Blogger: Open Source Is an Asset, Not a Threat

Lora Bentley

Speaking at a conference in New York on Wednesday, Microsoft's chief architect, Ray Ozzie, said open source is a bigger threat to the software juggernaut than Google is. He says open source developers are not restricted by the best interests of shareholders and potentially are, therefore, a stronger market force.


ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley points out:

Ozzie reiterated that it often takes a strong competitor to truly galvanize Microsoft. "Microsoft has built up a culture of crisis," [he] told conference attendees. [C]ompeting with open source "made Microsoft a much stronger company."

But not everyone is buying that open source isn't as big a threat as Google, or that open source is even a threat. InfoWorld blogger Savio Rodriques says open source can't be more worrisome to Ozzie than Google is.


By making the statement, however, Ozzie motivates those inside Redmond to increase their focus on open source. Doing so, he says, makes open source program manager Sam Ramji's job easier. And by his own admission, it will make Microsoft an even better company.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 30, 2008 5:11 PM S. Lahiri S. Lahiri  says:
Should not take the comment out of context. Ozzie said open source was a threat to MS. Open Source may not be a threat to those of us who use it, or are contemplating using it. However, it is definitely a threat to MS as it can and often does produce much more bullet-proof software, or simply better quality software. It is a threat to MS in that they stand to lose market share. If you think about it, MS has never been about creating quality software. It creates, usually, software that is mediocre, not innovative, but is marketed as the next best thing since sliced bread. And before anyone accuses me of being a Linux troll, I use MS software extensively. Hence I can attest to its quality, or lack thereof! Reply
Jun 24, 2008 1:48 PM Berkana Berkana  says:
What good programmer gives a damn about shareholders? Software should meet the needs of the user, not the demands of shareholders trying to milk me of my money. If open source software proves that programmers are willing to do that and give it away, and do it better than Microsoft, more power to open source software.Intentionally free software that meets my needs > expensive software that restricts my abilities. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 2:02 PM steven michaels steven michaels  says:
I have to agree with comment 2, the cost of some commercial software would limit my abilities just by taking a chunk out of my budget. By dumping alot of commercial software and going with open source alternatives we have saved over 3 grand on our latest upgrade alone, as a small business money is important. Also i agree that software should reflect the users intrests more than the shareholders, after all were the ones shelling out often times thousands of dollars on software suites. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 2:25 PM John Thomas John Thomas  says:
Iyeah, me too. hard to disagree wit hthe writers views on this one.JThttp://www.FireMe.To/udi Reply
Jun 24, 2008 2:30 PM Nightshade Nightshade  says:
Open source software is on the rise -- the only barrier still standing between Linux and more wide spread home use is plug and play.From what I read, it's getting better -- but once that final hurdle is jumped, Microsoft will see serious erosion in their market share. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 2:36 PM Daniel Gill Daniel Gill  says:
'Course the fun thing is that Google is a large adopter of open source themselves (think android) so talking about Google OR open source doesn't really mean much anymore. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 2:46 PM brad laney brad laney  says:
I agree. Open source is an abomination. There is no responsibility to open source programmers and no one pushing them to make things right.Everytime I have delved into the open source network it has been trash. Then I find an application that wasn't open source, costs $20, and it's heaven.The open source community needs to get a job. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 3:16 PM John Doe John Doe  says:
Brad Laney, you are an ignorant fool scared to lose your job because you fail to understand open source and embrace its takeover over crappy, bloated proprietary software. What is this Open Source network you speak of? Have never heard of it. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 3:22 PM Sandi Sandi  says:
Our company has moved to 90% open source solutions and has been able to deliver more cost effective, value added, products to our clients in a more timely manner.Word of mouth has overwhelmed us with inquiries/clients.For those unable to deliver quality open source solutions, either because they are beholden, obstinate, or technically incompetent, I can see why this would be seen as a threat. However, for both clients and competent providers, this is a blessing. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 3:34 PM Bryan St. Amour Bryan St. Amour  says:
Another blessing of Open Source Software is the ability to make changes to the code itself. With proprietary solutions, you could be stuck trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. If a program doesn't fit all of your needs, you may be stuck, but not with Open Source. Simply hire a developer to modify it for you, or, if you are technically inclined, you can modify it yourelf! No more worries about whether or not the Company you bought your propietary software from will go under, or drop support. Open Source is a great solution for those very reasons. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 3:46 PM Sandi Sandi  says:
