Responding to a request from the European Union to improve data interoperability, Microsoft has committed in perpetuity to a royalty-free license of Office-related XML document formats.
However, the software giant decided not to follow the EU's suggestion that Microsoft submit its XML document formats, or schemas, to an outside standards body, deciding instead to maintain in-house the ongoing development of the specifications. Microsoft also pledged to provide appropriate documentation and encourage the creation of "filters" by others that allow other applications to read Microsoft's word processor XML format. Sun Microsystems in September said it would create document filters for the OpenOffice open source desktop suite.
News source: C|Net News.com