For the last couple of months, I‘ve been focusing on Office 12.


One of the really cool new features is the new Office Open XML File Formats. When you save a Word Document, it gets saved by default to a file with a docx extension. One can rename this to .zip and then open the package to see all the components out of which the document is composed together with the document properties etcetera. The specifications are open and free for anyone to use (more here and here). And yes, we’ll make sure that you can work with them in a (some) pre-Office 12 versions.


These new file formats are a really important innovation from a technological perspective as well as from the perspective of Microsoft playing an important role in the IT industry where we need to compete and act responsibly at the same time.


The technological aspect is the one that I’m most passionate about. There are many advantages to having this new file format ranging from decreased possibility for documents to get corrupted to enabling applications to easily manipulate documents without needing to automate Word, Excel or Powerpoint. I’ve built a small sample application to manipulate some Word documents and at the appropriate time, when Office 12 is sufficiently public, I’ll post that on this site.


I’m a big believer that as long as we make the right technological choices, the market will continue to see Microsoft Office as the productivity suite of choice. There’s plenty of evidence that that is actually the case today. Some of the evidence comes from the small country I call home:


Hans Verbeeck