Microsoft To Share More Secrets With Developers

Last Revised on February 25, 2008

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Microsoft is now embracing four new “principles” to make it much easier for open-source software developers to concoct cool new programs that run on Windows and Office. However, the announcement was greeted with widespread skepticism in tech and legal circles, since the software giant has made similar concessions in the past that have not played out as cast.

By sharing more information, Microsoft would make it easier for others to write Internet programs that tap into personal information on a PC. Microsoft says it intends to publish data that should make it easier for rival software developers to create programs that run well on its Windows computer operating system and with its Office 2007 word processing, spreadsheet and slideshow programs.

It will also lower some of the licensing fees it charges open-source developers. Open-source practitioners share their work publicly for free, the antithesis of Microsoft’s proprietary products. Microsoft’s first step will be to put on its Web site 30,000 pages of technical documentation detailing how its Windows desktop and Microsoft server programs communicate and share information. Until now, that information was treated as a trade secret and was available only under a special license.

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