Microsoft helps developers create innovative solutions by providing open access to quality technical specifications and support through forums, events, and complimentary technical assistance.
The technical specifications are freely available on MSDN and include documentation for the protocols used to communicate with a number of the most popular Microsoft products, its most popular binary file formats, and key standards and languages that are implemented in certain Microsoft products. The technical specifications enable and encourage a vibrant development community, resulting in smarter, interoperable products.
In addition, Microsoft offers several different programs that provide access to patent licenses or covenants, a list of patents associated with the technical specifications, and warranties regarding certain specifications and standards support.
Microsoft on Interoperability
Open Letters by Chris Capossela and others
Learn about the Microsoft commitment to document format interoperability, the making of an open standard, and the importance of choice in document formats.
"Web Services Interoperability Organization" by Paul Cotton
Learn about how a handful of hardware and software vendors, including Microsoft, created the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) to achieve interoperability for standardized specifications that provide the communication framework for the Internet.