In an almost uncanny act, which has surely taken a lot of people by surprise, Microsoft very recently pledged that it would open up it applications and platforms to allow for greater interoperability. Yes, Even pledging to work with open-source communities and developers. All this seems to be a part of it’s compliance to the EU anti-trust decision. Interesting, very interesting indeed. Microsoft has been getting cute with open-source communities for some time now, but this is probably more than anyone had expected. However, it remains to be seen if Microsoft genuinely believes about open standards. I was reading through the published article and there are some things in fine print that still seem a little bit vague (, or maybe I am limited by my intelligence). Some things do appear rather subjective. A phrase like “low royalty rates” is open to debate. What does “low” mean? How low is “low”? Ah, and what’s a “covenant“? It will be interesting to see how these new initiatives are adopted. Does it mean all projects that opt for interoperability with Microsoft products, end up paying royalties in some form to Microsoft? Reading some portions of newsletter sure seems to suggest so.
However with everything said, it will be interesting to see and explore possibilities for FOSS projects under these new initiatives by Microsoft. For whatever it’s worth, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. So let’s hope the new gesture by Microsoft does pave the way for better interop solutions between FOSS and MS applications.