Microsoft has kicked off the Interop Vendor Alliance, touting the project as a global collaboration of cross-industry software and hardware vendors designed to boost interoperability between third-party offerings and Microsoft technology.
The list of founding alliance members includes a few surprises, most notably long-term Microsoft foe Sun Microsystems.
The group also includes AMD, BEA Systems, Business Objects, CA, The Carbon Project, Citrix Systems, GXS Inc, NEC, Network Appliance, Novell, Quest Software, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Software AG and XenSource.
Microsoft claimed in a statement that it "welcomes other organisations and vendors across the industry to explore membership in the alliance".
Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, said: "By bringing together organisations and vendors representing a broad set of interoperability capabilities, the Interop Vendor Alliance will help identify opportunities for the creation and delivery of real-world solutions to improve the flow of information across the enterprise."
The goal of the new alliance is to foster interoperability across IT systems, encouraging vendor collaboration by providing a venue for members to share customer feedback.
The idea is to increase technical collaboration that targets common interoperability issues.
Vendors will have opportunities to share relevant technical information with other members to improve the interoperability of their products with Microsoft systems.
Collaborative activities will include technical meetings and the sharing of "customer scenarios". It will also seek to enable scenario-based testing for interoperability.
Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun, said: "In response to customer requests, we have worked with Microsoft in recent years to make our products more interoperable.
"Expanding this work will help us respond to our mutual customers' needs and make it as simple as possible for employees, customers and partners to access and act on data, regardless of the underlying IT system."
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