Microsoft to open up Outlook data format

The software maker on Monday says it's in the early stages of documenting its .pst file format.

Microsoft said on Monday that it will open up the data format behind its Outlook program.

In a blog posting, Microsoft group manager Paul Lorimer said the company is working to publish the specifications behind Outlook's .pst files.

"Data portability has become an increasing need for our customers and partners as more information is stored and shared in digital formats," Lorimer wrote. "One scenario that has come up recently is how to further improve platform-independent access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, and other data generated by Microsoft Outlook."

The move, he said, will "allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice."

Lorimer said the documentation effort is still in its early stages. "We are engaging directly with industry experts and interested customers to gather feedback on the quality of the technical documentation to ensure that it is clear and useful."

Once released, Lorimer said Microsoft will offer it "under our Open Specification Promise, which will allow anyone to implement the .pst file format on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way."

Featured Video
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Microsoft leaves Apple in the dust with tablet and laptop innovation in 2015

Will there be one Apple Ring to rule them all? That's what a patent application says. Plus, building the thinnest gadget isn't innovation anymore and Apple just got a reality check from Microsoft.

by Brian Tong