Microsoft will make available the preliminary versions of technical documentation for the protocols built into Microsoft Office 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.
This documentation, which defines how these high-volume Microsoft products communicate with some of its other products, is 14,000 pages and is in addition to the 30,000 pages posted when the software giant first introduced its new Interoperability Principles last month. They will be made available April 8.
"There have been more than 100,000 downloads of the first 30,000-page documentation set posted on MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network]," Tom Robertson, Microsoft's general manager for Interoperability and Standards, told eWEEK.
The preliminary versions of the new documentation, which will also be posted to MSDN, contain the protocols between SharePoint Server 2007 and Office client applications; SharePoint Server 2007 and other Microsoft server products; Exchange Server 2007 and Outlook; and Office 2007 client applications and other Microsoft server products.
While everyone will have access to this protocol documentation without having to sign a license or pay a royalty or other fee, there is a catch: Those protocols covered by a Microsoft patent will have to be licensed if they will be commercially distributed.
However, the software company has pledged to make patent licenses available on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and at low royalty rates, Robertson said.
In June, Microsoft will also publish a list of the protocols that are covered by patents, and will make available a patent map containing a list of the specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol, when the final version of the protocols are available, Robertson said.
The company will also release the final patent pricing and licensing terms at that time. "As we work over the coming months on feedback on the protocols themselves, we are also going to be completing the patent map for each of these protocols," Robertson said.