Microsoft Publicly Posts Additional Protocol Documentation

REDMOND, Wash. — April 8, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today took another step toward fulfilling its interoperability principle of ensuring open connections to its high-volume products and driving greater interoperability, opportunity and choice across the IT community of developers, partners, customers and competitors.

Microsoft today posted on MSDN more than 14,000 pages of preliminary versions of technical documentation for Microsoft protocols built into Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. With this action, Microsoft will have posted a cumulative total of more than 44,000 pages of protocol documentation that it committed in its interoperability principles. Anyone who wishes to do so can now access, for free, preliminary versions of the documentation for the “connection points” between these Microsoft products as follows:

  • Protocols between Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office client applications;

  • Protocols between Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and other Microsoft server products;

  • Protocols between Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Outlook;

  • Protocols between 2007 Microsoft Office system client applications and other Microsoft server products.

As a result of today’s posting, all types of developers — including independent software vendors, open source developers and developers in customer IT departments — will have consistent, open access to this protocol documentation that defines how these high-volume Microsoft products communicate with other Microsoft products. This consistent, open access to information will promote more interoperability options for developers of all types and will help foster improved real-world interoperability solutions in the marketplace.

“Microsoft is pleased to announce today another step toward putting our interoperability principles into action with the public availability of these protocol specifications for Microsoft Office, Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Exchange Server,” said Tom Robertson, general manager of Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft. “We believe that providing open, consistent access to these protocols will further unleash the creativity of all developers to work on real-world interoperability solutions. The implementation of Microsoft’s interoperability principles is an important component of our overall efforts to promote interoperability in the marketplace.”

As an example, developers working with SharePoint protocols will have additional resources to develop products that work with Microsoft Office client applications and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server products. These specifications will help spark the energy and imagination of countless developers to create new products and improve existing solutions.

In another example, developers working with Exchange Server protocols will have additional resources to build applications that directly communicate and store information with either Exchange Server or Microsoft Office Outlook related to e-mail, calendars, contacts, voice mail and task tracking.

“Today we are posting preliminary versions of protocol documentation for Microsoft Office, Office SharePoint Server and Exchange Server,” said Jean Paoli, general manager of Interoperability and XML Architecture at Microsoft. “We are very eager to receive feedback from members of the developer community as they access this documentation over the next several weeks and months so we can use that feedback to improve our final documentation to be released in June.”

The preliminary versions of the material posted today represent the first of a three-phased approach Microsoft is taking to make the protocol information available and accessible to all developers. The second phase, which will run until June, will be the collection of input from the community as developers review the documentation and provide feedback. The third phase, which will occur by the end of June, will be the posting of the final versions of the documentation along with final patent licensing terms. Microsoft will also announce additional documentation and disclosure schedules in the future.

As described in Microsoft’s interoperability principles, everyone will have access to this protocol documentation without having to sign a license or pay a royalty or other fee. For those protocols that may be covered by a Microsoft patent, Microsoft will make available patent licenses on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, at low royalty rates. In addition, Microsoft will publish a list of the protocols that are covered by patents and will make available a list of the specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol. However, open source developers, whether commercial or noncommercial, will not need a patent license for the development of implementations of these protocols or for the noncommercial distribution of these implementations, according to a Microsoft patent pledge for open source developers, issued pursuant to the interoperability principles.

Today’s software users operate in an increasingly diverse IT environment that is rich with many products and services from many companies based on many business models. Microsoft’s interoperability principles are part of the company’s broader effort to deliver interoperable solutions to customers through product design, community participation, access to technologies, and engagement with standards organizations.

User Forums

Further information about the protocol documentation is available at the Open Protocol Specifications Forums on MSDN at the following locations:

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