One of the biggest barriers to introducing new, open formats like ODF is the lock-in of platforms to Microsoft's dominant Office formats. This makes winning support for as many different environments as possible critically important, because it removes what might be an insuperable obstacle to rolling out ODF within a company.
Against that background, this apparently minor announcement could be quite significant for the uptake of ODF in enterprises:
Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie celebrated the 10th anniversary of the company's BlackBerry mobile communication devices by unveiling new tools to help IBM Lotus become more valuable to BlackBerry users seeking to tap into their enterprise data from the road.
RIM's BlackBerry smartphone users can now access IBM's Lotus Symphony word processing documents, with the eventual capability to use presentations and spreadsheets from Symphony, built on the Open Document Format, as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Lotus Symphony document viewing will be available in the second quarter of this year.
That's good timing, since it means, of course, that there's no reason that nice Mr Obama shouldn't soon switch to using ODF on *his* BlackBerry.