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Microsoft goes open source - almost

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Microsoft later today will present itself as a kinder, gentler software maker. The company is expected to announce a broad change in its development policies.

The Register has obtained information out of Europe that Microsoft will open up all of its APIs and protocols around the companies' major products such as the Windows operating system and SQL Server. In addition, Microsoft will vow to be more open about its standards body work and more willing to let users move their data from Microsoft-based products to rival code.

These moves will include being able to move content out of applications such as Office and Sharepoint. In addition, Microsoft will publish specifications for software layers such as Samba online.

All of the major Microsoft brass will be on hand to provide more details, including CEO Steve Ballmer, chief lawyer Brad Smith, server SVP Bob Muglia and chief software architect Ray Ozzie

Microsoft's policies around its APIs have long been a point of controversy, cropping up during the company's anti-trust trial and in repeated gripes from rivals and customers. ®

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