and extend, but embrace and squeeze (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496406)

Somehow I don't feel that you will be able to open an .odf made in Word with OpenOffice and there will be no "artifacts" or some loss of formatting, and vice versa of course.
Seeing as it is an XML file, it should be vastly simpler to reverse-engineer than the binary .doc

After so many years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495902)

Err what? You mean the format they added support for in December 2006? The open source plugin [sourceforge.net] they sponsored, paid for and chucked developers at it? That format?

Re:After so many years? (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496082)

You mean the same one that's still basically a test version and was never made available commercially? That plugin?

Re:After so many years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496234)

Commercially? You're complaining they made an open source plugin and didn't sell it? REALLY?

Re:After so many years? (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496372)

A lot companies have a policy where the won't trust something unless it can be bought from a verifiable source. So yes, the fact that it hasn't been made commercially available has probably hurt it's adoption quite a bit due to such reasons. That and the fact that it's basically a test version even at this point in the game.

MS BJ's (5, Funny)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495928)

Jeeeze you people are harsh!

I think that Microsoft could announce tomorrow that they are giving out free blow jobs to anyone who uses Linux. As soon as the first blowjob was given out, someone would find something negative about it.

Re:MS BJ's (4, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495960)

But what if the hooker they hired kept biting your dick? That's not very pleasant...

Re:MS BJ's (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496000)

And gave you SuperAIDS!

Re:MS BJ's (2, Funny)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496200)

Naw, they'd give out CCTVs, Cross-Compatibly Transmitted Viruses.

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496332)

nah, I share with samba

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496042)

I think that Microsoft could announce tomorrow that they are giving out free blow jobs to anyone who uses Linux. As soon as the first blowjob was given out, someone would find something negative about it.

Since it's MS we'd probably be rightly concerned about getting a virus, or some other parasite, or of them biting down and demanding to be paid to let go.

Re:MS BJ's (5, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496182)

or of them biting down and demanding to be paid to let go.
That's one way to achieve vendor lock-in.

Re:MS BJ's (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496078)

And you know MS would hire hookers with syphilis. I think some people really underestimate Microsoft. They, like most other companies, are in it for the money.

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496186)

Afterwards? Heck I'd see that it was Balmer giving 'em out and turn right around.

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496380)

I don't know if anyone would take Balmer up on his offer to give you a free blow job. That'd probably be the most given complaint.

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496414)

Dude. Dude! You're a GUY! Ah ah! Aaaaaaaahh! Get off! NO, NOT LIKE THAT!

Re:MS BJ's (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496462)

"I think that Microsoft could announce tomorrow that they are giving out free blow jobs to anyone who uses Linux. As soon as the first blowjob was given out, someone would find something negative about it."
What are the chances that you would remain virus free if you accepted free blowjobs from Microsoft? ...

(Just because one is paranoid, doesn't mean M$ isn't out to get you)

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496468)

Nope, sorry, I'm not going to follow up on your obvious lead-in to a "virus" joke.

Re:MS BJ's (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496518)

Looking down and seeing the new face of Microsoft would be highly negative. Although Steve Ballmer would have a fitting name.

Re:MS BJ's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496524)

Linux: $50
Gentleman's Linux: $500

eee (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495940)

Embrace (where we are now)
Extend (aka 'break')
Extinguish (where we'll end up)

Nuff said

Re:eee (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496294)

In all fairness, MS tried their EEE development model with HTML, and look where it landed them. Firefox is making big inroads into their browser market, and MS is being forced to make their browser more standards compliant. Granted, just about everybody else was also trying to extend HTML also, but it seems like MS was the last major browser to come around in adhering to standards. They also tried it with Java, and now they can no longer make a Java VM.

Weee, dreams are fun. (0, Troll)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496296)

Embrace (where we are now) --> OOXML has failed.
Extend (aka 'break') --> People will just get Open Office.
Extinguish (where we'll end up) --> only works when there are no other options. Their OS goes next.

Reality sucks for non free software vendors right now. They can't compete with free.

Re:eee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496306)

Just like how it happened with Java? Last I heard Sun is winning that battle.

Correction on "save to" capability (4, Informative)

Andy Updegrove (956488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495990)

Kevin J. O'Brien, reporting in the International Herald Tribune [iht.com] , reports that the ODF update will in fact permit users to "adjust Office 2007 settings to automatically save documents in the rival format." A knowledgeable source tells me that this report is likely to be accurate.

Andy

Don't use MS Office (-1, Offtopic)

jalet (36114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496002)

<shameless plug="ON">

We won't use MS Office anyway !
We won't use MS Office anyway !
We won't use MS Office anyway !
We won't use MS Office anyway !
We won't use MS Office anyway ! ...
More lines like these [librelogiciel.com]

</shameless>

Sun's ODF Plugin for Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496006)

I wonder if they licensed the source for Sun's ODF plugin for word? That might explain why it's happening before OOXML.

