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."

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
    A roomy range from LG (pictures)
    This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
    Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
    Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)
    CNET's 15 favorite How Tos of 2014