Also, no more need to sit on hold for hours waiting for someone to tell us 'they're working on it, hold for another 15 minutes while they look into it, or it's not their problem, call vendor X' - open source developers have been much more responsive than MSFT ever was. And, frequently, having access to source code meant we didn't even need to go outside of our shop to provide solutions to customer requirements/needs. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 4:34 PM Marv Swett Marv Swett  says:
@brad laney"There is no responsibility to open source programmers and no one pushing them to make things right."There is no responsibility for a monopoly closed source programmer and no one push the to make things right.The difference between those two statements is that you can *choose* to use an open source solution. No one is force you to use it."Everytime I have delved into the open source network it has been trash."Apache web server?Openssh?MySQL?What about these open source programs is trash? Care to be more specific?"Then I find an application that wasnt open source, costs $20, and its heaven."You have to pay for something to find any value from it?Sex must be strange in your relationships."The open source community needs to get a job."Writing open source code is work. If you were somethiing other than a dork lurker you would know that. Reply
Jun 24, 2008 6:06 PM gene haynes gene haynes  says:
an operating system should be a stand-alone platform devoid of advertising preferenceas microsoft re-focuses on ad dollars, confidence in microsoft's operating systems will errode > this is the result of human nature > people will not trust microsoft as both advertiser and provider of operating systemsobviously microsoft management sees the future correctly > their greed is what powers open source and eventually market demand for a simple low-cost operating system will roll over microsoftmicrosoft is in big trouble and nobody is really saying it > they can't be an advertising jack-boot while pretending to be a seller of clean trustworthy software > the two things are incompatable in people's minds Reply
Jun 24, 2008 6:24 PM Jim Lee Jim Lee  says:
"Everytime I have delved into the open source network it has been trash."Interesting statement. I suppose, then you have an explanation of why 80% of the websites you visit on your (presumably) Windows machine are being hosted on *Nix or *BSD servers. BTW, what the heck as this so-called "Open Source Network" of which you speak, and why is it that no ne who actualy uses FOSS has ever heard of it?"The open source community needs to get a job."You mean the guys at Red Hat, Solaris (Sun) and Canonical Global Support Services (Ubuntu) are working for free? I'm sure their corporate customers would love to know where those support fees are going. Sounds to me like the "open source community" is doing okay as far as getting jobs is concerned.Sounds to me as if Brad Laney needs to get a clue instead. Reply
Jun 25, 2008 8:44 AM Jon Jon  says:
Opensource will grow.But don't be fancy about Google. Google is also a monopoly (or becoming one real fast - have you ever thought from that perspective?). Reply
Jun 25, 2008 9:57 AM 800HighTech 800HighTech  says:
Surely both Google and the rising generation of Open Source applications are threats to Microsoft?In my experience both have shown to provide better, more user friendly applications than MS, and....despite the fact that every company sets out to make money, the next most important thing is what consumers think of their products right? Therefore MS have serious competition.. Reply
Jun 25, 2008 4:03 PM Mostafa Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed  says:
Yes open source will always evolve and Microsoft can't be a threat nor google and can't stop it. Reply
Jun 25, 2008 7:01 PM ashok pai ashok pai  says:
its about time microsoft's position, intentions and actions are closely scrutinised and punished where they are wrong. im sure they are in the wrong in quite a lot of places. they already been held for abusing their monopoly. the sad thing is that it still continues. its about time that sanity prevails, and the microsoft tax be done away with. we need alternatives, and it can happen only at the grassroots level. companies can be bought over by the evil giant. Reply
Jun 30, 2008 7:23 PM Denis Denis  says:
I feel that MS folks just agitate the Open Source flag to diverse. I mean, they have many businesses not impacted by Open Source, and their value proposal (fully integrated backbone) in the IT field is not very challenged by the open source. Many Open Source solutions are enterprise ready (I've compiled a huge list on http://www.opensource-it.com/ ), but not as integrated as Microsoft ones. So yes they compete, but their value is very different and if you choose one, you would not choose the other one. What is very surprising to me is that we always oppose MS and Open Source. And Oracle? And IBM? Open Source is a much bigger threats for these guys. Of course IBM managed to counter open source development, but they have much more too lose (like Oracle) than MS. Reply

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