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Microsoft Promises To Fully Support OOXML ... Later 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the sounds-like-a-government-timetable dept.
Raul654 writes "OOXML is the Word document format that Microsoft rammed through the ISO last year. Last week, we discussed a blog post by Alex Brown, who was instrumental in getting OOXML approved by the ISO. Brown criticized Microsoft for reneging on its promise to support OOXML in the upcoming release of Office 2010, and for its lackadaisical approach to fixing the many bugs which still remain in the specification. Now, Doug Mahugh has responded to Brown's post, promising that Microsoft will support OOXML 'no later than the initial release of Office 15.'"
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Microsoft Promises To Fully Support OOXML ... Later

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  • Uh...is that a typo or something? Office FIFTEEN???

    • Re:Office...15? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jazz-Masta (240659) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:37PM (#31792892)

      Office 14 is Office 2010.

      So, Office 15 will be the version after 2010.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Ah, the version number thing (as pointed out by other posters in reply to my OP.) Thanks for the clarification!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by idontgno (624372)

        Maybe.

        I'm sure that's the rational answer.

        That's also what THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!

        He really means Office '15, which comes out some time in 2017.

        But if you assume he means the next major release, and that assumption pacifies you, all the better.

      • Re:Office...15? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay@gmSTRAWail.com minus berry> on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:05PM (#31793246) Homepage Journal
        Ok, then. They'll support it on the next version, just what they promissed by 2007.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        I admit I misunderstood this too. However, how often are versions changed in this sense? From what I see, Office 13 was skipped, so the last version was Office 12, AKA office 2007.

        If they say "We'll support it in office 15" but skip to office 16, what happens to support? Given that office 2007 took 3 years, doesn't that mean at a minimum it will be no less than 3 years from now before they're compliant with what they agreed in *2008* (OOXML)?

      • by gravis777 (123605)

        You sure? Office 2007 is office 12. Unless they are refering to office 2008 for the mac as office 13. But I don't think they are. Office 11 was office 2003, not 2004, and office 10 was office xp / 2002. I mess with this stuff on a daily basis. So unless Microsoft has taken to numbering their mac releases, or unless they are skipping 13 due to some superstition, Office 2010 is Office 13, not 14. So, with Microsoft releasing products every 3-4 years in the Office category, this means that we can expect OOXML

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sjames (1099)

        You forgot about the inevitable Office 14.5, 14.6, 14.7, 14.8, 14.9, 14.95, 14.96, ...

        Then they'll get all George Lucas and go directly to Office 20. and tell us they'll go back to do office 15 later.

        But in the sense that the year 3520 is after 2010, yes, office 15 will be after office 2010.

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        What he actually said is they will support it in version (current + 1). This was interpreted as version 15. When version 15 is out, it will be supported in version 16. And so on...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cheesybagel (670288)
      Word 2007 can save in ODT though. Hah. Even Microsoft cannot make file import/export filters for their own OOXML format.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Office for Mac can not either save or read ODT. No ODT plugins or converters available.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ircmaxell (1117387)
      2003 is Office 11. 2007 is 12, 2010 is 14. So 15 is the next release after this one... Here's to waiting 3+ years for support... Maybe...
      • by argent (18001)

        Where's Office 13?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ircmaxell (1117387)
          Skipped due to superstition... Or at least that's what WikiPedia claims: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office#Microsoft_Windows_versions [wikipedia.org]
          • One must not trust its own product to fall for this kind of poor superstition...
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            So, when they release the next version without OOXML support they will retroactvely renumber so that the next version is still only Office 14 and hope that by the time they get to the 14th release of Office everyone will have forgotten this promise (or that the push for open standards will have run out of steam).
        • by pavon (30274) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:11PM (#31793306)

          Office 13 existed as a skunkworks project within MS. It fully supported the ODF 1.1 standard, and was crossplatform to Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and BeOS (which MS also had plans to revive). It had clean, standards compliant HTML output. Even more surprisingly, it was decided that the project would be released as open source. Everything was going great until orders from the top led them to try and include Clippy. During the initial commit of the Office 2007 Clippy source there was a large bitsplosion leaving the GIT repository in waste. Forensic analysis concluded that the disaster was the result of the collision of evil bits and non-evil bits, which annihilated one another on contact, releasing huge reserves of pure information, scrambling anything in proximity. Furthermore, due to quantum entanglement, all backup copies of the promising office suite also disappeared, along with any instances of Clippy in Office 2007.

