5th December 2005 IBM has confirmed that its web-based desktop software, due to ship in early 2006, will support the OpenDocument Format (ODF).
ODF is an XML-based standard for office documents such as text files, spreadsheets and presentations, which was ratified in May 2005 by the OASIS standards body.
To date, IBM has endorsed the standard, but the Workplace suite will be the first products to ship that include support for ODF.
IBM executives will hope its support for ODF will loosen Microsoft’s stranglehold of the desktop software market, and to establish itself in that space in the developing world, by supporting an alternate, open format with its applications.
“The ODF standard is a key development in the management of corporate data and documents – organisations should not have to purchase any particular vendor’s software product to access their own data, and the ODF standard ensures that key information like financial records, government contracts, payroll data and other corporate information is usable and accessible, regardless of your software platform,” said Michael Rhodin, general manager of Workplace products at IBM.
Microsoft announced only last month that the forthcoming version of its widely used desktop suite, Office 12, would produce documents in an open document format of its own, Open Office XML.