Novell To Support Microsoft Office File Format In OpenOffice

"Novell is cooperating with Microsoft and others on a project to create bidirectional, open-source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between and Microsoft Office," said a Novell statement issued Monday morning.

The word processing translator will be out first and is slated to be released in late January. The translators will be offered as plug-ins.

The news comes just days after Corel, the maker of WordPerfect Office, said it will support Office Open XML and Microsoft's business launch of Office 2007.

Office Open XML is the default format for the new Microsoft Office. Novell continues to push the OpenDocument format as the default file format in OpenOffice "because it provides customer choice and flexibility, but interoperability with Microsoft Office has also been critical to the success of," Novell CTO Nat Friedman said in the company's statement. Users can elect to save documents to a number of formats.

Sponsored post

It was unclear if this latest detente between Microsoft and Novell is directly related to the Linux-Windows pact the two companies announced last month. In the weeks since that deal was announced, the parties have bickered over whether it includes patent indemnification. As part of the earlier agreement -- pitched as an attempt to ease interoperability, virtualization and integration between Windows and Linux platforms -- Microsoft bought SUSE Linux support coupons that it can resell to its customers.

Many industry observers saw the Novell-Microsoft pact as a tacit acknowledgement by Microsoft that Linux is here to stay. OpenOffice, basically a free clone of Office, runs on Linux and other operating systems.

Office Open XML has been pitched by Microsoft as an open file format for the new Office 2007 and has been submitted to the Ecma International technical committee.

Microsoft Office is by far the market leader in office productivity suites, with most researchers putting its share at more than 90 percent. However, virtually all of that share is in older versions of the product, and open-source advocates have said that OpenOffice has gained traction as customers have pushed back against Microsoft's pricing and licensing practices. Novell claims there are 100 million OpenOffice users.