Re:Sun's ODF Plugin for Word (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496178)

RTFA

What will the source of the function be? There are two obvious sources. One would be the CleverAge open source project conversion code generated by the long-running project at Source Forge funded by Microsoft. The other would be internal development. While either is possible, in comparing notes with others there are indications that development work may have been ongoing for some time to enable this function.

They walk on ice. (2, Informative)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496024)

This is happening because the negative attention they've gotten recently. Office 2007 has gotten a bad review thanks to a over-thought user interface, so they hired an Adobe UI guru [news.com] to correct that. OOXML hasn't gotten any acceptance from the community so introducing it now will just further the negativity. I'm sure this move toward ODF is to bring more approval as they scrap Office 2007 and bring something better in version 14. By then they'll try to put some positive spin on OOXML as they release a better interface and incorporate OOXML.

Re:They walk on ice. (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496246)

"Retail sales of Office products from January through June [2007] were roughly double those of Office 2003 during its first six months on the market and up 59.6 percent from Office sales for the first six months of [2006]" - Source [cnet.com]

Not exactly the failure you describe.

Re:They walk on ice. (1, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496390)

Success for them for sure. Say's nothing about the success/failure for the people actually buying it.

frist sPLtop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496270)

A bit misleading (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496304)

The summary is a bit misleading. Current Office 2007 documents fail to validate as transitional OOXML because of some very minor differences. For example, the final standard changed an attribute value from "yes/no" to "true/false".

All major ODF implementations, including OpenOffice, fail to validate against ISO ODF 1.0 for similar reasons.

Thus, to make some big deal of Microsoft not immediately slipstreaming in an update to Office to 100% conform to OOXML, while ignoring the fact that OpenOffice still doesn't fully conform to ODF so long after ODF 1.0 was ratified is a bit hypocritical.

Re:A bit misleading (2, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496508)

I'm not sure I would call changing how a basic data type is represented to be minor.

To be in control of their own future (3, Interesting)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496334)

I know that the common perception on slashdot is that ODF is the only format we need because of its OO heritage. That is frankly a naïve position. The format was backed by IBM, Oracle and Sun for a reason. Right now MS' selling point for Office is features. Some would call it bloated - but MS Office still has more features than OO. That may not be that important to the vast majority of users, but it is a selling point nontheless.

Imagine a situation where MS could not leverage the feature advantage, because the standard persistence format could not represent the advanced feature set. Ink comes to mind; it's actually part of OXML but there's not anything like it in ODF. Representatives for Microsofts competitors could fight any extension (invoking the "err on side of caution" argument) of the format until OO/StarOffice was prepared to implement the feature as well. But that would actually stiffle innovation and hurt the customers who could actually realize a productivity gain from new features.

By creating a situation where we have two formats and already a situation where one is larger and with more features specified, Microsoft has got a situation where they can let the "conservatives" drive (or not) ODF, and Microsoft can be the primary driver of OXML, although they can now only make suggestions and requests. In short they have a situation where they stand a better chance at exposing the hidden agendas of their competitors representatives should they ever try to hold back Microsoft innovation in Office for compettitive reasons.

I don't believe for a second that the motives of IBM, Oracle and Sun were always free of hidden agendas. Of course they saw their involvement (and influence through merits) in ODF as a way to gain some control over the future of MS Office. Office has always been one of MS' best cash cows.

You can argue that we don't need any more innovation in the office productivity area. But that would be an opinion and not something you should base a standard upon.

Re:To be in control of their own future (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496512)

People usually point out that the fact that ODF is not the product of only OO.org is in fact a good thing.

What happens to OXML? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496340)

OXML was put on the fast track for being accepted as an international standard. The fast track is intended only to be used for protocols that are already a de facto standard. Microsoft are now admitting that they do not support it themselves, and certainly no one else does. Logically, it should therefore be withdrawn as a standard and, possibly, be resubmitted through the normal route.

It's about sales (4, Interesting)

aduzik (705453) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496354)

Office is Microsoft's biggest-selling product by revenue, even more than Windows. Since governments are mandating open formats, Microsoft has no choice but to implement ODF if they want to keep selling those lucrative enterprise agreements. Getting OOXML approved as a standard format was a huge win for them to be sure, but governments could (and will) just as easily standardize on ODF, especially given all the problems with OOXML. Microsoft used to rely on file format lock-in as a sales tool, but it seems now compatibility and (gasp) quality are Microsoft's selling points for Office. They're doing what it takes to maintain those huge sales.

End of the World (1)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496506)

After all that crap about OOXML is open when it is not, all that railroading of the ISO and they are going to support ODF anyway? I am packing my bags. Jesus is coming soon!
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