Microsoft’s Openness Pledge

Interesting Article in last weeks Information Week about Microsoft’s Openness Pledge.  Of interest is that while M$ is opening up some APIs and documentation for Office, it is doing so under pressure from the EU and at the same time is trying to get it’s XML Document Format to become the world standard.

Behind the scenes, a backdrop of antitrust scrutiny, an aggressive push for Microsoft document standards, and continued jostling for competitive positioning against open source and online competitors likely pushed Microsoft toward a newfound fondness for openness and sharing what have heretofore been considered trade secrets.

The other part of this equation is that M$ recognizes that in order to succeed in the enterprise they will have to have open APIs and Datasets.  This is a new world for a company that has long been an advocate of tight all M$ integration.

Ballmer admitted during the new conference that this new strategy could “open up opportunities” for third parties to take market share from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), ostensibly because they’ll have access to the very same APIs and protocols that Microsoft does for creating its own products, many of which Microsoft has long touted as working “better together.” Still, this shift is in some ways an admission that Microsoft has to change with an increasingly open and services-oriented world of software architecture. “I believe Microsoft’s long-term success depends on our ability to deliver a software and services platform that is open, flexible, and provides customers and developers with choice,” Ballmer said.

As I’ve said on these pages many times, developers and user prefer “loose integration” for applications.  This allows applications to inter-operate while at the same time affording the user the opportunity to switch applications without too much trouble.

People want and deserve choice.

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