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Microsoft's ODF support points to Open XML challenges

Microsoft Corp.'s plan to add ODF support to its Office applications suite next year reflects continued challenges for the software vendor's own Office Open XML file format, as the industry moves ahead with adopting ODF and sorts out Open XML's troubles. Though Open XML was ratified as an open standard by the ISO international standards body on April 1, it continues to face impediments to widespread adoption. On Friday, it was revealed that South Africa is appealing ISO's approval of the standard. And earlier this week, New York's state government officially promoted ODF — formally, the Open Document Format for Office Applications — as a standard file format based on customer demand, as it launched a new initiative for technology openness and open standards.

"If all that proprietary vendors are waiting for before they directly support ODF is a 'broad-based customer request,' then they should be aware that such a demand already exists in New York state," according to a report that was written by the state's IT office and posted online.

Even Microsoft is holding off on fully supporting the version of the Open XML specification approved by ISO, yet it will support ODF in Office 2007 Service Pack 2 when that update is released released early next year, a plan that the company announced Wednesday.

Read the complete article by Elizabeth Montalbano in Computerworld. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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