Microsoft opens APIs and protocols to all
In an apparent bid to calm still feisty regulators, Microsoft has agreed to publish application programming interfaces (APIs) for its major software products and provide free access to those interfaces. In addition, Microsoft will free up protocols around its client and server software and has vowed not to sue open source companies that create non-commercial versions of these protocols.
This shift, first revealed by The Register, represents a major change in Microsoft's conduct. The company's tight control over the key APIs that help others interact with Microsoft's software have been a subject of controversy for both US and European regulators. Now it would seem that Microsoft wants to assuage critics by embracing a more open software development model. (The Commission remains to be convinced - see our story here.)
Specifically, Microsoft revealed that it will publish the APIs for Windows Vista, Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 on its website. "Developers do not need to take a license or pay a royalty or other fee to access this information," the company said. "Open access to this documentation will ensure that third-party developers can connect to Microsofts high-volume products just as Microsofts other products do."
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