Microsoft says Office 2007 XML support coming to Macs eventually

“The Mac BU WILL issue free, downloadable file format converters that allow users to read the new Microsoft Office Open XML Format. We announced that publicly at WWDC, and nothing has changed,” Sheridan Jones writes on Microsoft’s Office for Mac Blog.

Jones writes, “Timing: We’re working on our file format converters as I write. We had to wait until Office 2007 bits and the new file format itself were locked down. During this time, we spent the last year and a half prepping and planning for our own development of file format converters for Office for Mac. This included the basic supporting work of a rich and compatible XML parser, code to understand the new package structure, and beginning work on reading and writing early development versions of the file format. So now that Office for Windows has been released, we are working on completing compatibility with the released formats, while also completing other major work such as moving our codebase to the Intel platform, which we have discussed at some length on this very blog and elsewhere. We are running on target and expect to release a free public beta version of the file format converters in Spring 2007, with final converters available six to eight weeks after we launch our next version of Office for Mac (which, as previously reported, will be available 6-8 months after general availability of Win Office.) The next version of Office for Mac will natively read the Open XML Format; users of the current version of Office will have converters in order to maintain compatibility with the new Office for Windows.”

Jones writes, “There will be a delta between general availability of Win Office (January) and converters from MacBU (expected late March/early April.) We realize this will be an inconvenience for some of you (trust me, we know – 90% of Microsoft has been dogfooding Office 2007 for many months, and we in the MacBU are well used to asking for down-reved versions ourselves). For now, we recommend that Mac users advise their friends and colleagues using Office 2007 to save their documents as a “Word/Excel/PowerPoint 97-2003 Document” (.doc, .xls, .ppt) to ensure the documents can be shared across platforms.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The lumbering, bloated, mess of an office suite is exceeded only in “lumbering, bloated, messiness” by the company that produces it. Jones needs to use her Mac to look up the word “delta,” by the way. She means “gulf,” we think. There should be zero lag time for these converters if the company responsible was operating properly. This isn’t that hard, especially if you produced the format in the first place. Microsoft is a mess.

Fact: A large majority of people think the “blue e” is the Internet. Asking them to save their documents in what they will believe to be a “special” format is akin to banging your head on the nearest wall nonstop. These people won’t save their documents in a compatible format reliably, if at all. All they will really do is end up believing that “those Apples aren’t compatible. I’d never get one of those.” Surely Microsoft has no problem with that misperception getting widespread release for 3-4 months.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft’s Office 2007 for Windows saves documents in Mac-incompatible format – December 05, 2006
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003

21 Comments

  1. The time difference (i.e., “delta”) not a big deal, especially when you realize that older WinOffice users will also not be able to read the new files (right?). Much more importantly, the fact that M$ has now created an OPEN standard for new Office files is HUGE–Apple and other software developers should be free to adopt that format in new word processing or spreadsheet programs that would be fully compatible with the rest of the world!! That means Apple can finally come out with a new iWork, Numbers, etc. and many of us who need full compatibility can finally evaluate M$ Office against competitors on an even footing!
    Can’t wait…
    Jake

  2. I use Excel 2007 for business purposes, here’s why:
    16384 columns rather than 256
    1048576 rows rather than 65535
    Multi-core calculation support

    So, it’s much better for ‘real work’ and it is way faster. Yeah!

    Want the Mac version to do same soon too. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    The ribbon (replaces menus and toolbars) is actually pretty cool, and I’d like to see this in Mac version too.

    QUESTION: if Mac Office 2004 and Win Office 2003 support Excel file format for Open XML Format 2007 does this mean they will support the new large spreadsheet sized?

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