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Microsoft Keeps Eye on Open-Source Prize 119

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the never-ending-duel dept.
Rob writes to tell us that at the recent Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco Microsoft's director of platform technology strategy, Bill Hilf, outlined why Microsoft is staying involved with open source. From the article: "Challenges of working [coopetively] in the open-source space include the balance between competing and cooperating with a rival, he said. Perception also is a 'big' challenge for the software giant. 'In many regards, the Microsoft open-source story lends itself to a great metaphor of David and Goliath,' he said. 'That is a challenge over perception.'"
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Microsoft Keeps Eye on Open-Source Prize

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:20PM (#14761898)
    Should read "Microsoft Keeps Eye on Open-Source PR"
    • More like Open Source Numbers. Back in 1998/1999, MS was telling everybody that OSS would never compete against MS. At that time, their PR ppl at gartner, ihs, Pc World, etc,were coming up with number such as OSS would own less than 1% of the internet (not even servers) by the year 2005.

      Starting in 2000, MS changed tunes when they found out that thir minions had been drinking MS kool-aid and the web was already owned by Apache, with Linux already on some odd 16% of all web servers.
      • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:48PM (#14762119)
        Back in 1998/1999, MS was telling everybody that OSS would never compete against MS

        I would argue that's still the case. OSS (and by that you mean Linux) has targeted the traditional Unix market and done very little to compete with Microsoft's installed base. So, MS lost a huge growth opportunity with all those 'obsolete' Unix/RISC servers going away, but has done very well growing their natural base of desktops/groupware/file+print/intranet despite Linux.
        • "OSS (and by that you mean Linux) has targeted the traditional Unix market and done very little to compete with Microsoft's installed base."

          Why assume the parent meant "Linux"? Just because MS's largest product is an OS doesn't mean we should only focus on OS's. OSS has some very good projects other than OS's, and some of which are significantly eating in to MS's market share, for example Firefox eating IE market share, OOo slowly eating a tiny bit (but should increase when it's improved a little more).
  • On target (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jordan Catalano (915885) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:20PM (#14761906) Homepage
    Microsoft views open source through the lens of "coopetition from commercial and open-source strategies at the same time," Hilf said.

    Did he mean to say "through the lens of a high-powered rifle's croshairs"?
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:21PM (#14761914)
    Challenges of working [coopetively] in the open-source space include the balance between competing and cooperating with a rival,

    never a truer word spoken... Microsoft loves to coopt software... hates giving back though... just absolutely loves the BSD license

  • by Avillia (871800) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:22PM (#14761916)
    A large blue screen saying there was a critical error at 0x000000 is a 'A challenge over perception.' as well? /had to be done.
  • Coopetition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:24PM (#14761933) Journal
    Coopetition, or simultaneously cooperating and competing with rivals, has long been Microsoft's broader business strategy.

    So that's what they call it. Translating the doublespeak, is that a euphemism for "Buying the companies whose IP you need, and crushing everyone else" perchance?
  • Enemies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RootsLINUX (854452) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xunilstoor}> on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:26PM (#14761949) Homepage
    "Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer."
    • "Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer."
      Troll me out of existence, but could someone explain me the +5 insightful idea to me?
  • perceptions (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:26PM (#14761950)
    Perception also is a 'big' challenge for the software giant.

    Indeed. Many people "perceive" their software to be bloated and buggy.
  • by wardk (3037)
    hilarious.

    they only involvement in open source is to kill it, regardless of what the method actually appears to be doing.

  • You could say that when Microsoft paddles in OSS water (e.g. SourceSafe vs CVS/Subversion) it has the market disadvantage of charging consumers for products that are free elsewhere.

    And when OSS teams paddle in Microsoft's water (e.g. Firefox vs IE) they have the disadvantage of competing against a hugely entrenched market leader

    Maybe each party should stick to where they are most profitable, although innovation would suffer as a result.
    • Open source software isn't typically about profit. It's often about freedom, and about getting stuff done rather than sitting around waiting for $VENDOR to get off its arse.

