Microsoft vows to open up

Lisa Napoli Feb 22, 2008

Microsoft vows to open up

Lisa Napoli Feb 22, 2008


Kai Ryssdal: Just in time for the weekend, we’ve got some light reading for you: about 30,000 pages or so of technical documentation courtesy of our friends at Microsoft.

It might not be something you especially want to dig into, but plenty of others will, because for the world’s biggest software company to publish what they’ve kept secret for so many years is a very big deal indeed.

Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli explains what’s behind the big reveal.

Lisa Napoli: Used to be if you wanted a peek behind the curtain of Microsoft’s software, you’d have to pony up cash. Companies that wanted to do that bought pricey licenses and did formal deals.

But in the age of the Internet, those kinds of alliances are old news. These days, Microsoft gets that a spirit of openness prevails.

Jim Zemlin is executive director of the Linux Foundation.

Jim Zemlin: They are reacting to greater market forces which are tumbling upon them. They’re seeing their customers demand that Microsoft systems work with the other systems they’re using.

Now open source isn’t anything new. For Microsoft to get into it now is a bit like someone saying today, “Hey, have you seen this newfangled thing called an ATM?”

Mike Gilipin’s an analyst with Forrester Research. He says there’s a new guard at Microsoft. They realize if the company wants to keep dominating technology, it needs to dominate the Web:

Mike Gilipin: The way that the Internet plays out in terms of business strategy has continued to change. Microsoft wants to participate in this latest community-oriented phase of the growth of the Internet.

Growing like Facebook and Google means Microsoft has to open its bag of tricks and let anyone who wants to innovate.

It’s no accident that Microsoft’s taking the wraps off its software now. It’s still under the microscope in Europe. Regulators there aren’t happy with the stranglehold the software giant has on the desktop.

And with its offer to buy Yahoo still on the table, it can’t hurt for Microsoft to open up.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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