Rob Weir did some tests of the new Microsoft Office 2007 SP2, which is supposed to provide support for the Open Document Format, ODF, out of the box. From his tests of an ODF spreadsheet, ODF files created by Office 2007 SP2 can be interpreted only by Office 2007 SP2 and no other application that supports ODF. And Office 2007 SP2 cannot read/interpret ODF files created by any other application. And we’re talking about a large number of applications here: OpenOffice, Google Docs, KSpread, IBM Symphony, Sun’s ODF Plugin, and the CleverAge ODF plugin.
Interestingly, all the other applications are able to create ODF spreadsheets that are readable by each other, except in the case of the old version of KSpread, which the reviewer used for reasons given in the article. So it’s not the case that the ODF format does not give enough details for spreadsheet formulas to be properly interpreted. Everybody else managed to implement it correctly.
Is this a case of Microsoft paying lip service to standards, so that they can gain inroads into governments’ procurement systems that demand open standard document support? If so, it means that they think all government officials are suckers and idiots.
If that’s not the case, then you’ll have to blame the Microsoft developers: are they so imcompetent that they cannot implement an open standard when everyone else and their grandmother has implemented it correctly? And it’s not as though they cannot see how the others have implemented it: OpenOffice is open source after all. Perhaps they will say ODF is not clear where spreadsheet formulas are concerned. Then how is it every other application is able to implement it correctly?