      OK, that's a bit of a generalisation. Not all open source projects are about freedom... (for example, I'll bet that's not Microsoft's goal).
    • Everything would suffer. If everyone sticks to what they're best at sooner or later we have (pseudo-)monopolies controlling every sub-market - as evidenced by MSIE it's not a good idea to let anyone completely own a market. Without competition the only thing that would have a blast of a time would be the corporate profits and the massive asshattery every vendor would practice - because it's not as if anyone could ever do anything aginst their bad practices.
  • FTA:

    Microsoft views open source through the lens of "coopetition from commercial and open-source strategies at the same time," Hilf said.

    This sort of blatant disregard for the English language is simply intolerable.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=coopetiti on [reference.com]
    • yes, its a new word, get over it.

      english is reinvented all the time, hundreds of new words are added each year, maybe this will be one of them if it ever gains popularity.

      so, stfu grammer nazi, you are stifling the progress of the english language!

    • This sort of blatant disregard for the English language is simply intolerable.

      I'm as much of a grammar nazi as anyone, but it actually bothers me less when a new word is invented, versus butchering the existing language and calling that evolution of the language, which is actually simple laziness and ignorance.

      • Really? You are opposed to a living language? If it wasn't for the evolution of meaning and usage throughout a language's history, we would have a much less vibrant and effective language. If it means that something like "irony" loses its specific meaning and becomes a catch-all term for odd interactions of expectation and reality, it is a small (though annoying) price to pay. However, I'll agree with you that the coining of words and phrases in area-specific jargon is much less jarring for this linguist
  • Perception (Score:5, Funny)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:38PM (#14762046) Homepage Journal
    Perception of Microsoft [msversus.org]: "There are people who don't like capitalism, and people who don't like PCs. But there's no one who likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft." - Bill Gates
  • by Infoport (935541) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:38PM (#14762049)
    I've heard that David and Goliath metaphor before... ...except that usually Micro$oft is the Goliath.

    I can't belive that they DARE to try to use David vs Goliath as a metaphor in THEIR FAVOR!
    Poor little beaten-down monopoly....
    • I actually thought Bill Hilf was suggesting that the popular perception was that Open Source is David (The Good Guys) and Microsoft is Goliath (The Bad Guys) and their challenge is to change this perception.
      Now I'm not sure.
    • David vs. Goliath... Wasn't that this court case where this little homicidal maniac was sued for attacking this giant with a sniper slingshot, causing massive cranial trauma? However Microsoft tries to apply it here, they apparently already have their legal team on the case. They're planning something... Does the FOSS community have any armed midgets with a short temper?
  • PR (Score:5, Informative)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:43PM (#14762080) Homepage Journal
    Ever wonder why they have a problem with their public perception?

    "On the desktop, we have a strategic win today (monopoly). We must keep the desktop." - Presentation, Microsoft Executive Staff Retreat, May 10, 1990

    "We are engaged in a FUD campaign to let the press know about some of the bugs. We'll provide info a few bugs at a time to stretch it out." - Brad Silverberg, July 22, 1991

    "Objectives: FUD DR DOS with every editorial contact made." - MS-DOS 6 PR Plan, November 1992

    "look what znix is doing! cut those fuckers off." - Brad Silverberg, May 19, 1992

    "Five minutes after any agreement is signed with Microsoft, they'll be thinking of how to violate the agreement. They're predators. They crush their competition. They crush new ideas. They stifle innovation. That's what they do." - Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, Quoted by Matthew Szulik at a U.S. Senate Hearing, Dec 12, 2001

    Could be their corporate conduct [msversus.org].
    • You know, at some point you have to get over DR-DOS. It was just another sucky DOS anyways, they sued MS and got their money, nobody cares anymore. It's just pathetic to be wollowing in stuff that happened in 1992.
    • by kjart (941720)
      No bias here, no siree...........
  • That is a challenge over perception [that] Microsoft open-source story lends itself to a great metaphor of David and Goliath

    I think I speak for all of us when i nod my head and laugh
  • by ravee (201020) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:43PM (#14762085) Homepage Journal
    Ultimately, Microsoft is coming round to the fact that it cannot write away the open source movement. There is a very popular saying : If a group of weak sticks are bound together, the combined strength can be even more than a single stout stick.

