In a very surprising move for the software giant, Microsoft unveiled on a press conference yesterday new plans to push for greater interoperability and openness on its technology and business practices as a whole. The move which can be related to pressure from several governments and the EU, did not come as immediate reaction to any of those demands, and thus could be taken as a goodwill move toward the industry, its competitors, partners and open-source communities. A mixed reaction from skeptics was to be expected for a company like Microsoft, nonetheless.

As defined by CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft expects to implement four new principles that will affect many of its high-volume products that include Windows Vista, Windows Server, Microsoft Office, SQL Server, MS Exchange server, among others: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.