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Microsoft forms open source subsidiary on Friday the 13th

by Rob Zwetsloot

Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc, a surprising new subsidiary from the folk at Redmond, has been created to work on open source projects.

In a move that may cause shock, confusion, or no emotional change in the open source community, Microsoft has announced that today they’re opening a subsidiary called Microsoft Open Technologies. The new company will focus on open source projects, interoperability initiatives, as well as working with open source standards groups.

Speaking with GeekWire, Microsoft Executive Jean Paoli talked about how the new company will help Microsoft technology work better with everything else. “We believe that the subsidiary will provide a new way of engaging with open-source communities in a more clearly defined manner”, he added.

Paoli will be the president of the new company, with the aim being that working outside of normal Microsoft environment will allow the subsidiary to work much faster on and with open source technologies. This work will then funnel back into Microsoft.

As we recently reported, the Linux Foundations contributor survey pegged Microsoft in the top 20 businesses contributing to the Linux Kernel. Microsoft’s continued attention to Linux and open source is a clear indicator that they cannot be ignored in today’s marketplace.

At the time of writing, all our spinning tops have fallen over, and we’ve reached out to air traffic controllers for any reports on airborne swine.

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    • meanpt

      If you think they recognise anything, why did they ordered nokia to shutdown meego? Why did steve balmer say not so long ago that the main threat to microsoft was opensource? why do they try to use every silly patent they can use again opensource? All they want is to learn the open standards and drown tt with their proprietary junk.

    • Jack

      To reinvent themselves, Microsoft simply has to adapt a wide range of concepts and prinicples from FOSS/Linux. They have already done so through e.g simplifying installation routines for Windows, catching up on Cloud concepts and so on. Further, they are separating the desktop environment from the subsystems and so on.

      Whereas they previously have focused strictly on control of ownership and revenue they now have realised that it is profitable to save development costs – like they have done by using OpenStreetMap for some time already. Likewise, they have realised that their attempt to corner the market with Silverlight is a failure. Further Silverlight investments will not provide the control they wantet as HTML5 will become the de facto standard. Better to use HTML5 at low cost than wasting money on Silverlight.

      In many ways it is a huge victory for FOSS.

      Problem is, Microsoft will not give in on a few things that really matters. Such as propietary addons to OOxml which effectively keeps the competition out of the picture.

      FOSS is free for everyone to adapt – including Microsoft. But do not believe for a second that this means that Microsoft turns into an ethical posterboy simply by dressing up in FOSS designware.

      Let’s put the celebration on hold until their platforms becomes 100% pragmatic in terms of formats, protocols, and everything else that matters. When they start competing by quality and value for money we can talk.

    • John


      Do they mean that “open” in the same way as the “open” document “standard” they pushed a while ago to the standard organization? You know – the standard that was accepted because all of the sudden a lot of new members voted for it. The voters that came from shady country’s that got some “help” from Microsoft?

      I am sorry – I just cannot believe that if you do not see the dagger right away it means the serial killer has stopped his practice and became a harmless hopping bunny.

      They have found a way to blackmail android using hardware manufacturers, although details are hidden in back-room negotiations. I think they are “donating” pieces of software that are infected with the software patents they say Linux is infringing on (but still do not want to reveal after years of threatening). I think the Open Source community has to be very careful for what is given. It might be a nice wooden horse with a surprise inside….

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    • markit

      “Microsoft in the top 20 businesses contributing to the Linux Kernel” is misleading. They pushed a lot of code to make linux run well inside their Hyper-V virtualization environment.
      This way if you run M$ virtualization solution, your guest virtual machine will work very well if is Windows, and very well if is linux as well.
      If you instead use a GNU/Linux virtualization solution, your guest machines will work very well if are linux, and probably not that good and with unforecasting problems if are windows.
      So this “contribution” is a (unethical) way to prevail in the virtualization business.
      So please don’t thank M$ for it’s contribution, is for his only own interest and in damage of GNU/Linux (as usual).

    • Alfred Myford

      What fraction of the MS Open Source contribution was the result of their getting caught with some GPL code in their proprietary code? Does their having to release that as GPL count among their contributions?

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