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back to article Microsoft opens APIs and protocols to all

In an apparent bid to calm still feisty regulators, Microsoft has agreed to publish application programming interfaces (APIs) for its major software products and provide free access to those interfaces. In addition, Microsoft will free up protocols around its client and server software and has vowed not to sue open source …

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Unhappy

This helps Microsoft more than it helps World

Well, given Vista's droopy sales, and the EU's continued pressure, MS needed to do *something* to make Vista, Office 2007, and other new products more attractive. This move can't hurt. Does it help the vast installed base of people who happily manage with XP, Office 2003, and so on? No. Does it make me more likely to recommend Windows-for-Warships? No.

So let's see: where I work, we have a substantial network of older Windows machines, running older Office, which we try to integrate with newer apps. We can get the new-found benefit of MS interoperability for all the stuff we've already licenced, bought and paid for by, uhhh, paying MS loads more money to upgrade to Vista and Office 2007. Riiight. Which means we'll also have to replace half our fleet of PCs to manage the extra load. Riiiiiight. Green, or what?

Or we can gradually convert what we have to use existing open products which conform to existing open standards, with no extra payments to MS. And free our documents and data for ever more.

Put like that, it's not really a decision, is it?

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The start of microsoft 3e strategy

Embrace - i.e. provide them access with everything possible and let them stuff it in

Extened - i.e. help out with various standard bodies etc...

Extinguish - this is the hidden bit that will get it all killed after the reveal some interesting patents that aren't covered under it all...

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April Fool ?

Is this one ?

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Gates Horns

other shoe?

The other shoe is a size 666. Can't wait for it to fall and prove yet again that Microsoft doesn't play fair, nice, or legal when it comes to its monopoly.

I'd want legal definitions of every single word they've put into their statements that they are "opening up" the standards, that they "won't sue", and so on. Then I'd double check. Then I'd want sworn testimony (under oath, etc.) of every senior exec at Microsoft that what everything THINKS they mean is what they ACTUALLY mean.

On the other hand, even if it's partially true, I hope people remember that it took a EUROPEAN legal system to finally make Microsoft bend over just a little. The US legal system was only recently still humming and hawing over whether to continue their "oversight", which has been completely ineffective anyway and has allowed Microsoft to continue "business as usual" until they finally got caught on the hard rock of European consumer protection laws.

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Silver badge
Alien

Venus Implorer PressGang* ...... :-)

Pssst .......... Is the following Past, Alien to you, or just Spookily too much like all that you may know of Present DirectXXXXion. ......

http://www.john-f-kennedy.net/thefederalreserve.htm

http://whale.to/b/war_qg.html

A Change for Future Opportunities rather than more Neanderthal Conflicts/Balkan Bonking, would be AI Beta Program and with MicroSoft doing the Iwo Jima Flag Raising thing, and providing Systems Support and Electronic Rogue Systems Lockdown to flush the Bugs and Atomic Cockroaches out of Systems, for that is what IT and the Internet can easily do, it would be surely a Certifiable Madness not to Boldly Go into AI Virtualised Space, CyberIntelAIgently Designed Space: The fertile frontier of Imagination and ITs Voyages, Magical Mystery Turing .....ITs Mission ...To explore strange new worlds ... To seek out new life and new civilizations.... To boldly go where no man has gone before.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressment

Every day, another piece of the Future Jigsaw, which Actions Shared, Create as AIReality, to be left behind as Historical Fact for SMARTer Generations and Beings. Or do you just Believe in Nothing Really?

That would be both Sad and Bad and QuITe Mad, if you have a Brain which you thought worked, for quite obviously it isn't working at all well, .......classic sub-prime performance.

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Amazing

There's just no pleasing some people.

The open source crowd have been complaining for years about Microsoft not allowing access to this information, and now those very same people are the first to complain.

Microsoft tend not to give things away for free and I'm sure it will be the same in this case, but it's entirely possible that instead of money, what they are hoping to get in return is an entire community of 'quality' programmers to go through their code and feedback all the problems/fixes. This will save them millions of dollars and make them look like a better company at the same time.

It also means that companies who don't use their software will be more likely to try Microsoft products when they know they can make those systems interoperate properly. And before people start saying they wouldn't touch Microsoft with a barge pole, big companies use whatever system will work for them, they all have an associated cost, Linux is only really free if your a home user, businesses pay in all kinds of different ways.

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@geoff

something that I always see missing from the arguments that spring from the "we should get rid of all microsoft servers from companies" is the suggestions of realistic alternatives for a small to medium sized business to microsofts active directory and other, tightly integrated services such as MOM, exchange, group policies, sharepoint, ISA, WSUS, WDS/RIS et al.

I know they exist, after all AD is based on LDAP (and even apache is getting in on the ldap game) and there's even a good exchange alternative in zimbra (could that be behind microsofts interest in yahoo? the services that is, as they can't kill the software) and that the granularity of systems such as HP's flavour of unix provide massive control over users. But, for a small/medium company it is far easier and cheaper in the long run (since there isn't a need for expensive staff and training courses, basically making their staff hot swappable not to mention the vast difference in licensing costs) to implement a microsoft based solution to centrally control all aspects of their user base.

