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MacBytes
Dec 5, 2006, 04:50 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: 3rd Party Hardware
Link: The lock-out begins for Office Mac users (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20061205175017)
Description:: The launch of Office 2007 for Windows signals the beginning of a long lock-out for Office for Mac users, who will be unable to read the new file formats.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

dialectician
Dec 5, 2006, 05:04 PM
damned. bloody micro$oft did it again... i wish there was an alternative out there that could get you around these compatibility issues. but with the m$ dominance of the market, there's not much chance of that.

psychofreak
Dec 5, 2006, 05:06 PM
How long do you think until open/neooffice supports these formats?

furious
Dec 5, 2006, 05:11 PM
a month or more. :confused:

xsedrinam
Dec 5, 2006, 05:13 PM
I took the following quote from the article to mean the lock-out will not be that long, if at all, with free downloadable converters for the .docx files.

"A spokesperson for the MBU reminded APC of its promise at WWDC that "free downloadable converters would be available" following the release of Office 2007 for Windows, but was unable to tell us when.
"Unfortunately it is still to early for us to say when the converters will be available", she said."

Of course, that's the optimistic slant. How that will play out remains to be seen. Meanwhile, I'll continue using Office 2004 for Mac, when necessary, and hope for the best.

Queso
Dec 5, 2006, 05:18 PM
I wouldn't panic just yet. The numbers of Office 2007 users are going to be tiny for the next few months at least. Novell have already said they'll have the converters ready for OpenOffice in January, so the NeoOffice team will soon incorporate them into their suite, forcing the MacBU to get their arses in gear.

I reckon we'll see the converters released at MacWorld.

bousozoku
Dec 5, 2006, 05:19 PM
It might not be as big a deal as it could be. It sounds more like incentive to buy newer versions of the software.

I'd be surprised if various companies find the change unappealing and go into the Options panel and change the default document type, of course if that's possible.

Microsoft has always been a pain for import/export. It shouldn't be a surprise that they're making life difficult for customers.

Why do people continue to buy into their arrogance? You don't have to answer--I know it already.

Queso
Dec 5, 2006, 05:22 PM
And straight from the horse's mouth, the MacBU's own blog site (http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/archive/2006/12/05/converters-coming-free-and-fairly-fast.aspx)

Converters Coming! Free and (Fairly) Fast.

There's been some pretty alarmist news stories this morning (apcstart.com; CrunchGear) about file format converters and Office for Mac. Because some of these stories seem designed more to inflame than inform, I want to reiterate our previously reported intention to provide free converters, clarify our timing for their release, and also give some direction on how best to avoid incompatibility until they are available.

Be it resolved: The Mac BU WILL issue free, downloadable file format converters that allow users to read the new Microsoft Office Open XML Format. We announced that publicly at WWDC, and nothing has changed.

Timing: We’re working on our file format converters as I write. We had to wait until Office 2007 bits and the new file format itself were locked down. During this time, we spent the last year and a half prepping and planning for our own development of file format converters for Office for Mac. This included the basic supporting work of a rich and compatible XML parser, code to understand the new package structure, and beginning work on reading and writing early development versions of the file format. So now that Office for Windows has been released, we are working on completing compatibility with the released formats, while also completing other major work such as moving our codebase to the Intel platform, which we have discussed at some length on this very blog and elsewhere. We are running on target and expect to release a free public beta version of the file format converters in Spring 2007, with final converters available six to eight weeks after we launch our next version of Office for Mac (which, as previously reported, will be available 6-8 months after general availability of Win Office.) The next version of Office for Mac will natively read the Open XML Format; users of the current version of Office will have converters in order to maintain compatibility with the new Office for Windows.

