It wasnt announced by Bill Gates loudly to the world at the Professional Developer Conference a few weeks ago. It also wasnt proclaimed to the Microsoft faithful at its recent Most Valuable Professional Global Summit.
No, instead, Microsoft quietly squeaked out the news on a Saturday afternoon in Microsoft Office Program Manager Brian Jones Weblog.
Could it be that its because Microsoft is backing its way into ever so reluctantly supporting an open format after Massachusetts decided that it would only use office suites that supported open formats like PDF and OpenDocument?
It certainly looks that way to me.
For all of its talk about being an innovator, Microsoft is really just a follower.
Sometimes, of course, the company is a very, very reluctant follower. It took Microsofts leadership forever to live down the fact that they had initially dismissed the Internet. Now, I see Microsoft slowly and painfully embracing open standards.
Mind you, this move is just a beginning. I recently pointed out that it would be trivial for Microsoft to add OpenDocument support to Office.
I dont see that happening anytime soon now though.
With PDF support alone, Microsoft can still try for Massachusetts government contracts without having to add OpenDocument.