Gates on XML

Joe Barrera (
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 19:07:28 -0800

I believe someone on FoRK asked whether future versions of Office would be
XML based?

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: Will HTML be the file format for Office in the future?

BILL GATES: We will support reading and writing HTML. Another lesson we have
learned is that we can never move away from the existing file formats. And
so we are not changing the file formats. Those will be the same.

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: You learned that lesson.

BILL GATES: That was the big lesson of Office 97. XML is coming into the mix
here as quite important as well. Internet Explorer 4.0 is the first browser
to have XML support. If you want to send structured data, XML is the best
format, particularly if you want to take the same data and present it in
different ways. You ship it down in XML and then you use just the
presentation level, the HTML, to pick the parts of the information you want
to display. And so Office is going to support XML. HTML is the presentation
format and XML is the data format. So I think people really should pay
attention to XML. It's early days for XML, but some of the leading companies
that did a lot with SGML documents are now really moving in there. And I did
a demonstration last week at a conference with Arbor Text where they show
how they've taken their tools now and moved them to support XML.

DARYL PLUMMER: So you see them as complementary technologies moving into the
future or becoming one?

BILL GATES: Unfortunately, HTML for presentation is going to be the
standard, and XML for structured data is going to be the standard. So we
really need both of those.

- Joe

Joseph S. Barrera III <>
Phone, Office: (415) 778-8227; Cellular: (415) 601-3719; Home: (415)
The opinions expressed in this message are my own personal views and do not
reflect the official views of Microsoft Corporation.