Microsoft Acknowledges ODF

    July 7, 2006

Microsoft has announced that it will, after countless requests and a long period of foot-dragging, offer support for the OpenDocument Format. The company has launched an Open XML Translator project to convert from its default format to ODF, and the resulting product will be made available for free.

In a press release, Microsoft said this demonstrates that it is “expanding on its customer-focused commitment to interoperability.” “By enabling this translator, we will make both choice and interoperability a more practical option for our customers,” stated Jean Paoli, the general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft.

“We believe that Open XML meets the needs of millions of organizations for a new approach to file formats, so we are sharing it with the industry by submitting it, with others, to become a worldwide standard,” Paoli continued. “Yet it is very important that customers have the freedom to choose from a range of technologies to meet their diverse needs.”

Bob Sutor had some reservations about Microsoft’s wording, but was essentially pleased with the project’s implications. It is “one in a long series of positive, momentum building events surrounding the OpenDocument Format and open standards in general . . . . I expect that this will significantly accelerate the adoption of ODF by governments around the world,” he wrote.

Andrew Hopkirk, the director of the U.K.’s National Computing Centre’s e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) Programme, was quoted in the Microsoft press release. His opinion about the Open XML Translator project was also positive. “It can only be good for the IT industry’s customers and product and service innovators,” he said.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.