I am sometimes being asked by customers what to make of how some vendors (or those who have been educated by those vendors) are describing capabilities of their software with regard to support for Office file formats:
(I am not making these up, you can find links to sources at the end of this post.)
Now, apparently the assertions of "support for file formats" or "compatibility" leave some room for interpretation:
I was a bit disappointed about changes in this simple (5 minutes to create) PowerPoint presentation (3 slides) that I opened in the current version 3.2 of OpenOffice.org (upon which IBM Lotus Symphony version 3 is going to be based, according to IBM).
Being technically minded, I didn't give up and tried to understand if there was a deeper reason why the presentation changed so much (by the way, the bulleted list on slide 3 didn't get deleted in Impress, it's just rendered "invisible" as white text on white background).
Here's one big and obvious difference between PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org that I found and that could explain some of what had happened to my document (be aware that this represents what I could gather about the functionality in OpenOffice.org by looking at the user interface, so no guarantees that the document engine uses the same representation):
Every slide in PowerPoint is connected to a specific layout that is contained in what is called a "Slide Master", and each layout then can have additional formatting, content placeholders or backgrounds.
In OpenOffice.org Impress, on the other hand, "Master Pages" with text styles and backgrounds are not linked to layouts and Impress doesn't allow the user to create custom layouts (it comes with a set of predefined ones).
This leads to a near-total loss of information about the original slide masters in PowerPoint when importing .ppt(x) files into Impress, something that becomes especially apparent after round-tripping (re-exporting) the presentation from Impress back to PowerPoint (using the PPT format, as PPTX is currently not supported for export):
As far as I can tell from looking at this example, here are some of the things that happen in this process: