In a move which caught a lot of people off guard Microsoft announced that they'll be providing support for the Open Document Format in Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (due for 1H 2009).

I'm not surprised following Microsoft's interoperability pledge a couple of months ago, this makes perfect sense. It sends a clear message to the EU to get off their backs as they're no longer supporting just one ISO standard but two. It halts all the criticism that Office 2007 doesn't support ODF - which means Office 2007 will be able to compete on a level playing ground with things like OpenOffice and StarOffice - an area where Office 2007 wins hands down.

I am somewhat annoyed that we'll have to wait until Office "14" to get Open XML up to the ISO specification. Sure most of the changes are minor like yes/no being replaced by true/false but it would of been nice to get it over and done with in SP2.

PDF and XPS support are also coming baked in. I am amused about the amount of talk in the blogosphere about how desperate Microsoft must be for Office to output PDF documents. Seemingly nobody remembers two years back when Adobe lawyers prevented Microsoft from doing just that with Adobe's so called "open" (ha!) standard, forcing Microsoft instead to have a downloadable add-on for Office. It's good to have it baked in now, but why are people so surprised?

Good move, now all the major office suits will support the same formats going forward.