Friday, November 24, 2006

Licensing the 2007 Microsoft Office User Interface

You can now use the Office 2007 user interface design for your applications ...

"For the last year or so, one of the questions I've been asked again and again has been: "Can I use the new Office user interface in my own product?"

On one hand, it's an immensely satisfying question to hear, because it means that others in the industry believe in the value of what we've built and see how the sound UI research we've done can benefit their own products. Creating the new user interface has been our team's passion for the last three years, and we love sharing the fruits of this hard work.

On the other hand, the new Office user interface was a huge investment by Microsoft and the resulting intellectual property belongs to Microsoft.

As a result, I've never been totally comfortable answering questions about whether people can use the new UI or not publicly because, honestly, I didn't really know the answer. You might have noticed I've been pretty quiet on the subject.

Internally, though, more than a year ago we started talking about how we could share the design work we've done more broadly in a way that also protects the value of Microsoft's investment in this research and development.

Well, I'm pleased to finally be able to definitively answer the question. Today, we're announcing a licensing program for the 2007 Microsoft Office system user interface which allows virtually anyone to obtain a royalty-free license to use the new Office UI in a software product, including the Ribbon, galleries, the Mini Toolbar, and the rest of the user interface."    (Continued via Jensen Harris)    [Usability Resources]

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