2 December 2003 Software giant Microsoft is to disclose some of the previously secret code within the latest version of its flagship Office product in an apparent concession to anti-trust regulators.
From next week, Microsoft will reveal the XML ‘schemas’ – code that describes the structure of documents – within three components of Office System: Word, its word processing application, Excel, the spreadsheet technology, and InfoPath, its forms management software.
The move will enable Microsoft’s customers and partners to integrate their applications more easily with Office.
Without full disclosure, analysts had argued that organisations would only be able to perform the most rudimentary integration between the products and would not be able to make use of formatting and organisational data contained in Office’s ‘metadata’ – code that describes the nature of data found in documents.
Such concerns only came to the fore after the October launch of Microsoft’s Office System.
Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said that without the full schemas, the utility of the software was limited and that the reaction of users had persuaded Microsoft to rethink its approach.
Other analysts, however, have suggested that Microsoft only chose to open its Office XML schemas after coming under pressure from European governments, including Denmark, and anti-trust regulators in Brussels. Microsoft is currently being investigated by the EC for alleged anti-competitive practices.