          After this incident, MS abandoned any attempts at supporting open source and open standards projects. Ms Gates still bitches about the loss of Clippy in Office 2010.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597)

      Apparently it's the release after the next one, tentatively planned for 2013.

      How they get to 15: They used version numbers through 4.x. Then somehow 5.x and 6.x were skipped (?) in the switch to year branding, and Office 95 was internally Office 7.0. Then it went sequentially for a bit: Office 97 was 8.0, Office 2000 was 9.0, Office XP was 10.0, Office 2003 was 11.0, and the current Office 2007 is 12.0.

      Now they plan to skip 13 due to its negative superstition, and make Office 2010 be 14.0. Then the release

      • by armanox (826486)
        I can't speak for 5, but I definitely have Word 6 for Windows (3.1) on floppy set.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ffreeloader (1105115)

      Yeah, it's correct. It's not a typo. It's MS's internal code for a future release called "When pigs fly".

  • No it's not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <.marc.paradise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:41PM (#31792942) Homepage Journal

    OOXML is the word document format that Microsoft

    No it's not. It's the document format for representing all supported document types within the Office suite.

    Yeah, OK, we all know what he's talking about. But still... is it really that hard to get the basics right in a summary?

    • Re:No it's not. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dwiget001 (1073738) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:54PM (#31793120)

      And, no, it's not the document format for representing all supported document types within the Office suite.

      If it was, then it would have already been implemented *and supported* in Microsoft Office.

      Microsoft just wanted to get OOXML an ISO stamp of approval, so it could say that it's products conformed to international standards when quotes for potential purchases required such a thing. Of course, in hind sight, it was all a lie, Microsoft never did support the ISO approved OOXML standard, and never intended to. And that's a realted but slightly different story.

      • by lorenlal (164133)

        And, of course, we're all shocked that MS would do such a thing. All they really did was slap the ISO across the face and walk away laughing.

        The whole process was bought and paid for. I don't even know why MS really did it. They don't market their ISO approval, nor that their products conform to any international standard. Why did they bother doing this?

        • Re:No it's not. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cheesybagel (670288) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:06PM (#31793256)
          You have to realize the biggest client for Microsoft is the government. Governments like standards compliance, even if the standards themselves do not mean a damn.
        • Re:No it's not. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay@gmSTRAWail.com minus berry> on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:12PM (#31793322) Homepage Journal
          Ok, that old story... ODF does have ISO approval, and governemnts around the world were trying to require open office (lower case "o" here) suites by requiring ISO approval of their document format. Then, MS got into a delay and destroy tatic that consisted on making a lot of confusion about what does or does not have ISO approval, and on the sideline continuing their usual way of gaining governement bids (that is composed of bribes, lock-in and blackmail). Now, their task is done, but everything would start again if they just recognized that they'll never support OOXML, so they must keep the fuzz alive.
      • And, no, it's not the document format for representing all supported document types within the Office suite.

        If it was, then it would have already been implemented *and supported* in Microsoft Office.

        If you RTFA, you'll see that MSOffice claims support for OOXML Transitional (which is still a conformance level in ISO spec). It's OOXML Strict that's elusive so far.

        • || If you RTFA, you'll see that MSOffice claims support for OOXML Transitional (which is still a conformance level in ISO spec). ||

          I did RTFA. And, you just proved the point I was making. Microsoft *claims* support, if you take that claim and $2.50, that will buy you a small latte at Starbucks, depending on your area.

          • I don't see why you should be skeptical about that claim. An informal definition of "OOXML Transitional" is pretty much "whatever Office 2007 can handle" - that's the whole reason for its existence!

