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Microsoft opens doors wider for developers, IT community

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Microsoft is to take additional steps to implement the Interoperability
Principles it announced earlier this year, including posting thousands of
pages of documentation and making significant strides in the company's
efforts to foster more open engagement with other members of the IT
community.

Highlights of the actions announced this week include: posting Version 1.0
releases of technical documentation for Microsoft protocols built into
Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft
Exchange Server 2007 and posting nearly 5 000 pages of new technical
documentation for the Microsoft Office binary file formats for Word, Excel
and PowerPoint (.doc, .xls, .xlsb and .ppt).
Paulo Ferreira, platform Strategy Manager at Microsoft SA, says the moves
increase the openness of the company's products, drive greater
interoperability, and provide increased opportunity and choice for
developers, partners, customers and competitors.
"These actions represent the continued fulfillment of the commitments we
made in our Interoperability Principles," said Ferreira. "Microsoft's
cumulative posting of approximately 50 000 pages of technical documentation
on MSDN provides consistent, open access for all developers, which enhances
the ease and opportunities for working with Microsoft's high-volume
products.
"Moreover, our work with partners, competitors and customers to engage in
the technical nuts-and-bolts of real-world interoperability provides great
ongoing opportunities for collaboration to address the challenges of today's
diverse IT environment."
As part of its commitment to ensure open connections to its products,
Microsoft has posted on MSDN Version 1.0 releases of technical documentation
for Microsoft protocols built into Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office
SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Microsoft posted
preliminary versions of this protocol documentation in April of this year,
solicited input from the community, and factored this input into the Version
1.0 releases.
As a result of the documentation, developers working with Microsoft Office
SharePoint Server 2007 protocols will have additional resources to develop
products that work with Microsoft Office 2007 client applications.
In addition, developers working with Exchange Server 2007 protocols will
have additional resources to build applications that directly communicate
and store information related to e-mail, calendar, contacts, voice mail and
task tracking with either Exchange Server 2007 or Microsoft Office Outlook
2007.
This documentation provides comprehensive information about how these
Microsoft products interact with other Microsoft products, which will assist
developers creating new products and improving existing solutions.
Microsoft also published a list indicating which of the published protocols
built into the following products are covered by Microsoft patents or patent
applications: Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Windows Vista (including the
.NET Framework), and Microsoft Windows Server 2008. In addition, Microsoft
published the reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms and low
pricing available to those who choose to take a license to the patents
covering the protocols in these products that are used to communicate with
other Microsoft products.
This information is accessible at
http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/intellectualproperty/protocols/default.mspx.
In addition, Microsoft has made a number of strides in its effort to foster
more open engagement with the IT community, in particular through its
Document Interoperability Initiative (DII), which kicked off earlier this
year. Since then, Microsoft has hosted a series of regional roundtable
events and labs around the world – in Seoul, South Korea; Beijing, China;
and Munich, Germany – bringing together more than 30 partners and
competitors to test interoperability between existing implementations of
Open XML Format and the OpenDocument Format (ODF) on a variety of platforms
and devices, including Mac OS X Leopard, iPhone, Palm OS, Symbian OS, Linux
and Windows Mobile.
Based on input received through the DII and other events and forums,
Microsoft is launching the following projects:
* Designing a new translator to read from Open XML to HTML, which will
provide the opportunity for independent software vendors(ISVs) to enable
their customers to launch Open XML documents using lightweight
browser-friendly applications; more information can be found at
http://www.codeplex.com/OpenXMLViewer.
* Developing PowerTools PowerShell commands for Open XML to enable IT
administrators to perform document management tasks; more information can be
found at http://www.codeplex.com/PowerTools.