In case you didn’t hear, Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 is going to offer both ODF and PDF support!
It will offer saving to ODF by default on install as well as in preferences, and offer saving files as a PDF.
This is by far the largest move by Microsoft in accepting open standards in their products thus far. For the longest time, Microsoft shunned such formats and specifications, although now it seems as if Microsoft is turning to open source with open arms. Recently, Microsoft has released thousands of pages of system API documentation to developers, and have worked on collaboration between open source projects, and their own open source labs. While I still do not support patent protection deals signed by the likes of Novell, Linspire, Xandros, etc., Microsoft has taken a leap forward in helping customers and not just their bottom line.
I am sure this move has to be:
1) A counter-strike against the popularity of OpenOffice.org office suite, which supports ODF and PDF.
2) Due to pressure from the European Union.
3) A generous and kind decision to use open formats for the purpose of helping all consumers worldwide.
Personally, my bet’s on #3. I think that Microsoft’s position on open source is changing from the bottom-up, and will eventually transform the entire company, much like what happened to IBM. I think we could see more announcements like this later on, but only time will tell if situations fully change.
So, congratulations, Microsoft! Keep up the good work!
*UPDATE* I found a screenshot and a nice article from Doug Mahugh:
It’s also interesting to note that the OOXML file format that Microsoft fought so hard to get ISO certification, is not included, or at least until 2014. Interesting…