            • Hmm, why should I, or anyone for that matter, be skeptical about a claim from Microsoft?

              Let me think... quite simply, because Microsoft claims it. That's enough for me to discount it utterly.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:41PM (#31792948) Homepage

    *Alex brown shakes his fist at MS* "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:43PM (#31792996)

    All of my software bugs get fixed in the "next" version.

  • There is no Office 13 - But Why? [msdn.com] – a video produced by Microsft on MSDN Channel 9 – explains why there is no Office 13.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:47PM (#31793038) Journal
    I will gladly support your standards on Tuesday for the 'standards compliant' checkbox I need to continue my lucrative market dominance today...
  • by demigod (20497) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:51PM (#31793082)

    And Microsoft promised to support OS/2 after it sold 2 million copies.

    Never happened.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Which part? :p

    • by steveha (103154)

      And Microsoft promised to support OS/2 after it sold 2 million copies.

      Never happened.

      Could you provide us with some sort of reference to support this?

      The way I remember it, Microsoft supported OS/2 from the beginning; see here [prodigy.net] for screen shots of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel for OS/2.

      At the time, Microsoft had an OS/2 group, and a Windows group, and both groups were trying to get people to write apps for their respective systems. Microsoft was telling people that if their computers had 2MB of RAM or

  • by salesgeek (263995) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:53PM (#31793106) Homepage

    Wow. I can't believe that MS wasted three years and $millions on this. MS really needs to take a look at what is going on and do something about it:

    * MS Tablet PCs fail
    * Windows Mobile fails
    * MS ISO Standard file format fails
    * Windows Live fails
    * Zune fails

    The bodies are getting stacked deep, there MS. Time to get back to what made you great and become hacker friendly again... and not in the sense that your OS and software have lots of security holes.

    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:02PM (#31793212)

      Wow. I can't believe that MS wasted three years and $millions on this. MS really needs to take a look at what is going on and do something about it:

      * MS Tablet PCs fail
      * Windows Mobile fails
      * MS ISO Standard file format fails
      * Windows Live fails
      * Zune fails

      The bodies are getting stacked deep, there MS. Time to get back to what made you great and become hacker friendly again... and not in the sense that your OS and software have lots of security holes.

      Nobody looks forward to using Microsoft products. They use them because they have to. Even if you think that all the hype around Apple products is just advertising brainwashing and the fans are just drooling zombies, here's a thought: Microsoft has even more money to spend on branding and they can't even manage to inspire lukewarm enthusiasm.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VGPowerlord (621254)

        Nobody looks forward to using Microsoft products. They use them because they have to. Even if you think that all the hype around Apple products is just advertising brainwashing and the fans are just drooling zombies, here's a thought: Microsoft has even more money to spend on branding and they can't even manage to inspire lukewarm enthusiasm.

        The Xbox 360 seems to be the one exception. What's really surprising is that people keep going back to it even after their 360 breaks.

        I suppose they have a vested inte

        • The Xbox 360 seems to be the one exception. What's really surprising is that people keep going back to it even after their 360 breaks.

          I suppose they have a vested interest due to their game libraries.

          Interesting observation. But I think it's because the games are there any Sony screwed the pooch on the PS3. The PS2 beat the pants out of the Xbox 1 hands down. But when the PS3 came in so expensive and with the Wii seemingly so underpowered, console gamers were stuck with the 360 as default. But I don't think there's anything compelling about the Microsoft experience, anything that would make people want to stay. I happen to have a 360. I got it to play games on my HDTV I'd just picked up, my way of celeb

          • But when the PS3 came in so expensive and with the Wii seemingly so underpowered, console gamers were stuck with the 360 as default.

            They were? The Xbox 360 has sold 39 million units over four years. The PS3 has sold 33.5 million over three years. That looks pretty neck-and-neck to me.

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          It could be because the Xbox 360 is better than its competitor, the PS3? (I consider the Wii mostly in a different market.)

