Sometimes talking about Microsoft and Open Source software is difficult, because it seems to have many heads, looking into different directions. At the Stanford Accel Symposium, Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business was bold enough to say that at some point, “At some point, almost all our product(s) will have open source in (them)…If MySQL (or) Linux do a better job for you, of course you should use those products“. Of course, we all know that; even Steve Ballmer mentioned that “I agree that no single company can create all the hardware and software. Openness is central because it’s the foundation of choice“; a fact for which Matt Asay commented with some irony that openness claims are mainly directed towards competitors like Apple and its iTunes/iPod offer.
I would like just to point out to one of the Comes vs. Microsoft exhibits (that are sometimes more interesting than your average John Grisham or Stephen King novels) where we can find such pearls of openness and freedom of choice:
From: Peter Wise Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 9:43 AM To: Server Platform Leadership Team Subject: CompHot Escalation Team Summary - Month of September 2002 CompHot Escalation Team Summary - Month of September 2002 Microsoft Confidential Observations and Issues * Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements. People on the escalation team have gone into AXA, Ford, WalMart, the US Army, and other large enterprises, where they've helped block one Linux threat, only to have it pop up in other parts of the businesses. At General Electric alone, at least five major pilots have been identified, as well as a new "Center of Excellence for Linux" at GE Capitol.
“Infestation” is not exactly the word I would use to express the idea of “customer choice”, but you know how the software world is a battle zone. I am so relieved to see that they are now really perceiving open source as part of their ecosystem.