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Microsoft Lets The Other Kids Play With XML

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Microsoft softened its heart a bit by announcing it will adopt an “industry standard XML” for the forthcoming Office 12 release, opening up the playing field to other popular office programs.

Of course, big dog Microsoft says it ain’t about the other guys. It’s about customer satisfaction by offering improved file and data management, improved interoperability, and a published file-format specification.

“The slightly longer answer is what these capabilities do for our customers. For example, in the area of interoperability, the new format enables the building of archives of documents that can be used without Office code if required. And information created in Office can be integrated easily with back-office systems,” said senior vice president Steven Sinofsky on PressPass.

Office XML Open Format, to be released with Office 12 in 2006, will be published on a royalty-free basis, opening up the format for interoperability from third parties.

XML allows users to grab text and other information, use it for other purposes and uses however they like. This will save a lot of re-keying of information, improving data-flow throughout an organization.

“Think of a customer-service representative who now can respond to a customer issue using standard document components stored on a server, rather than having to retype an entire document,” said Sinofsky.

The XML format would also allow real-time analysis of company performance from separate back-end databases such as sales and inventory status.

Using industry-standard ZIP-compression technology, the “enhanced” XML formats will compliment Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Sinofsky also mused about the implications outside of the customer base.

“Interoperability also means huge benefits to the larger software industry, since it enables other vendors to tap into Office documents and file formats, and have information contained in Office files flow more easily to and from third-party systems,” he said.

Microsoft Lets The Other Kids Play With XML
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