Microsoft has been pushed (Massachusetts state government) to make a document format that would be completley compliant with other word processors such as OpenOffice. This will be their Open document format. Now you might be saying well I can open my word documents in openoffice already or I can just use a rich text format why do I need this open document? Well this is because word documents save information that you dont see in the document and then other people can view it if you send it to them this is especially useful when looking over agreements, contracts, or anything that you might have to make corrections on and send back to someone. So far no one is really sure that the open document will offer this, but most people are assuming it will considering there would be no real use for it otherwise.
The other cool thing is how Microsoft will manage the updates of this format. They will be making it available on sourceforge for the open source community to update. This is really thing that makes me think Microsoft is trying to move in another direction now that Bill is on his way out and Ray Ozzie is coming in. Allowing the open source community to handle this was the best idea because it allows coders to add their own features so if there is a feature it doesnt offer someone could possibly code it in (however it doesnt come with the like word document info stuff it isnt going to matter).