Thursday, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft would be open to buying companies built around open source. In fact, not doing so "would take [Microsoft] out of the acquisition market," he said. In response, CRN blogger Stacy Cowley suggests:
Given the chilly reception Vista is getting, Microsoft might want to road-test Ballmer's willingness to buy open-source developers and go shopping for a new operating system ...
Maybe the software juggernaut won't go all that far, but I agree that Ballmer's comments are a surprising admission that open source has "reshaped the software market."
So if Microsoft is shopping, the obvious question, according to News.com blogger Matt Asay, is who's for sale? His list of possibilities includes 37signals, SugarCRM, OpenAds and even Novell. But the most likely candidate, as Asay sees it, is Atlassian. Here's why:
I suspect Microsoft's first open-source acquisition won't be of a pure-play open-source vendor. Rather, it will necessarily be of a company that uses open-source as a tertiary yet still important aspect of its business....
... Atlassian would make sense because, while it is not an open-source company, its ethos resembles that of an open-source project. It could be a Ximian-esque acquisition for Microsoft, bringing open-source DNA to the company.
Stay tuned. I'm sure there is more to come.