          Or, phrased more Slashdotterily, Sony screwed up the PS3 much more than Microsoft screwed up the Xbox 360.

        • by c++0xFF (1758032)

          I suppose they have a vested interest due to their game libraries.

          Behold the power of vendor lock-in.

          What we talking about again? Oh, yeah. Microsoft and OOXML.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050)

          People go back to MS products even after being burned time and time again, because they're locked in... The 360 is no different really.

        • But the Xbox project only really shows you can accomplish a lot if you don't mind throwing tons of money at the problem. The Xbox division has had a few quarters of profitability among years of loss. At this rate, it would take a decade to recoup the initial investment.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by plague3106 (71849)

        Speak for yourself, but myself and other do enjoy using MS projects. For me, actually trying to use Linux made me enjoy MS software (it helped that MS did actually improve their stuff too).

    • A truly open XML-based file format would result in a level playing field. Without the shell game of Office file formats, businesses would be quick to dump MS Office and pocket the savings. So instead, MS can play "delay and deny" in an action to thwart open document long enough for people to forget about it. Look at the great job they did screwing up IMAP in Outlook, long enough for them to push their own proprietary IMAP-style technology in Exchange.

      MS is the Verizon of software. Features that don't fi

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I've found Windows Live Mail to be a very good mail client. How exactly has it failed? Its light years better than the old Outlook Express it replaced.

  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:05PM (#31793236) Journal

    They're responsible for this abortion of a standard and yet even they can't implement the thing. So much for eating your own dog food. They should be *MADE* to use it or the ISO should simply kill the standard since clearly it can't work.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:14PM (#31793344)

    as to how MS doesnt support their own file format, it because they're using a transitional version instead of the proper "strict" version. Wiki:

    On 31st March 2010, Dr Alex Brown, who had been the Convener of the February 2008 Ballot Resolution Meeting, posted an entry on his personal blog[111] in which he complained of Microsoft's lack of progress in adapting current and future versions of Microsoft Office to produce files in the Strict (as opposed to the Transitional) ISO 29500 format:
    " On this count Microsoft seems set for failure. In its pre-release form Office(TM) 2010 supports not the approved Strict variant of OOXML, but the very format the global community rejected in September 2007, and subsequently marked as not for use in new documents - the Transitional variant. Microsoft are behaving as if the JTC 1 standardisation process never happened...

    • by migla (1099771)

      So, what does it mean?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah but seriously... it doesn't explain away the CONCEPT that you can invent a standard then just completely not use it. I know it's Microsoft... but still. The CONCEPT is just asinine. No seriously. I don't care what company it is, the whole idea is just lunacy. I know their strategy here: keep everybody aiming for somewhere they're not actually at, to prevent anybody else from being able to properly integrate with Office. I understand that. It's just that on its surface, this whole idea is insanity.

      • Yeah but seriously... it doesn't explain away the CONCEPT that you can invent a standard then just completely not use it.

        I thought it rather explains it perfectly. Microsoft comes up with the spec, and implements it while also submitting it for standardization. During standardization, said spec is significantly reworked, to the point that it is no longer compatible with documents conformant to the original submission. That's pretty much where we are today.

  • All they need is to offer the Microsofties a way around the "But ODF is ISO approved" argument. Doesn't need to work or even make sense.
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:20PM (#31793410)

    Doug Mahugh has responded to Brown's post, promising that Microsoft will support OOXML 'no later than the initial release of Office 15.'

    When Microsoft follows through with a promise like this, I can't help but lol. How can one of the most rich and powerful software companies in the world not have the resources to do something like this HERE and NOW?

    I smell fish - and it's not coming from Ballmer's underwear, for once.

    • by Z34107 (925136)

      Tthe ISO standard was revised long after Office 2010 had been in development; supporting the changes would have supposedly delayed the release too much.

      Office 2010 does support the "transitional" OOXML format, and has read support for the proper ISO OOXML format. source [arstechnica.com]

    • by c-reus (852386)

      Remind me - how long was the specification document? Some 6000 pages? Merely reading that thing could take weeks

  • "representatives from Microsoft attempted to argue that Sun Microsystems, the creators and supporters of the competing OpenDocument format (ODF), could not be given a seat at the conference table because there was a lack of chairs."

