OpenXML & ODF was never a zero-sum game
I've lost count of how many times I've said this, and how many times when I've been told that Microsoft would never implement ODF I've replied with a "why not?" or "never say never". So I will enjoy watching reactions to the announcement that:-
The 2007 Microsoft Office system already provides support for 20 different document formats within Microsoft Office Word, Office Excel and Office PowerPoint. With the release of Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) scheduled for the first half of 2009, the list will grow to include support for XML Paper Specification (XPS), Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5, PDF/A and Open Document Format (ODF) v1.1.
In addition, Microsoft has defined a road map for its implementation of the newly ratified International Standard ISO/IEC 29500 (Office Open XML). IS29500, which was approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in March, is already substantially supported in Office 2007, and the company plans to update that support in the next major version release of the Microsoft Office system, code-named “Office 14.”
On the one hand, Office 2007 SP2 will include OASIS ODF 1.1 support, Microsoft will join the OASIS ODF Technical Committee, and users will be able to set ODF to be the default format in the same way they would for other Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
On the other hand, Office 14 will incorporate the BRM changes to OpenXML adopted as part of IS29500.
Customers get both. Customers get increased choice, including both PDF and XPS support.
Doug Mahugh explains that in addition:-
"We anticipate that some developers may want to take over the default ODF load and save paths, so that they can plug in their own translators for ODF, and we'll be providing an API in SP2 that enables this scenario. This means that if a developer disagrees with the details of our approach and would like to implement ODF for Office in a different way, they're free to do so and can set it up such that when a user opens an ODT attached to an email or from their desktop, it will be loaded through their ODF code path."
and he's posted a screen shot from a pre-release copy of Office 2007 SP2 which shows the file save dialogue
IBM's Ed Brill notes that
... at some point in 2009, it looks like customers will really get to a point of choice and flexibility -- with Microsoft as a leader.
and PSC's John Head is quoted in the press release saying
I am very pleased that Microsoft is enabling Microsoft Office to support ODF directly from the software. This will allow us to develop solutions that create documents that can be edited by any user, regardless of what software or operating system they use. In a world where software companies want people to select one software package for their entire user base, the reality is that different user groups and types need options. Microsoft is now enabling users to make that choice. This is a very smart move by Microsoft, and one that lets the most important person — the customer — be the winner.
It never was a zero sum game - it was always about customers winning.