It's in the way that you use it

It seems that Microsoft has slid on its commitment to produce open standard file formats for its Office products. This is a setback for the CMS community, still waiting for a commonly accepted XML word processor. With it, a CMS would be able to open up documents and expose their structure. Without it, a CMS fills up with opaque document blobs.

The problem with Word [or any other word processor] is that there are too many ways to do too many things. And most of those ways provide no meaningful semantic meaning. Properly done, XML would provide that meaning from within the format.

Of course, XML is not a panacea. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Word XML support would take us from how to how well. And that would be a big step in the right direction.