Microsoft Office program manager Brian Jones may have gotten more than he asked for when, in his blog, he attacked the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for moving to the OASIS-backed Open Document (OpenDoc) file format for productivity applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. Not only did Jones' blog contain some factual inaccuracies (for example, questioning the finality of the decision as well as the diligence the Commonwealth put into it), the blog spawned a thread of comments that really put the ball into Microsoft's court in terms of its own plans to support open file formats.
Microsoft is on track to launch its own, supposedly open, XML-based file format for the next version of Microsoft Office (Office 12) -- a format that is not only not based on OpenDoc, but whose openness has been drawn into question because of incompatibilities with the GNU General Public License.
It's times like these that I often find myself asking why there's one way (often an open-standard way) that almost every vendor does something and then there's the other way that only Microsoft does something. MAPI, the protocol behind Microsoft's email and group calendaring technologies is another one of those (I guess standards like SMTP, IMAP and iCAL can't possibly cut it).
My open question for Brian is, can you or will you support and default to OpenDoc instead? That would end the whole controversy. If not, why not? Not only that, is it true that we'll have to wait for Office 12? With all those programmers in Redmond, surely someone up there in the Pacific Northwest can write an upgrade for the current versions of Office.
Brian, feel free to respond using the comments section below or, better yet, trackback to this blog using your own with this trackback URL (using trackback doesn't require registration on our systems the way comments do).