Microsoft is making further inroads in working with open-source software developers after the announcement that it’s creating a council to help sort out product interoperability issues.

The Interop Vendor Alliance is made up of various technology vendors and software manufacturers who need their products to work seamlessly on Microsoft’s platform. Initially made up of 25 members, Microsoft plans to expand it and include ever more partners in the discussion.

The goal of the council is to foster interoperability across IT systems by encouraging vendor collaboration, enable scenario-based testing for interop, and keep customers better informed of vendor interop solutions.

“Customers are telling us that even with standards, when they get products in production, it doesn’t always work well”, Sam Rosenbalm, business development manager at Microsoft, told Cnet

Members of the council include Sun Microsystems, Novell, with whom Microsoft has recently announced a partnership, SugarCRM, Siemens, Software AG, and BEA Systems.

The council will be dealing mostly with business and systems software, rather than consumer products.