What's Motivating Microsoft's Open Source Maneuvers?

Lora Bentley

On Monday, InfoWorld blogger and MySQL exec Zach Urlocker commented on Bill Hilf's address at OSCON, in which Hilf explained that, after periods of "experimenting" and "learning," Microsoft is ready to "work more closely with open source." To that end, Hilf also announced that the company has launched an open source Web site and is submitting its shared source licenses to OSI for open source certification.


Urlocker notes that the efforts Microsoft has made to this point (JBoss support, work with XenSource, etc.) are "bearing fruit" in increased Windows server sales and customers who are pleased with the cooperation between open source and proprietary software. But, he says:

I hope that the cooperation is more along the technical lines of what Hilf presented on his slides and less about, ah, patent licenses.

He has reason to wonder, given that nearly all -- if not the entirety -- of the collaboration agreements Microsoft has signed recently with open source companies include some sort of patent provision. But I guess only time will tell what's behind Microsoft's latest open source moves.

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Aug 7, 2007 1:16 AM The Management Consultant The Management Consultant  says:
The opinion most aired in the business community is that Microsoft was taken somewhat by surprise at the apparent growth of interest in the Open Source market by its potential customers. It also sees a potential threat to its current market position by new entrance in the OS market place. There is much written about MS entry strategy into Open Source market and its apparent interest in building a Open Source competency as a potential growth market. It is likely that MS will produce a pure or hybrid product in time. To ponder the question still further.... If you were MS what would you do to buy time? Produce a product in house, partner, or buy a company already in the Open Source market? Reply
Aug 7, 2007 11:35 AM sneakymogs sneakymogs  says:
I have trouble believing that Microsoft would do anything to benefit the open source community but rather that all it does is for its own benefit. The track record of MS does little to instill any sort of faith that they would do anything that they did think would make them more $$$$.It seriously worries me that several deals have happened between certain open source OS's and MS. Makes me think that Microsoft is trying to buy out their competition or 'breed' them out as they did in medieval times. MS is known for doing whatever it takes to remain on top.I dont think that MS knows the first thing about Open Source as a whole or even grasps the concept. I feel that MS's intentions are shady at best and at worst we could be looking at a bad turn of events for the open source community. Either way MS cannot be trusted in any endeavors it claims within the Open Source communities. Reply
Aug 13, 2007 3:20 AM EDT EDT  says:
Microsoft made the biggest turnaround in the history of business when it realised that the internet was not a fad, but a permanent fixture.It didn't have a profitable business model , just potential.Open source may or may not have potential an it may or may not be a fad, but only a fool would ignore it.Profit is a good healthy motive and in some ways the Microsoft business model is more direct and honest than the "spoilware" delivered by many opensource organisations in the hole of grabbing your coins for a few clues about how to use it.There's no free lunches, jusdt those who write stories and those who read them. Reply

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