It seems that even giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo can get over their differences when it's mutually beneficial. The trio collectively announced that they will be partnering under the schema.org banner, a resource designed to standardize microdata.
Essentially, microdata consists of tags that can be applied to existing information on a website in order to tell a search engine know what kind of data it is.
For example, if you wanted to correctly attach details about your company, you would give the address the appropriate “address” tags, your phone number a “phone number” tag, etc. Inserting this data would then make your company easier to list on directories such as Google Maps.
The tags are obviously handy, but time consuming when it comes to actually adding them. This is where Schema.org comes in, as it provides a standardized collection of tags and schemas that webmasters can add to their pages to make them more recognizable by search engines, and therefore more findable by consumers.
Here is Schema.org's official description:
Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.
Although the reasons for playing nice are clearly self-serving, the cooperation between such large organizations is refreshing, and good news for everyone across the board.