Here is an interesting article by Bill Gates on Building Software That Is Interoperable By Design.
Interoperability, as described in www.answers.com, we have,
The capability of two or more hardware devices or two or more software routines to work harmoniously together. For example, in an Ethernet network, display adapters, hubs, switches and routers from different vendors must conform to the Ethernet standard and interoperate with each other.
This shows how important Interoperability is today in Business and Gates has explained in the article what is more needed and also the Microsoft’s approach towards Interoperability.
Here are few excerpts, which I liked most in the article,
“Every day, businesses face an ongoing challenge of making a wide variety of software from many different vendors work together. It’s crucial to success in streamlining business processes, getting closer to customers and partners, or making mergers and acquisitions successful. Whether you are connecting with partners’ systems, accessing data from a mainframe, connecting applications written in different programming languages or trying to log on across multiple systems, bringing heterogeneous technologies together while reducing costs is today a challenge that touches every part of the organization.”
This is the best in the article,
“Sometimes interoperability is also confused with open source software. Interoperability is about how different software systems work together. Open source is a methodology for licensing and/or developing software–that may or may not be interoperable. Additionally, the open source development approach encourages the creation of many permutations of the same type of software application, which could add implementation and testing overhead to interoperability efforts.”
You can also visit Microsoft Interoperability Website for more details.