As I troll the blogosphere and reporting on Open XML and ODF, I notice a question has surfaced regarding the future of Open XML that is probably worth addressing.
Many have asked or speculated that the recent announcement of ODF in Service Pack 2 is an indication that Microsoft is quietly stepping away from Open XML. Some ask… "Is Microsoft abandoning Open XML?"
In a word, no.
Microsoft will continue to support the development of the specification and the adoption of the Open XML formats, in addition to the other work we are driving around document formats in Office.
I hope this is as unambiguous and clear as it is intended to be.
We will continue to drive adoption of the compatibility pack for Open XML, which has now surpassed 40 Million individual downloads and gaining significant uptake in large-scale deployments. We will continue to ship developer tools, translators, code samples, documentation, MSDN content and other material intended to educate people on how Open XML can help them solve specific business problems. Open XML is prominently featured in many Office Business Applications. Our engagement on the DAISY Translator has been a huge help in the Accessibility community. There are lots of great positives for Open XML momentum.
In the end, Open XML is still the better choice for the compatibility and line-of-business interoperability scenarios we have discussed throughout its history.
ODF also provides us with opportunities for improving interoperability with other products and solutions, and we're happy to embrace those as well. Our addition of ODF to SP2 for 2007 was done for the reasons outlined in my previous post. As some of you have already seen, we've taken a step to engage the community by inviting members of the ODF TC to visit Redmond and take a look at what is being implemented, and we are working very hard to ensure our implementation of the format passes muster with the ODF community (although I must admit I found the spin on that invitation to be a little surprising).
But always know that while we are working on ODF moving forward, we will remain committed to Open XML and believe that it will be the format of choice for large parts of the global community.
Today we will release the beta version of Microsoft Producer for Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 via our Connect site. This version of Producer works with PowerPoint 2007, Windows Vista, and IE7, and is also compatible with Open XML. This is a long-awaited add-in for many customers, we're happy to be on the final path to getting it out the door.
In case you're not familiar with Producer, it is a free add-in which enables PowerPoint users to capture, synchronize, and publish audio, video, slides, and images to create engaging rich media presentations that can be viewed in a web browser.
We're running the beta until June 30, 2008, and then will review the feedback we received from customers. We're planning to release the final version of Producer 2007 to the Office Download Center in the Jul/Aug'08 timeframe.
Here's how you can access the Producer 2007 beta:
Click here to jump to the Connect site or type http://www.connect.microsoft.com in your web browser.
Click Sign In and enter your Windows Live ID.
Click the Connection Directory tab, and then click Office in the Categories list in the left-hand navigation pane.
Scroll through the list of available Connections and locate the Producer for PowerPoint 2007 Beta.
When you have found the link for the Producer beta site, click the + Add to Your Dashboard link displayed next to it.
Click the Producer for PowerPoint 2007 Beta link to go to the beta site.
If you can't find the Producer beta site in Connect, check back later today. It will be posted during the day today. You can also learn more about Producer from the PowerPoint team's blog here .