December 11, 2006

Microsoft Office format approved as new standard for data

BOSTON — A data format used in Microsoft Corp.'s prevalent Office software line has been approved as an international standard — a move aimed at preserving access to documents created with the package for years to come.

Companies and governments had expressed concern that documents created with Microsoft's proprietary technology might be impossible to read at some point in the future if Microsoft shifted to a format incompatible with current versions.

For example, Massachusetts state government decided that in 2007 it would begin storing new records in a standard free of proprietary controls — namely, the OpenDocument format used in open-source software.

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