Microsoft open up the crown jewels

It is great to see Microsoft is going to make available its internal application programming interfaces for MS Office and Windows protocols.

While the news has obviously been influenced by EU and US anti-trust regulations, this is a genuine victory for users of Microsoft products, and one I hope will encourage Microsoft to embrace open standards and open source more fully than it has ever done before.

On the conference call, Ray Ozzie alluded to issues of long term storage and retrieval of documents. Again, I’m pleased that the MS chief software architect appreciates the importance of supporting older file formats. Hopefully by opening up its hidden APIs Microsoft will encourage third-party software providers to build and support older file formats and non-Microsoft file formats.

I haven’t looked at the licensing terms and conditions yet, but Microsoft’s announcement today could boost open source software and so extend user choice.

One could argue its attempt to buy Yahoo was a blessing in disguise. I for one, was concerned that Microsoft would attempt to impose its proprietary standards on the Internet. I think many people felt the same way. Well today it does seem Microsoft, in this strategy announcement, has finally recognised the importance of an open Internet. As such, for the chief information officer, its new interoperability strategy, is far more significant in real terms than the $46 billion attempt to buy Yahoo.

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