I have been listening to the a press conference held by Microsoft this morning. We knew going into the call that this was not about Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo. No word that even rhymes with Yahoo has been said. Steve Ballmer began by talking about interoperability and openness and mapped out the following four commitments of the once considered “gated” (pun-intended) computing giant:
- Ensuring open connections
- Promoting data portability
- Enhancing support for industry standards
- Fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.
So what does this really mean? Ballmer and others discussed how new APIs will be available for developers that will enable open source development. For example, they have designed new APIs for Word, Excel and Powerpoint that will allow for plugging in different applications and will support open source formats. Third-party developers will have access to documentation for all of its “high-volume product” APIs free of charge. Why the move Microsoft? Especially the open source compatibility? Is it a fear that Linux is finally breathing down your neck? “Adding value” seems like a diplomatic answer. Read more here on the announcement.