As you’ve probably noticed from recent blogs to this site, interoperability is important to us. There is also a great deal of activity going on right now in support of Microsoft’s four interoperability principles.

As part of Principle III: Data Portability, Microsoft has launched “…a Document Interoperability Initiative that will include an ongoing series of labs around the world where implementers of document formats optimize data exchange between implementations, community development of conformance testing suites for popular formats, and publication of document templates that enable optimized interoperability between different formats”.

The Document Interoperability Initiative (DII) is all about open engagement with the vendor community.  Our customers have told us explicitly that it is the responsibility of all of us as vendors to solve interoperability issues between products that coexist in the marketplace so they don’t have to. It is going to take a true collaboration across the community to make this vision a reality.

With that in mind, our goal has been to work together with vendors from around the world who represent various interests and a variety of document format implementations. By hosting a series of test labs and roundtable discussions we will be able to focus on interoperability of open standards-based document formats, including ODF, UOF, Open XML and many others.

To date, we have hosted two events:

  • Document Interoperability Roundtable, Take One, was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the Microsoft/Novell joint interoperability lab. The participants included Novell, Nuance, DataViz, Quickoffice, and Mark Logic. The main focus was to test interoperability between the product implementations of document format standards in some common scenarios, including public sector/government, enterprise, and various mobile scenarios.

clip_image001 Boston Roundtable 

clip_image002 Seoul Roundtable

I am very happy with the outcome of these two roundtable discussions and have several more planned for the remainder of the year. Their success is directly attributable to the partners who participated and collaborated on the key issues.

We are inviting more parties to join the interoperability conversation through a variety of events, forums, and other activities designed to both identify and solve real-world interoperability issues. Although we have a lot of work to do, we will continue to evolve our open engagement approach with the vendor community to ensure maximum benefit for all the participating companies and their customers. I sincerely look forward to your feedback on these critical customer issues.

Craig Kitterman

Senior Technical Evangelist