Microsoft has unveiled a royalty-free licensing programme for its Office 2003 XML reference schemas and documentation.
The schemas enable developers to build products that can smoothly interoperate with Microsoft Office 2003, and are designed to allow organisations to use XML technology to manage spreadsheet, word processing and form documents.
The technology is included in Microsoft's latest Office 2003 versions of Word, Excel and its InfoPath information-gathering application, which use the schemas to describe how information is stored when documents are saved as XML.
The royalty-free licensing initiative comes after "fruitful" discussions with the government of Denmark, according to Microsoft.
The Danish government is already taking advantage of the open and royalty-free licence for the Office 2003 XML reference schemas, using them in its InfoStructure Base project which seeks to encourage enhanced exchange of information across the Danish public sector by creating a repository of XML schemas.
"With an open and royalty-free licence ... the Danish government will better realise its objective of promoting data exchange and interoperability," Microsoft said in a statement.
Helge Sander, the Danish minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said his government wanted something that would make communication easier, create interoperability and stimulate innovation.
"Microsoft has responded with a clear step in the right direction by making its XML technology openly available," he said.
"This enables our e-government solutions to utilise standards-based technology while further enabling open and effective tools for our citizens and government."
New ice grows faster but is also more vulnerable to weather and wind
With a crackdown on cheats is coming in November, PUBG rushes to fix matchmaking problems introduced in Update #22
New material uses carbon dioxide from the air to repair and reinforce itself
Apparent presence of scandium, vanadium and yttrium less than three light years from black hole 'an optical illusion'