When Microsoft laid out its broad commitment to more openness last month, one of the concrete steps it said it would take was the opening of the Interoperability Forum to allow customers around the world to have an open dialogue on how Microsoft products could work better with those of other vendors. That forum is now online, albeit empty and unannounced.

One of the four interoperability principles Microsoft announced last month was a pledge to more openly engage customers, partners, and third-party vendors in conversation about the company’s direction. The company announced that it would be holding a series of events, hosting online content, and directly engaging people online to create a deeper conversation about how Microsoft should be integrating and interoperating with third-party products.

The Interoperability Forum is one of those new ventures, though its presence isn’t the most out in the open. Hosted on Microsoft’s MSDN Forums, the Interoperability Forum has thus far seen only posts from Microsoft, with no community involvement whatsoever. In order to get to the forum, which appears to have launched March 19, those interested have to know where to look on Microsoft’s own interoperability Web site, and then have to click through several screens to get to the actual forum.

Microsoft’s forum has three areas: interoperability conversations, technical interoperability scenarios, and achieving interoperability through standards. The first aims to facilitate general conversation, the next to discuss and resolve technical issues related to interoperability, and the third to talk about how Microsoft should adhere to industry standards.

There are other places where Microsoft has begun a dialogue about interoperability, such as Port 25, a Microsoft blog that focuses on Microsoft’s involvement in and engagement with the open source community. The company has also set up more formal ventures with top customers and partners to determine where interoperability is most important, including a group of top CIOs and CTOs called the Interoperability Customer Executive Council and a similar group of software vendors called the Interop Vendor Alliance.

Source- InformationWeek

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