Microsoft unveiled a project to translate documents created in its popular word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs into a competitive open-source file format.
ODF, developed by Oasis, a nonprofit group pushing for e-business standards, has the backing of Microsoft competitors, including IBM and Sun Microsystems.
Microsoft said the translator is being developed as open-source software. Microsoft is aiming to spread access to its Open XML file format, which will be part of the forthcoming Office 2007 release, while also giving people the choice to use the ODF format, among others.
An early version of the translator to be added to Word 2007 was posted today at SourceForge, an open source software development Web site. The Word tool is scheduled to be complete and available by the end of the year, with translators for Excel and PowerPoint due in 2007. Microsoft also plans to make it compatible with older versions of Office.