The phrase “open source” isn’t one that is often found to be congruent with Microsoft, given the fact that the opposite is what has long been the established standard between the two.
However, a blog post by Jean Paoli, a tenured Microsoft standards personality, recently revealed the brand’s intention of launching a subsidiary geared to advance the company’s investment in openness – including interoperability, open standards and open source.
Dubbed Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc, the spinoff is set to be headed by Paoli, who, based on reports, has been a longtime player in the XML community.
“[The] structure will make it easier and faster to iterate and release open source software, participate in exiting open source efforts and accept contributions from the community” to quote Paoli.
The announcement has raked in enough comments and sentiments from skeptics and optimists, questioning Microsoft’s “sudden” stance when it was quite adamant in its dislike for open source technologies a few years back.
Though far from being the first time Microsoft has taken a step into open source territories, the brand has actually done a number of open source initiatives in recent years, from hosting open source projects, to even being hailed as a top contributor to the Linux project last month.
Critics haven’t failed in pointing out how much at risk Microsoft’s standing is, in relation to the existence of open source data center technologies and mobile technologies, and many have linked its plans to this fact: unless Microsoft embraces open source, it will be left behind.
Given Microsoft’s influence in the IT landscape, standards in the arenas of productivity software, gaming and gaming development/release stand to be “at risk”, but by how much, its too soon to tell.
Bottom line, as open source is a path Microsoft is heading to tread down on, we’re in for a lot of surprises once plans are in play.