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Microsoft announces open standards push -- again

Open StandardsMicrosoft is promising to take steps to improve interoperability with competing technologies. This is hardly the first time Microsoft has made such promises, although in the past the company has usually waited until it received a few pokes from one regulatory agency or another.

Microsoft will make APIs and other information available for 6 "high-volume" products:
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008
  • SQL Server 2008
  • Office 2007
  • Exchange Server 2007
  • Office SharePoint Server 2007
Developers will not need to pay royalties or any other fees to access these APIs and communication protocols. Microsoft will be publishing over 30,000 pages of documentation on MSDN that had previously only been available under a trade secret license.

From a more practical level, Microsoft will be designing new APIs for Office 2007 that will make it easier for users to choose between a variety of document formats. The company is also launching an "open source interoperability initiative" that should result in better communication between Microsoft products and open source alternatives like OpenOffice.org.

Lest you should think this latest push is entirely altruistic, Mary Jo Foley points out that ISO is scheduled to discuss the standarization of Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) format next week. If Microsoft doesn't get the ISO standard, the company could lose out on government contracts that require open standards.

Tags: api, interoperability, msdn, news, open-standards

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