Microsoft has taken the unusual step of asking the creators of the Firefox browser if they want any help getting the application to work on its new operating system Windows Vista.

In an open letter posted on Google Groups, the Director of Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft, is offering to see if the makers of the Firefox browser would like some support getting Firefox and Thunderbird to run on Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows Vista.

In the letter, Sam Ramji, said he was posting the letter openly in case "Their [Firefox] spam filters are set to block @microsoft.com email addresses".

Mr Ramji goes on to say: "As part of my mission as an advocate for open source applications on Windows, I've gotten spaces set aside at the Windows Vista Readiness ISV Lab. In the past the company has only invited commercial software developers to these labs. I'm committed to evolving our thinking beyond commercial companies to include open source projects, so I went to the non-trivial effort of getting slots for non-commercial open source projects".

The lab itself is a 4-day event held in Redmond every week through December 2006; we provide secure office space for 4 people, hardware, VPN access, and 1:1 access to product team developers and support staff.