In a press release today, Sun Microsystems announced it will deliver on demand network services to convert documents from native proprietary formats such as Microsoft Office into the Open Document Format (ODF), the industry standard file format. Sun will also deliver a service to convert text files to podcasts/audio files for playback at a later date. Sun says these announcements "add more services to the growing catalog of grid services available via Sun's Grid Utility, and amplify Sun's commitment to deliver on its 24 year vision of "The Network Is The Computer"."
The press release states:
"Using the new Sun Grid service, virtually any consumer with a Web browser will be able to upload proprietary documents, and have them automatically converted to Open Document Format (ODF). The ODF is an XML-based industry standard file format specification for office productivity applications, including text, spreadsheet and graphical documents. ODF documents are readable by any ODF-enabled applications such as OpenOffice or StarOffice(TM), and provide an open, neutral format for users seeking to make content available to the broadest set of audiences, platforms and devices."
Both services will be accessible through a web interface and converted on the network as .odf or .mp3 files.
Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer for Sun Microsystems, said:
"It is clear a second generation of the web is emerging, with a broad array of on demand services available freely and ubiquitously, tied not simply to a web browser, but to any application or device that connects to the Internet," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer for Sun Microsystems. "Built atop Sun's core innovations, from our industry standard Sun Fire servers, to the fastest growing open source operating system, Solaris, the Sun Grid Utility will spare consumers and enterprises alike from having to build complex infrastructures that are better delivered via a centrally shared service. Innovation will be a core differentiator for Sun, and for Sun's customers, in taking advantage of this next generation web."
This is an interesting move by Sun, to promote a service that automatically converts Microsoft Office files into open source formats. And the announcement is timed to perfection, straight after Microsoft's Live Era announcement this morning.