Corel announces 'neutral' approach as Microsoft gears up for big launches
Wordperfect Office suite is to support both Microsoft's new Open XML office formats and Open Document Format (ODF), which has been adopted by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) as an open standard.
The announcement by developer Corel came on the day set for the enterprise launch of Microsoft’s next-generation Office 2007 office suite, which introduces Open XML. Also launching today are the new Vista and Exchange Server 2007 operating systems for enterprises. The consumer launch is due at the end of January.
Some government organisations, including the EC, have expressed reservations about Open XML which they say is not an open standard because Microsoft controls its development.
Microsoft has nevertheless submitted it to the European standards body ETSI for approval, which is a first step towards ISO acceptance. And it is working with Linux publisher Novell to allow Office 2007 to import and export ODF. Both ODF and Microsoft’s formats are based on Extended Markup Language (XML).
Corel’s ODF support could get it some sales in organisations that believe there should be an open global format for documents. It will not support the formats until the middle of next year.
Corel claimed in a statement that it is the only company to adopt a “format neutral” approach to address the needs of its customers. Richard Carriere, Corel’s general manager of office productivity, said: "Corel is and will continue to be a strong supporter of open standards.
“The XML format roadmap for Corel Wordperfect Office reflects our clear focus on responding to the needs of our customers, especially those in government who are making significant efforts to adopt open standards.
"Because it is free, truly open and certified as an ISO standard, many customers see ODF as the most promising format for the future of office productivity. Yet upon the debut of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft OOXML will immediately experience broad dissemination."
Wordperfect was for years the dominant word processor but lost out to Word when PCs moved from text-based Dos programs to the graphical Windows environment, which gave Microsoft designers an advantage.
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