Mac users: Don't feel singled out, re: Microsoft's failure to provide file-format compatibility between Office for Mac and Office 2007 for Windows documents until 2007.
As my ZDNet blogging colleague Matthew Miller notes, Windows Mobile 5.0 device users are being left out, too. Microsoft is planning to provide a code update enabling Windows Mobile 5.0 users to be able to access the new Office 2007 "Open XML" file formats -- which are expected to be certified as standards by ECMA on December 7, according to News.com. But the Mobile 5.0 code update isn't slated to arrive until mid-2007, Miller reports.
Echoing the thoughts of a number of Microsoft customers and developers from whom I've heard on the Office for Mac file-format matter, Miller says:
"I am a bit surprised that none of the existing mobile operating systems or 3rd party applications are compatible at the launch of Office 2007 since a public beta has been out for a few months and this really should not have come as a big surprise to developers."
Microsoft is planning to incorporate the OpenXML file formats into the next version of Office for Mac (code-named "Magnesium") that is due out in the latter half of next year. It also is planning to make the new formats a native part of Windows Mobile 6.0, which is expected to begin showing up pre-installed on new devices later next year, as well.
Microsoft made the final Office 2007 for Windows available to business users on November 30, 2006. The company will make the final bits available more broadly starting January 30, 2007.