Microsoft Office: Open XML formats finally

Big announcement by Microsoft today:

“Microsoft continues to slowly trickle out bits of information about its Office 12 suite. On Thursday the company will announce that it plans to make XML-based file formats the default in the version of Office due to ship in the latter half of 2006.
Microsoft is introducing the new formats as part of Office 12, officials said, and will share more details about them at next week’s Tech Ed 2005 conference in Orlando, Fla. ADVERTISEMENT
The new Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats will be designated as .docx, .xlsx and .pptx , respectively. Microsoft is referring to the family of new formats as “Microsoft Office Open XML Formats.”

Microsoft is committing to publish the forthcoming XML formats and make them available under the same royalty-free license under which the current Office 2003 file formats are. Licensees will be able to integrate these formats into their servers, applications and business processes “without financial consideration to Microsoft,” according to the Redmond software vendor.

For users of older versions of Office — specifically Office 2000, Office 2003 and Office XP — Microsoft will make available software downloads that will allow them to read, edit and save using the new file formats. Microsoft also plans to release a conversion tool that will allow users to point to files in an older format and convert them en masse to the new Office 12 XML format.”

Mary Jo Foley has all the details.

That nearly sounds too good to be true…


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