According to News.com, Microsoft will be supporting ODF (Open Document Format) in Office 2007 through Service Pack 2 (SP2). Office 2007 SP2 is expected to be released in Q1 2009 and will be adding support for saving and opening ODF files, just like other competing office suites like OpenOffice has been doing.
Microsoft recently had been criticized widely for the ISO standardization of its OOXML format (docx, pptx...etc). The entire community of open-source document suites was against the standardization of OOXML. Thus, this announcement comes as a surprise after the recent tussle with the ODF community. Along with ODF, Microsoft will be increasing compatibility and support for Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and XML Paper Specification (XPS).
Tom Robertson, general manager of Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft, said:
"We have heard from customers and governments that they would like to see us do this. Now is the time to announce this support. It's also important to announce this now because we want to get involved in the maintenance of ODF. We have ongoing dialogue with the EC, so we will absolutely have a discussion with them about these steps [supporting ODF] and get whatever feedback they may have on it".
Microsoft also has plans to join the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, or OASIS, which is the primary body for the standardization and improvement of the ODF format. How Microsoft is going to affect the future of document standards is really an important question that everyone needs to be asking? We will really have to see how Microsoft is welcomed by others in the community after the recent clash between the two formats!