I think it was Misja who pointed me towards Microsoft’s Simple Sharing Extensions draft. SSE provides a minimal XML data structure to allow better collaboration using RSS and OPML feeds – e.g. using RSS to synchronise events between two calendar systems.
This possibly represents a bit of a sea change for Microsoft; not only is it a great idea that’s genuinely useful and doesn’t require any proprietary technology from them, but there’s a little note at the bottom of the page:
Microsoft’s copyrights in this specification are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License …
It’s a different world – one in which they’ve also just opened up their Office file formats and sent them off to be registered as standards. Presumably they’re facing up to the open source movement and realising slowly that they have to let people use Windows as a useful coding platform if they’re going to retain their userbase.