Microsoft will open up Office 2003 XML formats "Microsoft on Monday said it will license the XML-based file formats used in the latest edition of its Office applications on a royalty-free basis.

The move is designed to give companies better access to documents that are created using Office 2003, the latest edition of Microsoft's desktop application suite. Microsoft said it is taking the action in response to requests from its software partners as well as from corporate and government customers who demanded a way to better interoperate with Microsoft's dominant suite of desktop applications.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company's Extensible Markup Language (XML) reference schemas for Excel, and the InfoPath forms application will be available starting Dec. 5. WordprocessingML for Word, the XML schema for Word, will be available online Monday."