What Won't Microsoft Break?

Microsoft — the company that for unknown reasons has the image of being more secure and reliable than Open Source software — has been hard at work breaking things things month, including Windows Home Server and their FolderShare application. Now it's hit the news that Office 2003 Service Pack 3 has broken access to a number of file formats, including several of their own.

While Office 2003 SP3 was released in September, news outlets are just now beginning to pick up on the issue, spurred on by numerous complaints from users. The formats, including Word formats like 6.0 and 97, older Excel and PowerPoint formats, and Corel formats including Corel Draw, can no longer be opened in any of the Office 2003 applications. Perhaps most surprising is the blocking of the Word 2004 for Mac format, as Word 2004 is the most-recent and currently in use version of Word for Mac!

Microsoft claims the decision was necessitated by the insecurity of the formats, but one can only wonder at the decision to break the ability of users to share files between even the most recent versions of a product. It's a bit amusing, too, because maintaining user's access to older files — like the ones they decided to block — has been one of Microsoft's arguments for the adoption of OOXML.

Read more.

Note: Microsoft has released instructions for reinstating the blocked file formats. It involves hacking registry keys, so all the usual caveats apply.

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