QuoteFor years, IT has struggled with how best to maintain the flow of data across heterogeneous environments without incurring data loss. Monoculture or no, customers often want to save documents in a variety of formats. This has not always worked to Microsoft's advantage. In fact, last year, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency filed a complaint with the European Commission in which it alleged that Office 2007 would impede educational initiatives because it failed to natively support open standards, in particular, ODF.
Doug Mahugh, a project manager at Microsoft who deals with interoperability issues connected with the Office software suite, described the steps taken today within the broader context of disclosure, transparency, and format support. "To get there, we found that it was not just sufficient to conform to a standard. We needed transparency about all the design decisions involved in getting to that standard...it was a way of pulling together lot of the things we were doing in interoperability." Rightly or not, the perception was that Microsoft Office did not treat ODF as first class citizen. "That kind of feedback is why we built ODF support into SP 2," Mahugh said.
QuoteAfter you install Office 2003 SP3, some Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2003, and Corel Draw (.cdr) file formats are blocked. By default, these file formats are blocked because they are less secure. They may pose a risk to you.
QuoteQuite a bit of talk has arisen today over two of Microsoft's competitors (Google and IBM) offering free office suites in an attempt to supplant Microsoft as the office king. And now that this is happened, some are wondering if Microsoft will finally face reality and offer its own Office product for free so it can compete.
The possibility of having Word, Excel, Powerpoint and the rest for free sure sounds awfully nice, but if you think Microsoft would give it up for free, you're dreaming.
As NPD announced just last week, Office 2007 is performing extremely well. According to the research firm, Office 2007 on Windows is selling at roughly double the rate of Office 2003. Will two free solutions alter the unprecedented sales figures Microsoft is currently enjoying? Not a chance.
QuoteAs someone who has used both Google's Office Suite and another free product, OpenOffice, I can say that neither of those programs can possibly stack up to Windows Office. Believe me, I wish I could say that both do, but the sad truth is they don't.
QuoteFor example, try to do everything you can in Excel on a free Office solution and I'll guarantee you'll be back to Redmond in no time. Regardless of where your loyalties lie, it's impossible to compare these free products with Office -- the support is horrible, the interface is a bit clunky and all of them are underpowered. In fact, OpenOffice is better-equipped to compete with Office 97 than Office 2007.
QuoteSad as it is, we're cultivating an Office software market that is utterly dominated by one company. And whether or not we like it, the business world runs on Office.
Now go pay too much money for a $50 software suite. Trust me, you'll like it.
QuoteMassachusetts today released draft specifications that would allow state workers to continue using Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) format. The latest proposal comes about two years after state IT officials kicked off a raging political battle by unveiling specifications that would have required state workers to use applications that support only "open" technologies like the OpenDocument format (ODF). "Open XML does meet our established criteria for an open standard," said Bethann Pepoli, the state's acting CIO, in an e-mail to Computerworld. "There is industry support for Open XML and we believe that by adopting the standard we will be able to accelerate the pace of migration to XML document formats."
QuoteAlso on Monday, the company is expected to make available beta versions of previously announced translators between PowerPoint and Excel and corresponding applications that support the OpenDocument Format, or ODF. The converters, to be available on the SourceForge.net site, let people open and save documents in either the Ecma Open XML formats or ODF. An initial translator for Word was released earlier this year; those for PowerPoint and Excel are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
QuotePeople can download the software, available under the open-source BSD license, for free from SourceForge on Friday. Microsoft intends to make the software available from its own Web site as well, the company said. The same group of Microsoft partners will now start work on code to translate file formats between Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software and the corresponding ODF files, said Jean Paoli, the general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft.
QuoteHeres the background. Back in August, Microsofts Mac Business Unit updated Mac users on the status of its development efforts for the next version of Office. According to the software giant, things were going well, and we learned that there will be free XML converters for current Office users to read the new Office for Windows' file formats. (However, we've since learned that there will be a three to four month gap between the release of Office for Windows and the availability of the Mac converters. Those could be a few painful months to be a Mac Office user in a Windows environment.) The MacBU also noted that tens of millions of lines of code had been successfully transitioned to Xcode. Amidst all the good news, however, was this little lump of coal, as we reported it then:
Microsoft also indicates that it is discontinuing support of Visual Basic (VB) scripting in the next version of Office for Mac, but on the flip side, the company said it's going to increase support for standard Mac scripting methods like AppleScript and Automator.
QuoteErickson also said that as Apple completed its transition to Intel-based Macs, the Mac BU had made progress in gradually moving to the new platform and in providing Mac customers with solutions to meet their needs. Tens of millions of lines of Office code have been transitioned to Xcode on the road to a Universal version of Office for Mac, while free, downloadable converters will also be provided to allow users of current versions of Office for Mac to read the new Microsoft Office Open XML formats following the availability of Office for Windows, he said.