Office 2007 won't support ISO's OOXML

David Worthington
May 21, 2008 —  (Page 1 of 2)
For customers expecting an ISO-conformant Office Open XML (OOXML) in Microsoft Office, the wait will continue: Microsoft will not implement the standardized version of its own document format until Office 14 ships. Meanwhile, a service pack due in 2009 is expected to expand the formats supported by Office 2007.

Today, Microsoft announced that it was making new commitments to document interoperability within its Office product line for Windows. Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will add native support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.1, PDF 1.5, PDF/A and XML Paper Specification, an XML-based fixed-document format created by Microsoft.

Microsoft did not say in the announcement whether the Macintosh editions of Office would support any additional document formats. Office 2004 for Mac still lacks a full implementation of the Ecma 376 version of OOXML that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007.

In a surprise move, the company also announced that it intends to participate in the OASIS ODF working group and the corresponding ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Subcommittee 34 working groups for ODF, as well as the ISO Technical Committee 171 working group for PDF, said Doug Mahugh, senior product manager for Microsoft Office.

He added that Microsoft would also introduce an API to allow developers to plug their own converters for formats, such as ODF, into Office to make it the default conversion path. ODF 1.1 was chosen over the ISO-standard ODF 1.0 as a practical decision based upon interoperability with existing implementations, Mahugh explained.

“It’s the de facto version,” said Jason Matusow, senior director of interoperability at Microsoft. “We have to look at the development investments companies are making.”

Members of Microsoft’s Interop Vendor Alliance, including Linspire, Novell, Turbolinux and Xandros, are collaborating with Microsoft on document interoperability, and Microsoft sponsors a SourceForge project to the same end.

However, the company is not quick to embrace its own creation. Mahugh stated that Microsoft would not implement the final ISO version of OOXML until Office 14 ships at an unstated date in the future. This variant of OOXML was designated ISO/IEC 29500 at the time it was certified as an ISO International standard in April.

Related Search Term(s): Microsoft, OOXML

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