Microsoft: PDF yes, ODF no

Microsoft: PDF yes, ODF no

Summary: In an interview conducted by news.com's Ina Fried, Steve Sinofsky, the Microsoft senior vice president in charge of Office, noted that his company had received 120,000 user requests for PDF support, which the company just announced for Office 12, but no demand for the OpenDocument Format (ODF), which represents the idea that Microsoft's file formats need to be more open.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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In an interview conducted by news.com's Ina Fried, Steve Sinofsky, the Microsoft senior vice president in charge of Office, noted that his company had received 120,000 user requests for PDF support, which the company just announced for Office 12, but no demand for the OpenDocument Format (ODF), which represents the idea that Microsoft's file formats need to be more open. Apparently the State of Massachusetts, with 80,000 employees, isn't Microsoft's idea of a customer. When asked specifically about Massachusetts, Sinofsky replied:

"We've always felt that the primary value that we deliver to people is not in the format that the information is stored in but in the tool that's used to create the format. At the same time, what the format does is it affords us a way of delivering scalable, robust secure applications. There are engineering reasons why we invest in different formats over time.

Yet, from a marketplace perspective, we continue to focus on the experience. That's why you see the new user experience in Office 12 as being a really big focus. We think, at the end of the day, that's where customers make their decisions about what's really valuable."

Microsoft apparently believes that its file formats are core intellectual property that add value to the user experience (ultimately, the "engineering reasons" Sinofsky alluded to must have some user benefits). For some customers, having more open, unencumbered (not just a perpetual, royalty free license) file formats trumps whatever engineering reasons Microsoft presents.  Now that the differences between OpenOffice/StarOffice, which support ODF and PDF, and MS Office aren't so great, Massachusetts has an alternative. Maybe Microsoft just walks away from this battle, but that wouldn't be typical of Gates and company...

Topic: Microsoft

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22 comments
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  • Dan, your not being honest.

    Mass. did NOT ask for ODF, they asked that an open standard be used and in fact PDF was one they suggested.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • From a recent article on ZDNet

      I quote: "Based on the Commonwealth's system for rating the openness of file formats, Adobe's popular Portable Document file format (PDF) was approved as well."
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • PKB!

      [i]Mass. did NOT ask for ODF, they asked that an open standard be used and in fact PDF was one they suggested.[/i]

      Yeah -- for read-only publication.

      Posting long URLs in ZD breaks, so [url="http://tinyurl.com/83g6d"]here[/url] is the ETRM in a tinyurl.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • No surprises

      It's the file structure that lets you lock in your customer. It's no surprise that MS will defend it's file structures vigorously.

      Note that Mass. said MS could be ODF compliant if they would fully publish their file format specifications. MS refused. So, obviously it isn't about the format, it's about keeping the format proprietary.
      baggins_z
  • Point taken

    MS says no one asking for ODF...but they are asking for open format (like ODF)...not for a license to MS file formats without more openness. I should leave this topic to David Berlind...see his most recent post...
    DF
    dbfarber
    • Leaving it to David

      [i]I should leave this topic to David Berlind[/i]

      What, he has some special insight that you can't match? If you have something to say, say it. No guarantee that DB will.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Still There?

    Wow, Farber is still w/ZDnet??

    What a "survivor"....yeah, that's a nice way of saying "it"! ;-)
    Jorgy_z
  • Still There?

    Wow, Farber is still w/ZDNet??

    What a "survivor"....yeah, that's a nice way of saying "it"! ;-)
    Jorgy_z
    • Dont' bother.....

      ....replying, I probably won't be back to this site for another 5 years!
      Jorgy_z
  • a question

    Dan, why don't you contact Microsoft and ask them this question:

    "If a substantial portion of your Office customer base asked you to include ODF import/export ability, would you do it?"
    Eduardo_z
  • petition

    Microsoft claims that no one is asking for ODF. Maybe someone could start an online petition, and get a few million signitures.
    Eduardo_z
    • With over 300 million "legal" users...

      ... a petition with only a few million signatures (few = <10 for most folks), I doubt that you would have much influence with such a small percentage.
      Confused by religion
      • dont need hardly that many

        "Steve Sinofsky, the Microsoft senior vice president in charge of Office, noted that his company had received 120,000 user requests for PDF support,"

        Thats a whole lot less than a few million and still (supposedly) had influence.
        zijiang
      • With such a negative attitude, you are defeated already.

        There is a maxim at our local athletics club that much of the match can be won simply by turning up with a full team.

