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The Washington-based company will open up Outlook?s .PST format

Microsoft to smash Outlook?s compatibility shackles

Microsoft will open up the .PST format used in its Outlook program in a move that will significantly improve the interoperability of the e-mail application.

Full spec documentation on the email service will soon be available to third-parties, with the Washington-based software giant taking the view that data transferability is becoming too important for Outlook to ignore.

Microsoft has not yet put a timeline on the ‘opening’ of Outlook.

But when the .PST documentation is published, it is thought that Microsoft will effectively eliminate the dependency on API calls, meaning that systems without Outlook or Office can "read, create, and interoperate with the data in .PST files in server and client scenarios."

"This documentation is still in its early stages and work is ongoing," said Paul Lorimer, group manager of Microsoft Office Interoperability.

Lorimer added that the .PST format can be used "on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way.”

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