Microsoft has an offer open-source startups are having a hard time refusing. Should they?
That's the question I asked myself while reading Mary Jo Foley's excellent article that dissects Microsoft's open-source strategy. As it turns out, it's very similar to Microsoft's general partner strategy: embrace and envelope. (Or embrace, extend, and extinguish, as used to be Microsoft's marching orders.)
Microsoft is looking at open-source software (OSS) as just another flavor of independent software vendors (ISV) software. Microsoft's goal is to convince OSS vendors to port their software to Windows. But Microsoft doesn't want OSS software to just sit on top of Windows; the company wants this software to be tied into the Windows ecosystem by integrating with Active Directory, Microsoft Office, Expression designer tools, System Center systems-management wares and SQL Server database.
Sounds OK, right? Sort of. As Mary Jo continues:
Microsoft's OSS strategy makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. It's another way for Microsoft to try to make Linux obsolete, and not look as obviously ruthless doing so.
Therein lies the problem. Most open-source applications get evaluated on Windows. Most go into production on Linux. There are good reasons for this.… Read more