Microsoft this week announced the licensing of the Office 2007 User Interface (i.e. the Ribbon bar) to the partner community. The licensing is royalty free, anyone who wants to develop an application with the new UI needs to sign up on the web.
I didn’t really believe that Microsoft would let every Tom, Dick and Harry copy their new patented UI. Reading into the article you find the catch though ‘The license is available for applications on any platform, except for applications that compete directly with the five Office applications’. There you have it. The master stroke. The Open Office guys who have been aping Microsoft Office for so long are stuck in an island now. Unless they can out-innovate on the user interface these guys are pretty much stuck in the 1990’s UI world.