There will be a delta between general availability of Win Office (January) and converters from MacBU (expected late March/early April.) We realize this will be an inconvenience for some of you (trust me, we know - 90% of Microsoft has been dogfooding Office 2007 for many months, and we in the MacBU are well used to asking for down-reved versions ourselves). For now, we recommend that Mac users advise their friends and colleagues using Office 2007 to save their documents as a “Word/Excel/PowerPoint 97-2003 Document” (.doc, .xls, .ppt) to ensure the documents can be shared across platforms.

April it is then.

SMM
Dec 5, 2006, 05:28 PM
I had a meeting with our managers and executive committee a couple weeks back. I told them we are not upgrading to Vista, or Office 2007, for at least two years. After showing them the projected cost/benefit analysis, a couple people raised the question, "Why ever upgrade"?

Queso
Dec 5, 2006, 05:33 PM
After showing them the projected cost/benefit analysis, a couple people raised the question, "Why ever upgrade"?
That's an easy one. Sooner or later Microsoft will drop support for the older versions. Better to plan the upgrade than have it forced upon you, if you're staying on MS software that is.

bousozoku
Dec 5, 2006, 07:09 PM
I had a meeting with our managers and executive committee a couple weeks back. I told them we are not upgrading to Vista, or Office 2007, for at least two years. After showing them the projected cost/benefit analysis, a couple people raised the question, "Why ever upgrade"?

Have your software vendors, if any exist, been considering an escape plan to another operating system or will they force you to upgrade eventually?

Analog Kid
Dec 6, 2006, 05:04 AM
This drives me nuts...

And wasn't Microsoft making a big stink about how long it took Mac users to adopt OS X back in the day?

bigandy
Dec 6, 2006, 05:47 AM
This drives me nuts...

And wasn't Microsoft making a big stink about how long it took Mac users to adopt OS X back in the day?

personally i don't see what the deal is. i have office 2007 (from MSDN) on my windows box, and office 2004 on my mac. i have no problems saving in the 2003 format (which is a prominient option), and there aren't any features i've found that really take advantage of the new XML format.

plus it's not generally available, and won't have a big pickup until after April 2007, so what's the big deal?

:rolleyes:

emptyCup
Dec 6, 2006, 05:52 AM
I have no doubt that there will be converters between new and old versions of Office. However, even though there was a well orchestrated campaign against Fair Play, it is rarely mentioned that most of the world's documents are locked into Word format. I have several huge documents which I had to write in Word for compatibility with others. I have not found any other word processor whose conversion was not seriously "lossy".

Queso
Dec 6, 2006, 05:56 AM
plus it's not generally available, and won't have a big pickup until after April 2007, so what's the big deal?

:rolleyes:
Exactly. Apart from a few early adopters who will know how to do the save-as-2003-format thing, nobody is going to be using Office 2007 for a few months yet. And it's going to be 2008 at least before the new formats become the default that people attach to e-mails.

The only Mac users that need to worry about this are those on Office v.X or below, but even they aren't going to be left out if NeoOffice adds the filters.

Snowy_River
Dec 6, 2006, 10:54 AM
Office domination irritates me.

I submitted my resume to a job recently. They invited resumes to be submitted using email. So, I did, and I sent them a PDF format file. They sent an email back saying "We were unable to read the file that you sent us. Please resend your resume in the standard WORD format. Thank you."

That Word should be considered a more standard format for reading files than PDF is disgusting. Sure, if I was sending them a document that they would want to make changes to, I can understand it a little more, but what business do they have doing anything other than reading my resume?

A little more on topic, I wonder how long it will take for Pages to get read/write ability in DOCX. One could argue that it shouldn't take that long, given that Pages already has a fully built in XML parser, so it only needs the appropriate instruction set as to how to interpret the XML from DOCX.

nagromme
Dec 6, 2006, 03:17 PM
I simply use TextEdit to open Word docs. Anyone know whether these convertors will be standalone apps available to all? Or plug-ins that only owners of Word can use?

