The Open Data Protocol (OData) specification is published under the Open Specification Promise which allows anyone to develop software that interops with OData sources. In fact, there is already a growing list of products and libraries in addition to ADO.NET Data Services supporting OData, i.e. Sharepoint Server 2010, Excel 2010, Windows Azure, PHP, Java Restlet, and Silverlight.
In truth, this is simply a formal naming of the extensions to ATOM we have been supporting for two years now via ADO.NET Data Services. In other words, this will not affect any of our current product plans or releases. However doing this now is very intentional and is part of our overall goal of enabling data access across disparate data sources commonly found on the web and within enterprises – ODBC for the web!
For more information, please check out the following: