Microsoft is to release more developer documents in the .pst format used by Outlook in an effort to make the files more open.
The Microsoft Office Interoperability team said that the eventual goal is to make the format open to all third-party developers in whatever programming language. But the documentation released is in the early stages, and Microsoft will work with industry figures before releasing it all under its Open Specification Promise.
"Data portability has become an increasing need for our customers and partners as more information is stored and shared in digital formats," said the team in a blog posting.
"Designing our high-volume products to enable such data portability is a key commitment under our Interoperability Principles, which we announced in early 2008.
"We support this commitment through our product features, documented formats and implementation of standards. The move to open up the portability of data in .pst files is another step in putting these principles in action."
The team has not set out a timescale for the full opening of the .pst format. Developers can currently access .pst file data but need a copy of Outlook installed.
Microsoft is opening up some of its more popular formats, in part because government orders in some countries have included a demand for open file formats. However, the open source community has yet to be won over.
Dubbed Barnard's star B, newly discovered planet is believed to be rocky
Also, what's a USB stick?
Gravitational waves become extremely weak by the time they reach the Earth and require highly sensitive equipment for detection
The reactor topped out at 100 million° C