        The choice is yours: sit at home and despair, or DO something about it.
        Zogg
      • 300 Million

        is, coincidentally, just about the number of citizens in the USA. Against that, Congressmen consistently tell us that they get only a few letters from constituents regarding even high-profile legislation. [i]Those[/i] letters they take very seriously, because for every citizen who takes the trouble to write there are many, many more of the same opinion.

        However, that's just for Federal laws. Obviously, Microsoft's file-format decisions are much more important.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Mr Sinofsky is being disingenuous. Just call

    him on it. Of course, Microsoft wants to lock people into proprietary file formats. It's been obvious for more than 20 years. Stop letting them redirect and deflect the core issue.
    ordaj@...
  • Sinofsky may not hear the call

    Mr Sinofsky has to stop being this poor put-upon and misunderstood VP. He has to actually start listening. He's had calls for OpenDoc but he chooses to ignore them. Like the state of Mass. for example? While PDF is a nice feature, being able to use Office to communicate documentation with the over 200 Mass. state agencies is a feature too. If Microsoft Office 12 can save in downlevel Office 11 format, OpenDoc should be trivial to implement.

    So wake up and smell the Coffee Steven.
    tfl@...
  • ODF in Office

    Well, MS is supposed to add PDF in an Office 12 beta. So perhaps there's still time to lobby for ODF before the final release comes out next year.

    Maybe MS wants to see how support for PDF works before venturing to ODF as well...
    X Marks The Spot
  • Club Shepherd 2005

    I have it ALL Layed out in a Work Request format, Now when and where is it going to be located? 700++ HOURS Of intense Work designed it for the World Wide Web, MSN Zone add-on! I am Handicapped, so I don't Understand? I worked HARD For this!

    Club Shepherd 2005

    ESPN Ticker from ESPN.com! Should be Coded by some programmer with Experience, I worked before my train collision, Hard, at Kroger and Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, 82 hours/1 week, WAS MY Most work, I ever put in for NTT, and Cincinnati Bell Information Services! So, you can see I know how the Business System Works!
    My Card Playing Needs to be reacted upon by a college Student, If you want some coding experience, I would have done this Work Request for FREE, because I wanted experience in coding! I have got it, but I am HURT Badly!

    Here is a Joke I have pre-typed up for,
    Club Shepherd 2005

    Brian Shepherd: I think WOMEN are like parking Spaces!

    Grace Shepherd: How is That??

    Brian Shepherd: Most of the GREAT ones have been taken!!!!!!!

    I would like a positive response to this Work Request, that has the ESPN Scoreboard ticker and FOX News Ticker scrolling across the BOTTOM Text Line of your screen! I feel this hard work requires a response sent to my e-ml cincy2hot4u@hotmail.com at he ticker comes from ESPN and FOX news where you can read the Text Changes every 10 seconds and Post the Changes on the players Screen, or you ask, the User how frequently they would like to Check for text changes, and Submit the Information to the Card Player by inserting the Changed Text on the players Bottom Text line! Pretty Futuristic Idea I want to read! $19.95 wouuld be the Cost to play in this, Club Shepherd 2005, BADGE you should receive in your Statistics section. All Hurricane Katrina Victims Should receive a LIFETIME Badge FOR FREE! Because, I care! I am Handicapped, from being Struck by a Railroad Train, CSX train! So, I know what it's like to be Down on my good luck! I Care about the ones in need!

    Another Feature presentation will be Checking the other tables Scores. The user gets to select who's table scores he/she wants to KNOW!

    I believe ZoneSysops.com, deleted my Best Work Request! I'm not sure, so If you want to be a programmer in college, send me your e-mml, by contacting me! At cincy2hot4u@hotmail.com

    The 10 MONTH FREE Trial Period should begin Thanksgiving! I have been Struck by a Railroad train, while driving home from college, I will not have the Tragedy Hold me down! I would LOVE For my, Club Shepherd 2005, to see my club implemented on-line the MSN Zone! PLEASE!

    cincy2hot4u@hotmail.com
    Brian Edward Shepherd
    513-367-6048
    Club Shepherd 2005
    Bridge_SMASH

    I have Worked So hard and intensively! 36/36 I scored, 100% math college Entrance Test on the ACT College entrance Exam!
    Bridge_SMASH
  • sounds like he was reading off a card!

    His response seems rather mechanical, company jibberish. Microslut wants propritery formats, period! It is not to their advantage to make things easy for competitors, ... or customers.
    An_Axe_to_Grind