Microsoft makes Office 2003 format public

Via Scoble, Microsoft has decided to make the Office 2003 format an ‘open standard’, and the XML Reference can now be downloaded from Microsoft.

There are a few very interesting bits in the XML Reference FAQ, especially about licensing issues and patents. Basically, Microsoft is trying to get a patent on the Office 2003 format, which they will probably get, but they will still allow anyone to use it, royalty-free. Doesn’t sound like Microsoft, I know, but that’s what the FAQ says.

This news will definitely help other Office packages, like OpenOffice.org to fully support the Office 2003 format. Hopefully we’ll see other interesting (open-source) programs using the Office format as well.

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