In Office SP2, Microsoft manages to reduce interoperability

Microsoft Office SP2 claims to have a fully compliant version of ODF, and that's probably true, as defined by the specification. It's just completely useless at interoperating with other vendors' products. This is not interoperability; it's an attack on the very concept.
Written by Jeremy Allison, Contributor on

Microsoft recently released service pack two (SP2) for their flagship office product, Office 2007. As I'm not a user of Microsoft products, normally I wouldn't have noticed, but Office 2007 SP2 had an important new feature for users of Open Source office productivity software that made me pay attention. SP2 contains Microsoft's first native implementation of the file format Open Document Format (ODF), originally created for Sun's Open Source OpenOffice product. ODF was standardized by the International Standards Organization (ISO) before Microsoft's rival Office Open XML (OOXML) and is seen as the competitor to Microsoft's offering for the future of XML based office file formats, so Microsoft implementing it in Office is a big deal.

With the implementation of ODF in SP2, we finally have one portable office file format, accepted and implemented by most office productivity software. That's the theory, right ? The devil, as always, is in the details.

IBM's Rob Weir, chair of the ODF Technical Committee and one of the people involved in the design and standardization of ODF examined Microsoft's implementation of spreadsheet interoperability. He specifically looked at the case of spreadsheets using formulas (which in practical terms is most spreadsheets that users would create and use), and he published his findings here.

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