This morning, Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia and Brad Smith have announced important changes to our technology and business practices that will enhance the interoperability of our products and expand the technical information we share with developers, partners, customers, and competitors.

Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

Good Microsoft blogs to read include:

  • Bill Hilf: See Change
    “Today we are making a set of broad-reaching changes that go above and beyond any prior incremental changes in Microsoft’s DNA, that opens the door on new horizons for what architecting for participation might mean in the future. I want to talk about what this means—and why an open source interoperability initiative is an important part of it”
  • Jason Matusow: Microsoft Takes Next Step In Delivering Interoperability
    “All of our work around interoperability must meet the needs of customers, partners, governments, and competitors. There are always so many facets to any step of this significance. In fact it may take months if not years of ongoing product improvement and development to see the full implications of the announcements today”
  • Gray Knowlton: Microsoft on Interoperability: “Significant, Strategic Change”
    “There's a specific aspect of this announcement that I wanted to highlight, because it is very relevant to the ODF discussion (as well as other file formats.) You may have seen this text in connection with the announcement:
    "Enhancing Office 2007 to provide greater flexibility of document formats. To promote user choice among document formats, Microsoft will design new APIs for the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications in Office 2007 to enable developers to plug in additional document formats and to enable users to set these formats as their default for saving documents."

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