Update: Brian Jones has a blog with more information. Not a whole lot more yet, but more. For example the default stroage will be zipped XML. The XML will be "fully documented". A royalty-free license is mentioned with no hints as to what it provides. However on their press site comes this encourage news...
PressPass: Won't this make it easier for your competitors to copy Microsoft Office?So now I mainly wonder a few things...
Sinofsky: Certainly this will make it easier for other developers to use our formats to build solutions that don't require Office. However, the ability of other technology providers to use the new file format to integrate their solutions with the Microsoft Office System is an important and frequently requested capability by the industry. We feel it's to everyone's advantage to respond. Customers also know that the true value of a desktop application is not the format in which data is stored but the full breadth of capabilities offered by that application, along with the quality and security of the user experience that it provides.
- Hopefully "fully documented" means what you would hope it means.
- Hopefully "other technology providers to use the new file format to integrate" means what you hope it would mean.
- Hopefully, since they apparently will not support Open Document format, "integration" is as easy as you would hope it would be.
What does it mean these days to anyone knowledgeable enough to care to say that you store your data "in XML format" without saying anything meaningful about what that format actually is.
My interpretation of this contentless "news" about content is that it serves as FUD given the recent ballyhoo about OASIS and the Open Document format. I have seen no other meaningful information to suggest an alternative explanation.
Unwittingly the typical customer says, "Why switch to another office suite when Microsoft is also publishing 'in XML format'".