  • in the first paragraph of Mahugh's blog entry ? That one sentence seems to describe it all...

    >>That’s why we’ve been looking into the issues and options for Strict support for quite some time.

  • Great news! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bearhouse (1034238) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:31PM (#31793580)

    So, the Frankenstein monster is disowned by its creator. Excellent.
    Encourage your clients, friends and families to use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument [wikipedia.org]
    Fully supported by all the major office suites, including of course Oo.

    • by KZigurs (638781)

      the piece of slow crap know as OO? To call it a major office suite is akin to call the lotus notes a quick and nippy e-mail client.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:38PM (#31793696) Homepage

    Nobody but boring technogeeks are going to understand the importance of the distinction between "strict OOXML" and "transitional OOXML." It's all very well for Alex Brown to say transitional OOXML was "not the format 'approved by ISO/IEC', it is the format that was rejected," but it sure doesn't _sound_ that way.

    It wouldn't even take much dishonesty for a salesperson to say "supports OOXML," and the top-level managers who make the purchasing decisions will nod and smile. What are the chances they will know the importance of asking the question "is that transitional OOXML or strict OOXML?" And any top-level manager, approached by some intense young technogeek, is going to wonder if it's really all that important, and whether transitional OOXML isn't really good enough.

    Within Microsoft, how many high-level managers are going to think it is urgently important for Office to support "strict OOXML" rather than "transitional OOXML?"

    The battle was probably lost when they allowed those names to be used. Now nobody can ever mention the matter to any lay outsider without prefixing it with a couple of minutes of exposition.

    • Nobody but boring technogeeks are going to understand the importance of the distinction between "strict OOXML" and "transitional OOXML." It's all very well for Alex Brown to say transitional OOXML was "not the format 'approved by ISO/IEC', it is the format that was rejected," but it sure doesn't _sound_ that way.

      Among other things, it's simply wrong. It wasn't "rejected" - it is still in the spec, albeit only to be used for "compatibility purposes" (but, hey, who defines that?).

  • I don't care if Microsoft supports their own format or not. Same goes for every other entity. What I care about is if they will support standards. IIRC, Office 2007 has support for ODF, so that's definitely a step in the right direction. What other formats decides to support beyond the ones that enable interoperability is their own choice.

    • by Bryan3000000 (1356999) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:23PM (#31794300)
      Okay, you got your facts wrong. They pushed OOXML through a standards body to make it a new open standard, ostensibly to address the clamoring for interoperability. So really, it's not that they fail to support their own format, it's that they fail to support the format that they tried to set up as a new standard of interoperability.

      In other words, the point is that this kind of proves that Microsoft rammed the OOXML standard through not to help achieve interoperability, but to prevent governments and companies from switching to other standards which truly do provide openness and a greater level of interoperability. It's evidence of further anticompetitive conduct by a company with a functional monopoly.
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

        You are right, of course. Indeed, OOXML has been approved by ISO as a standard. So by my own criterion of "I care about support for standards", Microsoft not supporting it is a big deal.

        On the other hand, I have a hard time taking OOXML seriously as a standard. Microsoft have never, as far as I know, released software that actually implemented the specification they pushed, and I am not aware of any plans by anyone else to do so. Knowing what an incredible abomination it is, I am not convinced that there wi

  • If ISO is a corporate standards body, then they are the Industry Standards Organization.

    IOW: ISO as an institution has failed the ISO purpose for existence, not the purpose of standards.

    ISO relevance in todays world is called into question as a corporate stooge, much like the US Congress, EU Parliament, and RU Kremlin governance bodies.

    US, EU, and RU (unlike China) support feudal world governance of Corporate-Socialism and Corporate-Welfare for the entitled elitist of the world.

    What ever happened to the Fr

  • for Office 14.999999999999999

How can you work when the system's so crowded?

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