Wednesday, 09 April 2008 02:20

More interoperability info from Microsoft

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It probably won't satisfy the company's critics, but Microsoft has released another 14,000+ pages of interoperability information for its "high-volume products".

The additional preliminary documentation means the protocols used to link SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office, SharePoint and other server products, Exchange Server 2007 and Outlook, and Office 2007 and server products are available to all comers, giving independent developers an opportunity to create software that interacts with Microsoft software using the same protocols as the company's own products.

"We are very eager to receive feedback from members of the developer community as they access this documentation over the next several weeks and months so we can use that feedback to improve our final documentation to be released in June," said Jean Paoli, Microsoft's general manager of interoperability and XML architecture.

While the documentation does not attract any fees, some protocols may rely on Microsoft patents. In those cases, "Microsoft will make available patent licenses on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, at low royalty rates", according to company officials.

In addition, Microsoft's patent pledge for open source developers means they will not need a patent license to implement the protocols or for the noncommercial distribution of the resulting code.

Microsoft critics have previously suggested that the pledge has some loopholes that could negate the protection it appears to offer.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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