Microsoft ups the open source ante

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 24, 2018


IT major is now pushing open source initiatives

Microsoft and the Open Source movement are generally regarded to be at loggerheads with each other.

For long, Microsoft chose to be a firm that believes in proprietary software and products. This, however, is changing slowly over a period of time. Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s mobile-first cloud-first approach has hastened the process.

If its decision to put .NET code on the offer to the world of Open Source developers signals a deviation from the policy, the latest move to appoint 50 Leads in different geographies to give a push to open source initiatives shows that the company is serious about being more open.

Besides, the membership of Microsoft’s Open Source Project Community (CodePlex) has gone up to 11 lakh from a mere three lakh in 2010.

Is it waking up to a harsh reality, or admitting to failure of a policy that kept itself away from the fledgling revolution of Open Source products?

Mark Hill, Vice-President (Open Source Marketing and Sales), Miscrosoft, says it is not the question of win or defeat. It is about giving the best software for customers. “We need to understand what are they (customers) using and building products around that need,” he told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the Microsoft Azure Conference held in Pune last week.

As it transforms itself for a ‘mobile-first-cloud-first’ world, Microsoft has roped in the old guard Hill, who has been working with the firm for 22 years, a year ago to lead its Open Source initiative. “We are a small team in Redmond. We are going to have 50 Leads in major centres globally to spearhead the initiative and to spread the word. We already have appointed 35,” he says.

And Microsoft goes to town with its newfound interest. It is talking more and more about its ‘open initiative’ and spreading the word on various online resources. It has, where it talks about ‘building bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies’.

It positions its Azure cloud platform as an open cloud. “With Microsoft Azure, start with the skills you already have and the software you already know. Build solutions with any language or development platform,” the firm says, reflecting the significant shift in its thinking.

“Target any browser, client or device. Run on Windows or Linux,” it offers.

Published on March 26, 2015

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