It's not exactly the thawing of the Cold War, but Microsoft's inclusion in a new group launched by Oasis is a sign that the bitter war over open document formats has been forgotten.

It's also an indication that the promotion of so-called smart grids, the subject of the new group, is an important development - one that attracts a great deal of interest from heavyweight players.

The new OASIS Energy Interoperation Technical Committee will develop web services-based information and communication models for exchanging dynamic pricing, reliability, and emergency signals and has been supported by the likes of Cisco, IBM, Google, Tibco, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as well as Microsoft,

"Dynamic pricing is key to addressing the growing needs for lower-carbon, lower-energy buildings, and net zero-energy systems," said David Holmberg of NIST, co-chair of the OASIS Energy Interoperation Technical Committee. "For energy providers and consumers to engage in dynamic pricing, we need standards that support automated, timely, and secure communication of pricing, capacity, and other grid information."

Microsoft was involved in a bitter spat with Oasis over a format for open documents, promoting its own OOXML over the Oasis-led ODF. Despite the rancor when OOXML was fast-tracked as a standard. Microsoft has been happy to show its solidarity over smart-grid technology

"Technology will play an increasingly important role in managing the global energy issues. We see interoperability as an important part of helping the industry to achieve the increasingly stringent environmental goals. Microsoft is proud to play a role in the development of such new standards through the OASIS Energy Interoperation Technical Committee," said Troy Batterberry, Business Leader for Microsoft Hohm."