IBM, Google quietly supporting OOXML?

IBM, Google quietly supporting OOXML?

Summary: In spite of their public opposition to Microsoft's attempt to get the ISO standardization nod for its Office Open XML (OOXML) document format, IBM and Google quietly are supporting OOXML. That's according to two blog postings from the end of last week by Microsoft execs involved in the OOXML vs. Open Document Format (ODF) standards battle.


In spite of their public opposition to Microsoft's attempt to get the ISO standardization nod for its Office Open XML (OOXML) document format, IBM and Google quietly are supporting OOXML.

That's according to two blog postings from the end of last week by Microsoft execs involved in the OOXML vs. Open Document Format (ODF) standards battle.

In a blog post entitled, "Speaking of odd contradictions ... " Gray Knowlton, Microsoft Group Product Manager of the Office technical product management team, cited IBM's support for OOXML in two products: IBM DB2 Content Manager v8.4 and IBM Websphere Portal. A company spokeswoman said Microsoft also had discovered IBM is supporting OOXML in its IBM Lotus Quickr team-collaboration product, as well as in IBM DB2 9 pureXML.

Office Program Manager Brian Jones, meanwhile, noted that another major ODF proponent, Google, is allowing Google searchers to view OOXML files saved in .docx, .xlsx and .pptx. in the browser using their own rendering technologies.

"They support all three formats, and the results are pretty rich (surprisingly richer than what they provide for ODF files)," Jones blogged.

However, hAI, one commenter on Jones' post, wasn't convinced that Jones' discovery constituted true Google support for OOXML:

"It looks like only XLSX files are supported that way and not DOCX files yet.

"Also it seems that Google search with filetype:docx is still missing a lot of files that I can find workings links to, using Live search contains:docx search parameter.

"Anyways Brain, why does Google support the filetype:docx search parameter whilst your own Live search still does not."

What's your take? Are IBM and Google talking out of both sides of their mouths, when it comes to their "OOXML is evil" claims? Or is Microsoft increasingly grasping at straws, as the late February ISO vote on OOXML standardization inches closer?

Topics: IBM, CXO, Microsoft, Google, Enterprise Software, Emerging Tech, Data Management, Data Centers, Collaboration, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Google will support search for whatever is on the web, no matter how bad

    the format may be. Google will also support import/export of OOXML for Google docs, since customers WANT interoperability. IBM will do the same, customers LIKE interoperability.

    But, that has nothing to do with whether or not OOXML deserves OSI standardization, if it is a good or bad format, or better or worse than ODF.
    • LOL! ;)

      [i]no matter how bad[/i]
      You do try hard at the spin factor,

      Google understands the need to add interoperability to their google docs as they fear being left behind as adaptation of google docs is nowhere close to what they assumed it "should" be, and Microsoft has an online offering that interacts with MS Office itself.
      • The point is, good or bad, if the format appears on the web, Google will

        make it searchable. That has nothing to do with "endorsing" the product as worth of a standard. And, again, providing input / output filters to that customers can interoperate with another format is in no way saying that the format is worthy of a standard. That is just giving customers what they want.
        • But I though that nobody wanted MS Office

          that most business that use it would have switched over to Google docs by now? ;)
          • Google Docs is not a substiture for MS Office. OpenOffice would be more

            appropriate as a substitute for MS Office. But, there are some tasks, such as online sharing of documents without complex formating for which Google Docs works much better than MS Office.

            But, in any case, Google supporting searching of OOXML documents placed on the net, is really no evidence of widespread adoption. OOXML still is very insignificant. Google wants to return the best search results, and including search results for OOXML documents part of that.
          • OpenOffice sucks, and Docs small functions are not comparable...

            to Office Live Workspaces.

            OLW does the same thing, but better. And you don't even need office. Most people are going to go this route, since the integration is better, and trusting Google with your personal files, is like handing them to the NSA.

            OpenOffice also happens to be one of the most crapiest softwares I've ever installed on my computer.
          • Not sure why you hate OpenOffice, it works very well for me, but, I find

            myself using Google Docs more and more, as 90% of what I do does not need fancy printing, or printing at all for that matter. The publishing and sharing of Google Docs works great, and it has all of the basic formatting required.

            Really, the crappiest software ever written would be MS Office, and it gets more bloated and complicated every year.
          • Then why do it quietly?

            so as to not have anyone see them cleaning the egg off their faces?
          • There really is no big deal here, they are just supporting another format,

            one that has very little market penetration so far, but, enough that Google wanted customers to be able to search them. It would be nice if Google would just automatically convert them to .doc or .odt though, for easy viewing.
          • Crappy software

            MS Office crappy? I thought only inferior products that very few "working" people uses is "crappy".
      • re: not sure why you hate open office....

        >Really, the crappiest software ever written would be MS Office,
        >and it gets more bloated and complicated every year.

        You really must have a very limited set of software that you use. I can promise you that compared to most of the enterprise software I use and specialized apps (which cost far more than Office), Office is a dream. I can't ever remember clicking on a menu item or an ok button and having an office app crash. I've had that happen with many expensive apps from companies you've likely never heard of.

        MS ain't perfect, but anyone who thinks they're the worst (or even near the bottom) is nuts.
    • Therefore Google will know

      Since Google support import/export of OOXML they are maybe one of the best qualified critics. So if they mean OOXML is too bad for ISO certification, maybe it is.
      • Reverse Embrace and Extend?

        That'd be great to see. Shaft 'em back with their own stick.
  • Not supporting OOXML. More like acknowledgment.

    Acknowledgment that MS has the dominant position in document formats thanks to the ubiquity of the Windows/Office combination. IBM and Google must serve the needs of their customers or they become irrelevant.

    That has no bearing on whether or not OOXML is evil.
  • More word games

    The word 'support' can mean two different things, right? Support of something can mean, 'to provide technical capabilities for' or support can mean 'to promote the interests or cause of'.

    In the first sense, at IBM, and Lotus before that, we have a long history of product support for Microsoft's poorly-documented and proprietary formats. But just as our support of DOC, XLS and PPT does not imply endorsement of these formats for standardization, any product capabilities related to OOXML should similarly not be seen as endorsements of these formats.
    Rob Weir
  • Of course they support it

    After all, they are "for-profit" companies and they know a good opportunity when they see it.
    • Has more to do with the standards track.

      Actually has more to do with people/companies who use Google Search Appliances and IBM Content Manager and Portal systems using these file types. It is just extending support for zip files with a specific file layout (what docx, xslx and pptx are), while Office 2003 consisted of just XML files.
      • The reason matters little...

        How they see it fitting into their profit requiements is up to them. I am sure they have their own reasons. But either way, they will support it, they can't afford not to. Like it or not, MS Office is the defacto standard the world around and no for profit company can afford to ignore it.
        • It is just another file format.

          There are several file format converters out there (IBM acquired Filenet, EMC acquired Documentum, Oracle has Stellant and HP is looking to acquire either Interwoven or Open Text). Thus, both IBM (portals, etc.) and Google (Search Appliance) support well over a hundred different file formats, they do not endorse any one specifically. MS Office also supports several different file formats (Office 2007 has at least a dozen) and supports several legacy formats as well (Office 2003, Office 2000, Lotus, other office suites).
          • Exactlly right. It's just another format like so many others.

            Now try to explain that to the zealots. Good luck!!!