Office 2007 SP2 reduces interoperability – tough luck?

1 minute read

Jeremy Allison over at ZDNet has just posted an article where in a nutshell he states that Microsoft broke the interoperability of the ODF format between Office 2007 and other implementations of this format. According to this gentleman, the guys over at Microsoft are mean little bastards because they implemented the ODF standard verbatim. Whoa, whoa, whoa little Timmy!

Last I checked, there was a war going on towards Microsoft because they were mean chauvinistic bastards who insisted on not making Internet Explorer more standards compliant, because the standards were the way to go and anything other than the standards just breaks pages on browsers that implement the standard. I totally agree with this point, but by the same measure, I have to disagree with this ODF quarrel.

With SP2, Microsoft implemented the ODF specification to its fullest. Then there are other implementations like OpenOffice’s that have additions to the specification, but that aren’t part of the standard! Yet, it is Microsoft that people come out to the streets to criticize, and not the people who engineered a poorly designed standard. Please, don’t take me wrong. I am also against OOXML, but that doesn’t mean that the alternatives are perfect and perhaps Microsoft is just proving a point amongst narrow-minded people who don’t care for a little reasoning.

Want spreadsheets to properly support formulas in ODF? Make it part of the friggin’ standard! Don’t expect Microsoft to deviate from the standard for interop’s sake, especially now when you have before criticized the company for not being standards-compliant.

My bottom-line is: who is to decide whether a standard should be implemented in a strict manner or not? And to which extent should interop efforts be made? All in all, if Microsoft designs interoperability towards OpenOffice, it might just break things with another Office Suite that decided to implement things differently.