Microsoft has published a set of documents that affirm our Interoperability Principles that increases openness, drive greater interoperability, and provide more choice for developers, customers, and competitors.

Highlights of the announcement include:

  • Posting Version 1.0 releases of technical documentation for Microsoft protocols built into Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.
  • Posting nearly 5,000 pages here of new technical documentation for the Microsoft Office binary file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint (.doc, .xls, .xlsb and .ppt).
  • Making significant strides in the company’s efforts to foster more open engagement with other members of the IT community.

You can download the documentation from Open Specifications.

It is important to note that open source developers, whether commercial or non-commercial, will not need a patent license for the development of implementations of these protocols or for the non-commercial distribution of these implementations, according to Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Open Source Developers.

This documentation on the Office binary file format is available to anyone on a royalty-free basis under Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise (OSP).

In addition, three projects were announced:

  • Developing a Uniform Office Format (UFO) translators for Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint with Beihang University, available on Sourceforge.
  • Designing a translator to read Open XML into HTML. More information is available on Codeplex.
  • Developing PowerTools PowerShell commands for Open XML to enable IT Pros to perform document management tasks. More information is available on Codeplex.