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Microsoft Opens Up Popular Software Programs

Kim Hart

Microsoft announced this morning that it's giving outside developers greater access to high-profile programs such as its Windows and Office suites. The company said it will let the programs work better with competing products and publish to the Web more than 30,000 pages of Windows documentation that had previously been available only with an expensive trade-secret license.

The move is a shift in strategy for Microsoft, which has a reputation of keeping a tight lid on its software protocols. By embracing a more open policy, the software giant is eliminating some of the advantages it had over its rivals and releasing information key to developers who want to write programs that work with Microsoft's popular programs that are nearly ubiquitous on computers both in the home and office.

Microsoft has been under pressure from European antitrust regulators, who have scrutinized Microsoft's dominance in word-processing and spread-sheet applications. Last year Microsoft agreed to make information available for open-source programs, like the Linux operating system, so developers could download and change code at no charge.

But the European Commission responded to Microsoft's announcement with some skepticism. In a statement, it noted that Microsoft has made similar statements in the past, and will see "whether or not the principles announced today are in fact implemented in practice."

You can read the details in this press release.

By Kim Hart  |  February 21, 2008; 2:21 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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