Microsoft has confirmed it will start supporting the Open Documents Format (ODF) in the next update to Office 365, following a lengthy battle against the UK government.
In 2014, Microsoft went against the government’s request to support ODF, claiming its own XML format was more widely adopted. The UK government said that ODF allows users should not be boxed into one ecosystem.
Microsoft Office documents can only be opened with a few applications. Google Docs has a conversion tool for changing the format, but other productivity suites like Apple’s iWork and LibreOffice cannot use Microsoft Office documents.
The Government’s victory over Vole forces it to allow users outside the Office ecosystem to download, view and edit documents without owning Office or subscribing to Office 365.
Microsoft has had to backtrack because of the UK government’s repeated court trials demanding the open standard be brought onto Office. So far Microsofthas not confirmed whether this update will be available worldwide, or just in the UK.