Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a set of broad-reaching changes to Microsoft’s technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice.


As much as some of us dream of a world where all the computing systems are homogeneous, the world has been, is, and will be running heterogeneous systems and services.  To best provide for our customers in this heterogeneous world, and deliver the most value possible, I recognize that we need to bring even more openness and extensibility into the heart of our products.  We know that no single company can address interoperability challenges on its own and that collaboration with customers, partners and other vendors is of critical importance.  


Last year we set up a customer advisory council consisting mainly of Chief Information Officers and Chief Technology Officers of large enterprises and government departments from around the world to engage in a two-way dialog on how we can interoperate better with various systems.


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with this group and share some of my thoughts on interoperability within Developer Division tools and platforms.  I talked about a number of initiatives that came out of DevDiv to support interoperability this year.  One of the areas that I spoke about was Silverlight and the very nature of this being a cross-platform, cross-browser, cross-device runtime.  One of the ways we are achieving that is by working with others in the community and the industry, such as Moonlight to help bring Silverlight to Linux, and our work with Nokia to bring Silverlight to Symbian and other device platforms.  I also talked about the work we are doing in releasing the XAML documentation for WPF under the Open Specification Promise – this is the most open and liberal way to license this technology.  So far there have been over 2200 downloads of this documentation which is great!  It tells me that people find this useful and so I’m glad we did it.  Also for the .NET Framework, we released the .NET Framework source code to our Visual Studio customers to help them in debugging their .NET applications. 


We see Visual Studio itself as a tools platform and so we have focused on our VSIP partners and the work they want to do on top of Visual Studio.  Both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Team System are, at the core, a development environment which is an open, extensible platform that developers can target for any platform and third parties can build on to deliver even more value.  I talked to the council about the removal of licensing restrictions for Visual Studio that now allows developers to build plug-ins that target any platform.  Another announcement we made this year was that we opened up our Visual Studio IDE source code for our Premier VSIP partners to access. I also spoke about Visual Studio’s contributions to the ECMA standards for languages. 


As you can see, we have made a lot of progress knowing fully there is more work that we need to do to become more open and extensible and continue to deliver the most value we can to our customers.