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Corel to support Microsoft Office, ODF formats

Maker of the WordPerfect word processor and productivity suite will support Microsoft's Office Open XML, OpenDocument format.

Corel, the maker of the WordPerfect word processor, said that it intends to support Microsoft's latest Office document formats and its rival, OpenDocument.

The company intends to add both formats to its WordPerfect Office suite in the middle of next year.

On Thursday, Microsoft is set to release to businesses Office 2007, an upgrade of its productivity suite which introduces an XML-based file format called Office Open XML.

Because so many more documents will be created in that format, Corel has decided to make opening and editing those document types an option in the WordPerfect word processor as well as in the company's presentation application and Quattro Pro spreadsheet, said Richard Carriere, general manager of office productivity for Corel.

In addition, Corel in the middle of next year will allow people to open and view word processor documents stored in the OpenDocument format, or ODF.

The decision to support ODF is based on demand, notably from government customers, Carriere said. Corel has 11 million active users worldwide with the majority of them in North America, he said.

Carriere said that Corel's decision to adopt ODF contrasts with that of other ODF backers. In ODF standards meetings, it is clear that Microsoft rivals are backing the format in an attempt to unseat Microsoft's desktop hegemony, he said.

"What we've seen to our disappointment is that the discussions are around lobbying in ways to nail Microsoft in a corner by these industry players," he said. "It's a bit disappointing that not many people think about users of this debate."

Carriere said that Corel expects to ultimately support the ODF spreadsheet and presentation formats if there is customer demand.