    GNU/Linux and Open Source softwares are like the multiple weak sticks which have come together to become very strong. And microsoft is realising that it is not going to be a cake walk any longer.

    The end users are the one who are going to benefit from the whole thing.
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:07PM (#14762255) Homepage Journal
      Actually they realized it years ago. From a quarterly report filed with the SEC by Microsoft [msversus.org] on January 31, 2003 (emphasis mine):

      Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations...

      Challenges to the Company's Business Model. Since its inception, the Company's business model has been based upon customers agreeing to pay a fee to license software developed and distributed by Microsoft. Under this commercial software development ("CSD") model, software developers bear the costs of converting original ideas into software products through investments in research and development, offsetting these costs with the revenues received from the distribution of their products. The Company believes that the CSD model has had substantial benefits for users of software, allowing them to rely on the expertise of the Company and other software developers that have powerful incentives to develop innovative software that is useful, reliable and compatible with other software and hardware. In recent years, there has been a growing challenge to the CSD model, often referred to as the Open Source movement... The popularization of the Open Source movement continues to pose a significant challenge to the Company's business model, including recent efforts by proponents of the Open Source model to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of Open Source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent the Open Source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the Company's products may decline, the Company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline.
    • by EvilIdler (21087) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:43PM (#14762493)
      Are you calling open source developers a bundle of sticks?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot [wikipedia.org]
    • Ultimately, Microsoft is coming round to the fact that it cannot write away the open source movement. There is a very popular saying : If a group of weak sticks are bound together, the combined strength can be even more than a single stout stick.

      Did you just call the F/OSS software movements Fascist?

      I knew I shouldn't have woken up this morning...

  • "Making money matters. More importantly, making money sustainably matters. Being a successful commercial software company is very hard ... staying successful is even harder," Hilf said. "Developing coopetition strategies is a great way for growth in this environment and we're seeing that today."

    He must be a director / big fish. He tells something, everybody knows and still gets public.
  • by ninja_assault_kitten (883141) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:55PM (#14762169)
    MS to stick their head in the sand and hope OSS will go away? "Know your enemy better than you know yourself."
  • by fak3r (917687) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:56PM (#14762186) Homepage
    The BSD Licence allows for code to be used for proprietary software w/o the need to redistribute ala GPL, one of the reasons BSD is seen as more 'corporate friendly'. Plenty of history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:History_of_Micro soft_Windows [wikipedia.org] and if you're in Windows you can see traces of BSD throughout. One example, drop to a CMD line in Win32 and...

    c:\> strings.exe c:\WINDOWS\system32\ftp.exe | grep Copyright
    @(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.

  • IBM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CSHARP123 (904951) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:00PM (#14762210)
    Microsoft views open source through the lens of "coopetition from commercial and open-source strategies at the same time," Hilf said.
    MS had always competed with IBM. IBM is seen has very good to Open source. IBM still makes profit benefiting from open source. MS may be thinking along the same lines and I think they are not able to come up with a viable business plan of how to make use of open source movement that do not hurt their bottomline of MS OS and MS Office.
    • IBM hasn't repeatedly backstabbed us and attempted to put competitors out of business...not in the last couple of decades. In a couple of decades, I might trust a reformed MicroSoft. But they've got to actually reform before the clock starts ticking. Making pious mouth movements doesn't qualify.
    • I recall a presentation by IBM several years back, announcing that they were getting involved with Linux.

      The presenter explained how brutal it was for IBM when interacting with the OSS community. Nobody trusted them. Their size and history gave them less than zero clout with the OSS community.

      But they stuck with it and now they're defending Linux from commercial pirates.

      So now Microsoft sees "perception as a big challenge for the software giant."

      IBM has to be laughing their way to the bank over this.
  • by Glasswire (302197)
    I cannot understand what he means by 'That is a challenge over perception.' Grammatically, this makes no sense at all. I assume he meant to say something like "This perception is our (or their) challenge." Or "We are challenged by this perception". But it's gobbleygook now.

