Office 2004 and advanced XML features

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 21st, 2004 • 11:29 pm

You need to go to New Zealand to finally find an article that scratches below the surface of the official press release propaganda and actually provides information about what the next version of Office for the Macintosh, Office 2004, will or will not include.

And the truth is that it will, once again, be a crippled version of its Windows counterpart, especially when it comes to advanced XML features.

I love the way the author of the article carefully places words like “fixes” between quotation marks, as if to indicate quite clearly that features in Microsoft products that purport to “fix” things need to be taken with a big grain of salt.

I am not sure how I feel about this latest bit of news. On the one hand, it reveals Microsoft’s claims of cross-platform compatibility as what they have always been, i.e. a theory that is often contradicted by real-life experiences. On the other hand, I suspect that it will be years before Windows users actually start making use of all these advanced XML features, because, like all new features in Microsoft products, they will be poorly implemented, with an atrocious interface, and most Word users will continue to use their fancy software as a glorified typewriter.

So the news that Office 2004 will not support some of the features of documents produced by recent versions of Office for Windows might not be such a big deal. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Microsoft will have turned some of these features on by default and that Office for Windows users will start creating Office documents with incompatible features without even knowing it. I guess we’ll see what happens.

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