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Microsoft Chants Open, Interoperability Mantra

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msft_open.jpegMicrosoft is changing the way it does business and is opening up, according to a long elaborate press release the company issued this morning. I am reading through it and will try and make sense of it all. At first blush looks like the leopard is changing its spots. Is it?

Mary Jo Foley is rightfully skeptical — she has heard this pledge before. My view is this: They are worried about the EU and the Justice Department creating problems when it comes to the pending Yahoo bid and the Danger deal.

Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

More information is here. Ray Ozzie is talking about software partners, APIs, web services and the need for Microsoft to change it does business, and become open and interoperable. Between the lines you can read, Microsoft is worried, scratch that, very worried about developers leaving them in the cold.

The 451 Group analysts note:

The European Union’s Court of First Instance was cited as the main driver for the new announcements, although clearly it’s also is a big win for the open standards/open source movement. It’s also an acknowledgement of changing market dynamics and emerging trends such as web services and software-as-a-service, and a recognition from Microsoft that an open approach will be more fruitful in developing momentum, partnerships and business opportunities than competition and litigation.

4 Responses to “Microsoft Chants Open, Interoperability Mantra”

  1. What I’d really like to see is publicly accessible bug tracking for those high-volume Microsoft products. Read access to such a thing ought not require a login.

    This would give much greater visibility of reported issues, and progress in addressing them.

    It is crucial to understanding the difference between the documentation and the actual implementation.

    See – now a couple of years old, for one guy’s attempt to report a bug. Not a lot has changed since, AFAIK.

    There used to be such a thing for IE7 – see
    but it seems to have quietly disappeared. says “The Internet Explorer Feedback page is temporary closed. Report all security bugs directly to [email protected].”



  2. I’m not surprised that Microsoft is scared. They’ve built themselves up to being this big secluded giant that nobody in the village really wants to go for pints with. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

    Om, since you’re on top of things, wanted to let you know about a newsreader out there that exists that bases it’s content on what the user actually WANTS to see. It’s called ‘Sprout’. Very intuitive, quickly learns what you like to read and what doesn’t interest you. There’s a free trial on now. You can find it here:

  3. I do not know if Microsoft is serious or just putting out a press release for the reasons you mentioned.

    However Microsoft needs to adopt the open mantra for its own survival. The world has moved very very categorically to open and from REST to web standards to PDF, to Bonjour, Lots of successful technology has moved away from MS controlled proprietary standards to more open technologies. If Microsoft does not play in this “open” game it stands to loose developers and users big time.

    On the web MS technologies have rarely dominated compared to open technologies. Enterprise still loves Microsoft, But with the problems they are seeing / will see with locking of that data, Expect them to move Open too.