I have long written about the opportunity for Microsoft and Open Source. Heck, I even suggested that Microsoft should buy Red Hat (fat chance…but just imagine the possibilities ;-). Over the past two years, Microsoft has continued to embrace open source. Is Microsoft anywhere close to the position that IBM or Sun have achieved in the hearts and minds of open source proponents? Nope, nowhere close. Will that change? That’s difficult to say. I’m sure that Microsoft will adopt open source into their business model as much as IBM has (maybe not to the degree of Sun – because, to me that doesn’t make business sense…if you ask me). But will “the community” give Microsoft the kudos for adopting open source more wholly?
InfoWorld has a great interview with Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing. I suggest reading the whole interview, but here’s a piece that really caught my eye. It’s proof that Microsoft “gets it” when choosing between Open Source and Closed Source software. Mr Gutierrez is quoted:
“For example, it is harder and harder to continue to define the world of software as a world divided between open source companies and proprietary companies. The truth is that today we’re all mixed source companies. Every company that traditionally comes from an open source background has over time moved to the middle after realizing that in addition to the open source foundation, they also need proprietary offerings that will differentiate their services from others and therefore will enable them to build a viable business.”
Clearly, when faced with choosing A or B, Microsoft is realizing, much like IBM did over a decade ago, that A along with B is a much better option.