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Week in review: Microsoft the magnanimous?
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 22 February 2008 12:48

Microsoft says it wants to get along better with other software makers. 

By Steven Musil
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: February 22, 2008, 10:13 AM PST 

Company executives detailed steps they say will help the software giant comply with antitrust legal requirements and announced changes in its business practices to work better with software from other providers, including open-source communities. Microsoft plans to publish reams of documentation around its communication protocols to make it easier for third parties to connect to Microsoft products. 

It also pledged not to sue open-source developers who create noncommercial software based on Microsoft's protocols.

The measures build on previous commitments to interoperability, standards support, and dialogue with open-source developers that the company has made over the past three years.

Specifically, Microsoft said it will publish the documentation for the application programming interfaces and communications protocols in its "high-volume products." Developers do not need to buy a license or pay a royalty to access the information.

As a first step, Microsoft will publish protocols for communicating with Windows Server, which had previously only been available under a trade secret license. Protocols for interoperability with Office 2007 will be published in the coming months, the company said.

Microsoft said the pledge will ultimately extend to Windows Vista, the .Net Framework, Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Executives said that the steps will help it comply with obligations dictated by the European Court of First Instance in September, as well as help Microsoft compete in a marketplace that increasingly values interconnected systems.    [C/Net News...]   [Comments...]

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