Home > Microsoft > What’s behind Microsoft’s Office moves? What’s behind Microsoft’s Office moves? Submitted by Gepeto 2003-12-01 Microsoft 14 Comments Looming competitive and regulatory pressures factored into Microsoft’s recent decision to reveal formerly secret pieces of its latest Office software, according to analysts. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 14 Comments 2003-12-01 6:25 pm that the recent news about the EU coming up with a standard open file format for all government business will go away once they have an open file format the can be freely used and distributed with products. their hope is that competitors like Sun will make extensive use of their new file formats, making the MS Office formats “standard” in the new competitive landscape. 2003-12-01 6:46 pm If I understand this correctly, OOo could now (as of Dec 5th) take the XML formatting information from MS Office and make the interopertability even greater. This could only strengthen OOo and its ability to become the MSO replacement. Heck, they did such a good job that OOo works 98% of the time for me as it is, but this could make it 100% of the time! I don’t think this will help MS in the long run, but then again…I am not a multibillionaire either. 2003-12-01 6:54 pm Just letting the best package be the choice… and at the moment, MSO IS the best package… it can do what OOo can do pretty much but a lot more… I would still hope that GoBe Productive would get back on it again, that’d be neat… 2003-12-01 7:18 pm I don’t think OOo is good enough (yet) to start talking about it as a replacement for MS Office. I use it on a day to day basis, and it does everything _I_ need; but I know people who do a lot more with their office suite than I do, and according to them it just isn’t there yet; when they use OOo (and they do from time to time), they complain about features that aren’t there or that don’t work as well as they do in MS Office. They also have issues importing/exporting files to MS; straightforward documents don’t give them trouble, but they’ve complained about files that contain diagrams/pictures. That said — with more large companies getting behind Linux on the desktop, my hope is that OOo will see more heavy development and rapid improvement. I’d love to see a free and completely viable office alternative; the market sure as heck needs one. Disclaimer: As I said, OOo does everything I need it too; thus, what I’m saying isn’t from personal experience, but from the complaints of friends. I (they) may be wrong. 2003-12-01 7:40 pm “I don’t think OOo is good enough (yet) to start talking about it as a replacement for MS Office. I use it on a day to day basis, and it does everything _I_ need; but I know people who do a lot more with their office suite than I do, and according to them it just isn’t there yet; when they use OOo (and they do from time to time), they complain about features that aren’t there or that don’t work as well as they do in MS Office. ” You see, I am not so sure this is even a problem with OOo. Rather, it is a problem with the idea that OOo IS an MSO clone. It is, sorta. If it is a clone, then it SHOULD do the same things exactly the same way. But if it isn’t a clone, but instead a replacement, it should do the same things, but maybe not the same way. I remember when Adobe Photoshop released a new version and all my graphics friends started to complain because all their precious keybindings where changed. Then, a couple of weeks later, the same friends told me they actually liked the new keybindings better than the old ones. What if OOo does the same thing, but in a different manner? Do you save bookmarks the same in IE as you do in Mozilla? Theoretically, yes, practially, no. IE has “favorites”, Mozilla has “Bookmarks” etc etc. That being said, I think that it takes very little time for someone to learn the ins and outs of OOo and can be doing complex stuff very quickly. “They also have issues importing/exporting files to MS; straightforward documents don’t give them trouble, but they’ve complained about files that contain diagrams/pictures.” That is what I am saying could be solved with this news. This would be one less percieved problem that OOo has. 2003-12-01 7:42 pm If this all happens as one would expect (that is TRUE open schemas), this could make things VERY interesting. Several possibilities emerge: – A variety of custom applications capable of generating Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents…these custom applications specialized for certain tasks…rather than the “Swiss Army Knife” that Office is. – A revival of thing like “Works” application suites which are more consumer/home user friendly but suffer from file format incompatbility. This is a variation on the first suggestion. – Competitors (across platforms such as OS X, Linux AND Windows) come out in support of this file format, providing a “better office than office” proposition. These are simply the three most likely possibilities. Interesting times ahead. I hope anyway. 2003-12-01 7:45 pm I agree with you in principle. But since MS Office has become the de facto standard, any competitor will have to have equal functionality. That doesn’t mean everything will have to be done exactly the same way, but it means that features used on a regular basis will all have to be implemented, and they will have to be implemented as well as they are in the “standard” software: they will have to be as smooth, as functional, and as easy to figure out. For what I do, I feel that’s the case already. Others who use more features than I do feel differently. 2003-12-01 7:57 pm I’m no lawyer, so I am curious if anyone has deciphered MS’s intent with the patent license? Is this some “hook” to ultimately be able to pull the rug out if they ever need/want to? 2003-12-01 8:46 pm nope 2003-12-01 8:55 pm Does anybody still believe M$ would do such a thing without an intent to strenghten their position? Sure, it would be great if they did this thing without a hook, open up the office-suite market and all, but they won’t. Most likely the XML will be stuffed with GUIDs, crippled in a non-standard way, use weak (=faulty) XML only their implementation can cope with, you name it. They killed the last bit of my belief with their .NET stuff. Wonder when the truth will pop up in your brains Call me a troll, but I just couldn’t hold from writing at least one counter-post. 2003-12-01 10:05 pm “Most likely the XML will be stuffed with GUIDs, crippled in a non-standard way, use weak (=faulty) XML only their implementation can cope with, you name it.” It isn’t like that at all. If you want to see for yourself, just download the Content Development Kit (CDK) which has been available since Office 2003 was in beta. http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/downloads/li… 2003-12-01 10:57 pm Given this news, it would not be unreasonable to expect non-MS office suites to become more popular as import/exporting of documents becomes a relatively easier process (I know – I’ve tried reverse engineering some much simpler stuff, and it’s hard!). The dominance of Office may suffer and applications from organisations, both proprietary and open source may become more popular. However, given MS’s relatively slow development cycles (a new suite every 2-3 years on average?) compared with the speed of development in FOSS, who thinks it likely that the FOSS versions will speed ahead of MS Office, leaving MS to play catch-up? Interesting indeed. ps – please, none of this “but open source doesn’t innovate” argument. Remember, the first graphical web browser (Mosaic) was open source software. 2003-12-02 8:20 am There are certain things that the XML file format does not do. I had a spreadsheet made in Office 2000 which had scenarios and the like. These cannot be saved in xml files. How hard can that be. The whole XML thing seem to me to be kind of like the whole POSIX compliance thing. Its there somewhat, but its not for interoperability. More likely, they can be able to say we are interoperable, but the real issue is that people who are locked in are still locked in. The kind of files you can save in XML are just the kind that are probably very easy for OOo to import. I tried it myself, and that is my experience with it. If they were really interested in interoperability, they would simply open their office formats. 2003-12-02 9:47 am Office 2000 (and XP) didn’t have complete parity with the doc format. Office 2003’s WordML does.