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MS to publish free APIs for Windows, Office

updated 11:30 am EST, Thu February 21, 2008

MS Publishes Free APIs

Microsoft today quickly halted speculation about its significant announcement by revealing that it will freely publish the application programming interfaces (APIs) and communication protocols for many of its key products, allowing any company looking to use some of Microsoft's techniques for their own software. The access extends to both Windows Vista and Server 2008 as well as the .NET framework that underpins some application code. Office 2007 and Microsoft's latest server suites for Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL are also covered, according to the company. More than 30,000 pages are expected to go online and will include documentation of how the company implements cross-platform standards.

The move is designed to help interoperability between software developers, says chief software architect Ray Ozzie, who also notes that many large-scale businesses depend often exist in a heterogeneous environment where the need to support software from more than one company is often essential.

Microsoft's move confirms earlier predictions that it is reacting to recently renewed European antitrust investigations, which have accused Microsoft of failing to provide enough information about its code to third parties. A number of large software houses have prompted the investigation, noting that Microsoft's historically limited documentation of both its APIs and its standards implementations prevent them from developing programs that integrate properly with Microsoft's own or support standards on an equal footing.

Office 2007 has been a particular subject of investigation and has been criticized for its switch to the Microsoft-made Office Open XML (OOXML) standard, which is described as open-source but is often criticized for fostering incompatibility problems between the Office suite and alternatives. Others also note that OOXML is believed to be an attempt to undermine the more universal Open Document Format (ODF) developed by Microsoft's challengers.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. wings_rfs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2002


    MS Pledge is Worthless

    And Microsoft "pledges" not to sue anyone using technology in said APIs. They should come up with a slogan for that, like "Pledge For Sure", since it carries about as much weight as "Plays For Sure" did. If I were a developer I wouldn't trust them not to sue me if my product started boring holes in their revenue.

  1. Visnaut

    Senior User

    Joined: Nov 2000


    "depend often exist",?

    "many large-scale businesses depend often exist in a heterogeneous environment where the need to support software from more than one company is often essential."

    Do you guys actually read what you write?

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999



    Depend is a Kimberly-Clark product that could be found in the grocery store.

  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004



    dude, monkeys cant read... They have a hard enough time slamming the keys on the keyboard. So they spent weeks training the monkeys to copy and paste text from other sites.. you now expect them to proofread it?

    Geez... that's asking a whole lot! :P

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    How long?

    How long until someone utterly embarasses Microsoft by making a better Mac Exchange client than Entourage, with full feature parity?

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Hit em where it hurts

    Doesn't matter what they say or spin, Microsoft never cooperates with the industry unless you kick em where it hurt...the old moneybag bollocks!

    Having the EU already show they can and would stick it to them, Microsoft is not the least bit interested in going through that again. I only wish our Justice Dept. had the tenacity and conviction the EU shows in actually punishing such monopolistic violations. You getting this, Judge Kollar-Kotelly?!


  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    significant news?

    This is significant - that you are letting other companies access to your c*** protocols?

    Hey, I have a significant announcement - anyone else is welcome to wipe my butt. I will even provide the toilet paper.


  1. Visnaut

    Senior User

    Joined: Nov 2000



    Well played, sir. Well played.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002


    uh huh

    Microsoft is being investigated by the European Commission on the grounds that limiting access to its technology could be stopping competition.


    "The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability," it said.

    "Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."

  1. bhuot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2003


    not so fast

    As they still haven't finished implementing features they announced in 1995, I don't expect them to release their APIs until they are bankrupt and all applications are available for the Mac and Linux.

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