In a switch, Microsoft conference touts Office: "Microsoft Corp. routinely holds conferences to persuade independent software developers to make programs that run on, plug into or enhance its software.
But an event this week comes with a new twist -- focusing not on the Windows operating system as a development platform, but rather on Microsoft Office programs.
The first Microsoft Office System Developer Conference began yesterday on the company's Redmond campus. The three-day event is part of an ongoing effort by Microsoft to transform the Office productivity suite and related programs into more than standard word-processing, spreadsheet, database, communication and presentation programs."
I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't been more aggressive in this context before -- Office 2003 has some very deep and powerful app dev features. E.g., see an article on Microsoft's Information Bridge Framework I wrote last year (requires free registration; sorry about that...)