Microsoft made a 'significant' (its words) announcement today: it's going to start playing nice.
The software giant and anti-trust whipping boy has declared with major pomp and ceremony that it is to freely publish application programming interfaces (APIs) and communication protocols to its 'high volume products' (think: Vista, Server 2008, Office 2007 and server suites for Exchange, SharePoint and SQL).
As an immediate next step Microsoft will openly publish on MSDN over 30,000 pages of documentation for Windows client and server protocols that were previously available only under a trade secret license through the Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program (WSPP) and the Microsoft Communication Protocol Program (MCPP). Protocol documentation for additional products, such as Office 2007 and all of the other high-volume products covered by these principles, will be published in the upcoming months.
"As we said immediately after the CFI decision last September, Microsoft is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure we are in full compliance with European law," said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel. "Through the initiatives we are announcing, we are taking responsibility for implementing the principles in the interoperability portion of the CFI decision across all of Microsoft's high-volume products. We will take additional steps in the coming weeks to address the remaining portion of the CFI decision, and we are committed to providing full information to the European Commission so it can evaluate all of these steps."
Will it be enough? Well, it's easily the best the company has come up with to date. Developers start your engines...