It seems like we get a new Microsoft interoperability announcement almost every day. But today's announcement is particularly far-reaching. Microsoft announced this morning that it will open up Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Azure, and Silverlight to open-source developers who use the Eclipse open-source software development environment.

"Enabling customers to better manage their dynamic IT systems is one of today's real market opportunities for developers," said Jean Paoli, the general manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft. "Microsoft's goal with these interoperability projects is to further open up this opportunity to the Eclipse ecosystem. This new opportunity \[will\] make it easier to build on Microsoft's open platforms \[and\] reflects the value we place on the ingenuity of the Eclipse developer community."

To bring Windows platform development to Eclipse, Microsoft is partnering with Tasktop Technologies and Soyatec, development companies that work with a mix of Microsoft and open-source technologies. Tasktop is adapting the Eclipse development environment to utilize new features in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, like Jump Lists, while Soyatec has co-developed a Silverlight plug-in for the Mac and provided Eclipse tools for developers who want to target Silverlight on the web or in rich Internet applications.

Microsoft and Soyatec are also delivering new tools for the Windows Azure cloud-based platform, including programming tools that target the Eclipse development environment and the PHP and Java programming languages.