Interoperability Vendor Alliance


One of the foundational elements to Microsoft’s delivering interoperability by design is working with community. Yesterday we took an important step in encouraging ongoing, constructive communication about interoperability among software vendors. The Interop Vendor Alliance is made up of 25 software companies and the goal is to establish an environment for collaboration, testing, and communication to happen more efficiently.


More than anything else, this alliance is about establishing an ongoing, constructive dialogue about interoperability that will help all of the participating member companies to understand customer interoperability scenarios better, as well as seeing what each other are saying about interoperability in general. The public-facing side of the alliance will provide customers with an ongoing flow of interoperability information from the members, some as simple as product information, other information will include technical documentation such as best practice guides for addressing interoperability challenges. There is also a non-public side of the alliance infrastructure that enables product teams from the member companies to have a forum for discussion of interoperability issues.

I travel all over the world talking to people about interoperability issues. The idea that vendors should be more proactive in speaking with each other directly about interoperability is a common theme. There will always remain tension between the request for increased interoperability and need for vendors to deliver unique value in their solutions. Yet, that tension should not be disruptive and it will be through communication mechanisms like this alliance that we can help address customer needs more effectively.

Comments (5)

  1. dave says:

    Why do you put your own conditions on contributions? Why not just use the GPL EXACTLY AS IT WAS INTENDED if you are serious about getting involved with the "community". Do you really expect thousands of people to trust you? To your promise I say  Caveat emptor to all who consider contributing.

  2. jasonmatusow says:

    Hi Dave – thank you for the comment – it was probably meant for my other posting on the individual covenant.

    I suggest you look carefully at how commercial organizations have worked with and around the GPL. Most of them provide commercial terms for services that contradict the GPL yet don’t remove rights. Also, all other OSS projects with reciprocal licenses contradict the GPL (e.g. Eclipse Public License) and there are even added "preambles" to the GPL for things like device drivers etc. that disclaim the license from Linux-supporting companies.  

    My goal is not to point fingers. It is to establish that there are many organizations seeking workable solutions to combine traditional commercial models with reciprocal license model. It is not easy to do (for anyone), and the fact that we are working on finding ways to make this happen in a constructive fashion would seem to be much better than through other more negative possible approaches.

    We have always been straight about how we think about these things. There is little ambiguity out there about our desire to compete in the market with our products. The really hard challenge is finding a way for mutliple models to co-exist in a way that fosters the progression of the state-of-the-art while also maintains commercial incentives that have proven to be so effective at driving innovation and growth.

  3. Tim Brookins says:

    This is full of FUD AND total BS. I visited the vendor interop alliance site and it only has marketing deals related information. There is nothing useful. Cut the crap and add real value to your customers.

  4. DA says:

    I just want to point out that the link you provided for the Interop alliance is invalid. Looking at the document source it says:

    <A class="" title="Interop Vendor Alliance" href="http://blogs.msdn.com/ControlPanel/Blogs/www.interopvendoralliance.org&quot; target=_blank mce_href="http://blogs.msdn.com/ControlPanel/Blogs/www.interopvendoralliance.org&quot;>Interop </A>

  5. JBSurveyer says:

    I have problems with an Interoperability Alliance when:

    1)Microsoft fights tooth and nail against ODF_XML format use in Office;

    2)Continues to fail to meet 1997 promises on implementing JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and DOM standards while continuing to uphold obsolete and proprietary extensions in all 4 standards;

    3)Issues Office Live on November 15th 2006 and make it incompatible with Opera and Firefox browsers.

    With a strategy that says everything must run best in Windows and we will make sure that happens – need I say "et cetera, et cetera, et cetera" about major omissions and incompatibilities  between Microsoft software and industry as well as Open standards.

    In fact, of late, Microsoft appears to be adopting the the Royal Seigneur’s Rights – as market leader in key segments of IT, we get pick and choose what , when and how we will observe standards – even those we have agreed to in the past and all others are complying with.

    Now thats what one might call tilting the Interoperability playing  field.

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