    I guess you can spell a quote correctly, but editing for grammar would hinder our perception that he's an idiot.
  • ms is already open (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    did anyone happen to notice the entire .net framework is easily readable? reflector anyone? what wasn't leads right down to win32 and most of that was already leaked a few years ago. jeez guys its just code no magic here we've all seen it all. besides they have done more complete api's, sdk's and documentation than anyone else can manage.

    they don't go out of there way to make it hard to develop on there platforms or they'd just be another mac and you wouldn't even care to flame them
    • fear is a powerful force.

      That is apparent by the FUD campaigns and SCO legal action. The bigger the beast the more dangerous their fearful actions become.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Okey dokey then. Where are the specs for NTFS so that I (as a Microsoft customer) can use another OS to mount a Windows drive and access MY data?

      Perhaps you should explain your definition of 'open' and we will gladly point out where that differs from both the dictionary definition and common usage of the word.

    • they don't go out of there way to make it hard to develop on there platforms or they'd just be another mac

      It is to laugh. I'd rather develop with Cocoa and Objective-C than look at another line of .NET crud in my life. And I've got enough experience with both to back that statement up.

  • by coastin (780654) *

    There's also the problem of the "observer effect," which is potentially changing an environment being part of it. "This is the important part for Microsoft," he said. "We have an impact from what people call the ripple effect ... What would actually happen if we were in that environment?"

    You'd really mess it up comes to mind!

    One of the things MS fails to see is that the Open Source movement has lit a fire under the whole computing industry and opened doors for many who have great ideas. The part I lik

  • by DeveloperAdvantage (923539) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:14PM (#14762703) Homepage
    Of course Microsoft will keep an eye on open source. I think open source is of huge benefit to large commercial software companies. Here's why.

    The open source movement provides a huge ecosystem of software projects which a large company like Microsoft can monitor. When a large company sees a successful open source project, they know there is value to what the project is doing. A level of demand is thus established. Then, they can do some research and try determine whether or not there is a successful business model which can be built around the project, i.e., whether or not the project can be made to generate cash. If it can, then they can decide an appropriate strategy to profit from it, either through purchasing the company or its talent, or simply duplicating the company's work.

    There are few other industries where so many talented people are willing to work for free.
    • > There are few other industries where so many talented people are willing to work for free.

      Music and Sport being two of them.

      Not that "open source" does not equal "working for free". The vast majority of open source code that people are actually using, is created by people who get paid competitive salaries.
  • maybe it's too early in the morning, but at first glance, I'm convinced that it was the Open Source Bitterness Conference.
  • More FUD (Score:2, Funny)

    by gomadtroll (206628)
    Unless the license is GPL. MS is just blowing smoke,or is that inhaling ?
  • I think he probably said

    The challenge 'of our' perception
    and they misheard it as
    The challenge 'over' perception.
  • I've tried to find Hilf's blog, but he doesn't appear to have one. These are some suggestions I've made to Microsoft's previous Shared (Scared?) Source Czar, Jason Matusow:

    Now that there has been an attempt to halt license bloat, begin by releasing the MS WinCE under the unlimited MS Community License, replacing the four existing Shared Source Licenses with one, offering businesses a one-off lump sum license buy-out or an annual relicensing deal a la AT&T and Unix;

    Microsoft wants the developing nat

  • "Coopetition, or simultaneously cooperating and competing with rivals, has long been Microsoft's broader business strategy."

    My bullshit meter just pegged, shot a great blue flash all the way across the room and is now lying on the floor in flames...

  • Statement:
    There's also the problem of the "observer effect," which is potentially changing an environment being part of it. "This is the important part for Microsoft," he said. "We have an impact from what people call the ripple effect ... What would actually happen if we were in that environment?"

    Translation:
    Dammit, we reacted badly to the OSS movement and too many people noticed. Now we have to fight that perception as well as OSS itself.

    Reaction:
    zomg mindshare is leaking...but we can't let

  • Microsoft announced the formation of its new division MS Open Source (TM). The goal of MS Open Source is to convince customers that Open Source is Closed Source, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.

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