It came as a shock – according to Andrew Updegrove of Consortium.info (which refers to MSDN blogs of Jason Matusow and Doug Mahugh as well as a BetaNews post and Microsoft's press release) Microsoft Office 2007 is supposed to have a native implementation of ODF, PDF and their own PDF-like format XPS. It also seems that OOXML as it is (or rather will be) described in the ISO/IEC IS 29500 will not be implemented in Office 2007 for some time – it seems that mostly due to the fact that the final text has not yet been produced and that clients expect from Microsoft an office suite that utilises an ISO/IEC standard format.

From what can be read on the abovementioned links, it seems that with the MS Office 2007 SP 2 the user will have a choice whether (s)he will want to save to the ODF (most probably the OASIS version 1.1, which should in the near future become the update of ISO/IEC IS 26300 – ODF 1.0). And when the so called "MS Office 14" (i.e. next major Office release) gets out it should include ISO/IEC IS 29500 (i.e. the "ISO/IEC version of OOXML") instead of the non-standard OOXML.

According to the press release Microsoft also plans to join OASIS ODF technical committee as well as participating in both ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC-34 responsible for OOXML and ODF.

How well ODF will be implemented in MS Office 2007 and whether MS has really seen the light that the future lies in cross-platform compatibility and that vendor lock-ins and the network effect it brings will only cripple the global communication and all that depends on it, has yet to be proven. If Microsoft gets it wrong this time again – or better put: tries to play it as it usually does – the consequences might be less then pretty. But at least now we can a big possibility.

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