Come on you linux/unix advocates, stop giving out the vague "don't use microsoft" crap and actually come up with solid alternatives to active directory and all of the various services that hook into it. The onus is on YOU to provide the windows world with evidence as to why they should leave it behind.. or is that too much of a task for you?

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Gates Halo

Next phase in Microsoft's Existence

Well, I think this marks the beginning of the next stage in Microsoft's progress. Essentially they have had a monopoly of the desktop OS and office suite market for over ten years - this is a jolly good run for their money. This monopoly is surely coming to a close, maybe not this year, but within 5 years there will be a significant proportion of IT users who use appliances of some sort (such as the EEEPC) rather than a computer.

So if MS saw their future as being "more of the same" they wouldn't be parting with billions! for! Yahoo! - but they clearly want to be a technology and content provider. They will have considered the place of their proprietary APIs in the new world of technology, and decided that they want the new offerings (for example, online office suites such as Google Office) to be interoperable with MSOffice: users of these suites have *some* association with MSOffice, rather than either/or.

This is neither a selfless act nor a deceptive stratagem. It is, however, a strong indication that things don't stay as they are for ever, and MS are thinking about what happens next. So, on balance, halo rather than horns.

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IT Angle

Anyone who rides this tiger

does so at their own peril... and will this include every single API or just the old backward compatible ones developed for ME... so move along please - nothing of interest here but the second death throw of some old bloatware... and why does it bloat with every release? because each release mainly consists of wrapping the old APIs in a new API wrapper with a new look and feel... so basically nothing has changed in years except the wrapping paper... and when you read the reviews its all about the eye candy... life really is too short to waste your time with this...

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Linux

The WINE programmers are going to be busy for a while ...

(Wonder if there's a Wine available for opensolaris)

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Silver badge

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating ......

"The Open Source community doesn't need to write better, open standards that work everywhere. They exist. The Open Source community, by and large, tries to conform to existing standards. If Microsoft can't manage to conform to those same open standards, that's not our fault." .... By Geoff Mackenzie Posted Friday 22nd February 2008 06:21 GMT

I disagree, Geoff. It is open source/Open Source which create future standards which the likes of Microsoft then monetise and silo/silo and monetise but it always slows down progress and may even halt it for a while and that is always not good ...... but that is a problem created by the Profit Business Model and Failing Capitalism and not necessarily any particular Business.

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Anonymous Coward

Wake up people!

Only Telic and Brett have sussed out this move correctly.

A leopard never changes it's spots - ever.

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A leopard never changes it's spots..

But this oughta help the WINE guys and like a little bit more. Crumbs tossed out no less, but would you spite them and not use the info?

Okay. I qualify that. This is for the guys that need to interoperate with M$. I know some guys who would definitely... or shall I say always have and still do flip M$ the bird.

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Gates Horns

Suspicious

Microsoft beocming peace loving and open as it heads towards a hostile takeover of Yahoo! Can you say sweetner...

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Re: Amazing

Look, I'm sorry I broke into your house and stole your stuff, screwed your doggie and ate your goldfish.

But putting me in jail is damn unfair.

Instead, how about I share 30% of the money I got from selling your stuff (it was all crap anyway, trust me) and I show you the pics of me humping your dog?

OK 40%.

Oh, that's not fair!!!!

(now how come MS can ask for money when doing what the court requires them to do to redress illegal actions?)

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Pirate

Ride the tiger - slight return

Jeremy Allison - "Doesn't mean any change for us (Samba) as we already had all these docs ...". Bitten by the tiger? Were some of these docs part of what the Samba team got to see a just a few months ago in trade for concessions (whatever those may have been) that would now be unnecessary? Hope not.

30,000 pages of documents - the Deluge Ploy as occasionally practiced by our beloved US govt in response to FOIA reqests, the search for possible value being stymied by the Herculean task of sifting through the mountain of documentation?

Boon to malware creators - see above. Further, anyone who wants to make malware can be fully occupied with the already thoroughly mapped terrain of M$ products, with new opportunities appearing every Patch Tuesday, if not before, without source code or documentation available.

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Gates Horns

only the very newest

Credit to MS, they always seem to be able to spin things to their favour.

They are required to publish their APIs but notice they are only agreeing to release them for their very latest products. The products that they are having significant trouble pushing onto the public.

By opening up these APIs and not the ones for the products people actually use (XP, office 2003 etc) they will be able to meet the EU demand and make the new white elephant versions of their products more appealing.

I think the EU should not fall for this and demand MS publish the APIs for all versions of the products they support (as of now, MS can't be allowed to say they will then stall until support lapses so never publish them).

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Gates Horns

"pay microsoft a patent royalty tax."

and their you have it. no you won't have to pay a licence fee anymore, you'll have to pay patent royalty tax. Not the same thing at all.

Just like the community charge wasn't a poll tax <yawn> someone wake me up when there's some actual news please. MicroSoft are just trying to keep the regulators quiet whilst maintaining their market share and obscene profits for their rubbish products. In fact, they can now get 3rd party devs to fix those rubbish products and charge them for the privilege. It's a win/win for Bill.

BIllzebub, 'cos M$ haven't really changed at all.

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