Sorry for the absence, I took a short break from work and blogging after the birth of our second child. Being a parent is a great blessing. It's just the signing up for 12 more months of 3-hour increments of sleep that I'm not so sure about J.
But it's back to work for me now, and it is a pleasure to return to some great news related to the adoption of Open XML. The Compatibility Pack, software that allows you to open, edit and save Open XML format documents in Office XP and 2003 has now been downloaded over 100 million times. This is quite a strong indicator of the global adoption of the Open XML formats. This is incredibly positive news.
As I discussed when we were at the 20 million mark, the compatibility pack is a manual download. It is not pushed through any update channels*. In order for an end user to obtain it, they must visit the Microsoft download center, select one of the 35 available languages, and download the 26MB installer. To say it differently, more than 100 million people have had cause to seek out and download the compatibility pack for Open XML; likely due to their encountering a document stored in one of the formats.
This number also does not include IT departments who have pushed the compatibility pack to users through tools such as WSUS or other software management services. Typically that would have a download count of 1, and a distribution count of thousands. I have worked on several of those projects with various customers. The number also excludes our OEM partners who have elected to distribute the compatibility pack. Two months ago I purchased an HP Laptop which came with the compatibility pack pre-installed.
Also worth noting is the conservative nature of this measurement. The statistic measures known, completed downloads, but we're also aware that in many cases, the download completes successfully even if we don't receive the feedback that it has. It is very likely the case that the number of actual end user downloads greatly exceeds 100 million. We're also not counting the # of downloads of the free viewers for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 either.
Combined with the outstanding traction of Office 2007 to date, we are now at a point where a substantial percentage of business productivity desktops are reading and writing Open XML documents.
This is also a good time to refresh this data. As of today, the gap between the number of indexed documents for Open XML and ODF is increasing. According to Google file type searches:
Oct 08 result
June 09 result
As I also said in my prior post on format adoption, however, relative to the 81 million binary Office documents indexed on Google, we have a long way to go. It's great to see that we're off to a great start on Open XML though.
*You can see from Microsoft Update that patches or updates to the compatibility pack are offered as automatic updates. The compatibility pack itself, however, is not available through any automatic update channels.
Doug Mahugh posted today on Interoperability – specifically the difficulty of enabling cross-application exchange of document formats. This represents one (important) aspect of the overall interoperability challenge, but I would like to set some context for this conversation in my blog. There is laser-sharp focus on XML-based document exchange fidelity & quality between Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and other business productivity suites. The broader category of data interchange however, is often left unaddressed. I'd like to open that window for a moment.
Countless solution providers for Office exist, a community built over time by providing and incredible breadth of capability enabling the development of powerful solutions. One of the core requirements for Office development is data connectivity and data portability. I'd like to take a moment to point folks at 3 resources on MSDN that illustrate various aspects of data portability for Office – hopefully to add a little context to our investments around interoperability, which is broad and deep in our products.
1. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb545041(office.11).aspx Frank Rice discusses how to create data connections in Excel 2007, at least at the most basic level. From here you can connect through OLE, OLAP, Web Services,
2. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197932.aspx Stephen Oliver discusses how to use content controls, data bindings, the Open XML SDK and custom-defined schema to introduce variable length repeating data items into Word templates.
3. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb332455.aspx Ken Getz discusses how to replace PowerPoint slide images
This extremely narrow slice of life within the Office partner community illustrates a very important concept – interoperability with Microsoft Office is a well-worn path, supported by thousands of software providers, developers, experts, and so on. http://msdn.microsoft.com/office provides a tremendous resource for those developers and partners.
We will continue to do our best to support not only the document interoperability scenarios that Doug outlines in his post, but also those that are important to Microsoft partners and solution providers, whose businesses depend on us, and to whom we are grateful for their lasting and continuing support.