Redmond (WA) - Microsoft announced that it will extend the file format range supported by its Office 2007 package. ODF 1.1, PDF 1.5 and XPS will be added with the next service pack, but the integration of Microsoft’s own and recently standardized Office Open XML will be delayed until Office 14.
Microsoft appears to be following through with its "interoperability principles" and today announced that it will be adding support for XML Paper Specification format (XPS), Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5, PDF/A and Open Document Format (ODF) v1.1 to Office 2007. The added functionality is scheduled to arrive in 2009 as part of the Office 2007 SP2 update.
Surprisingly, Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format, recently approved as Standard ISO/IEC 29500, will not make it into the SP2. While the format is already "substantially" supported in Office 2007, there are differences over IS29500 - and these changes will not be implemented until the release of Office 14. This completely new Office package is expected to be released in tandem with Windows 7, which is rumored to be released in late 2009 or early 2010.
ODF support has been available to Office users via a format bridge, which Microsoft provided through its Open XML-ODF translator project on SourceForge.net. The company said it will continue this effort to provide ODF support for users of earlier versions of Office XP and Office 2003.
As part of its decision to integrate ODF support into its software, Microsoft will join the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) technical committee, which is working on the next version of ODF. The company said it will also take part in the ISO/IEC working group being formed to work on ODF maintenance.