Queso
Dec 6, 2006, 06:13 PM
I simply use TextEdit to open Word docs. Anyone know whether these convertors will be standalone apps available to all? Or plug-ins that only owners of Word can use?
The official Microsoft ones will only work with Office 2004. However, they've already said that the formats will be opened up to other software companies so that 100% compatible applications can be developed. Novell have already said they're taking advantage of this and are adding code to make OpenOffice read and write to the formats. I see no reason why Apple won't do the same with their software.

wmmk
Dec 6, 2006, 08:56 PM
I simply use TextEdit to open Word docs. Anyone know whether these convertors will be standalone apps available to all? Or plug-ins that only owners of Word can use?

Nobody knows yet, but we are talking about m$;)

MacsRgr8
Dec 7, 2006, 04:47 AM
April....

We know about dog years, but we also know about Micro$oft years.

So somewhere in the summer of '07 Mac users with their non-UB version of Office 2004 can finally open the Office 2007 doc(x).
Wouldn't surprise me to see the launch of Office 2007 for Mac about 2 weeks later.

Let's just hope not too many people will use Office 2007... otherwise us Mac-users will be "the incompatible suckers" once again.... (even if the update will be released in April, it still is almost half a year away).

Once, the world will be free of M$ Office. That would be so great.
Just open standards and freedom of choice to use tha app to create and edit these documents.

nplima
Dec 7, 2006, 06:37 AM
For now, we recommend that Mac users advise their friends and colleagues using Office 2007 to save their documents as a “Word/Excel/PowerPoint 97-2003 Document” (.doc, .xls, .ppt) to ensure the documents can be shared across platforms.

LOL

OASIS, Opendocument is now a ISO standard, however it's the clients, not microsoft, that have to work hard to ensure compatibility across different versions of the same software... software they paid through the nose.

hehehe

masochistic thread of the month :D

Rodimus Prime
Dec 7, 2006, 10:47 AM
the problem that going to come up is when M$ gets Office 2007 out to colleges though their agreements. A lot of the larger university's have contracts with M$ that allow them to give M$ projects to the students for either dirt cheap (less than 20 and most of the time less than 10 bucks) or free via download.
Given how long it took my college to get office 2003 I would say with in 2 months the colleges will have it. Which means the student bodies there will switch over with in 1 month of that. That is where most Mac users will be in trouble. The converted needs to be out before colleges get office 2007 to give out it its students for free.

mkrishnan
Dec 7, 2006, 10:52 AM
Mmm, but even then it will be a non-issue. Look at the reports... at the END of 2007 or even the beginning of 2008, the percentage of managed installation *Windows* computers using Office 07 is going to be very low.

Think about what this means...yes, students at Universities and other home users will start having the Office 2007 programs pre-loaded or installed on their computers. But no one who is using a work computer -- including all of their professors -- will have 07, whether they're using Windows or OS X.

This happened before with the transition to ... Office 2000, I think. And everyone quickly set their computers to default to the cross-compatible Office file version. And life went on.

I don't think this is going to be a big deal. The first ten or twenty idiot undergrads will submit files for credit to their professors that can't be read because their professors are using Office 2000 or maybe 2003. And they will get sent back with a "request" for a compatible copy.

The same thing will happen in industry. Many, if not most, people are sending files back and forth over company walls... and so even if their company deploys 07, the chances are good for the next several years that they will have clients or suppliers who do not use it.

Even if the install base for Office 07 develops well, given the issues with managed installations, the new office format will take YEARS to become a de-facto standard....

Qunchuy
Dec 7, 2006, 01:29 PM
"dogfooding"?

Queso
Dec 7, 2006, 02:04 PM
"dogfooding"?
From "Eating your own dogfood" - using the stuff you create so you can work out what's wrong with it before passing it to your customers.

xsedrinam
Dec 13, 2006, 12:33 AM
I wondered if anyone has had cause to use docx-converter (http://docx-converter.com/) online tool with any success? Aside from the standard TextEdit or BBEdit use, Macfixit (http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20061211233518577) has how to change the docx to .zip files and go from there.