File Under: Software & Tools

Microsoft Delivers Long-Awaited Mac Open XML Converters

Microsoft released a set of Open XML converters for Mac users Tuesday. The tool and update to Mac Office 2004 allows users to convert files created by the 2007 and 2008 versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

The strength of Microsoft file formats is its dominance in the market. If you want your file to be opened by anyone, sending it in .doc, .xls or .ppt is a safe bet. When the company released Office 2007 for Windows and Office 2008 for Mac using its newly developed Open XML format by default, older versions of Office were left incompatible. The incompatibility was fixed late last year for 2003 Windows versions, but Mac Office users were left out in the cold.

Today’s update offers Mac Office 2004 users the ability to finally convert Open XML Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx) and Powerpoint (.pptx) files. The update is available by download or by Microsoft Office’s built-in AutoUpdate feature. The converters are also available as a stand-alone application for those who use other Office suites like NeoOffice.

With Microsoft’s converters and its recent ratification as an ISO standard, .docx, .xlsx and .pptx files are on their way to becoming the dominant transferable file format.

The converters also follow an announcement by MacBU’s Craig Eisler announcing Microsoft’s largest hiring spree to their Mac unit in history. It looks like the updates and the announcement herald Microsoft’s impending strategy to keep from losing customers to applications like OpenOffice, Google Docs and Zoho office suites which already have tools for converting Microsoft formats.

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