While I would like to stand up and cheer Microsoft on them setting up the “Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc”, I am not convinced that they are doing this in good faith.
Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, said in 1991 – 21 years ago – that
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”
only to have all of that conveniently forgotten years later when they themselves started patenting software and suing people all over. These are the kinds of actions taken by a company who cannot innovate or create anything that is new and valuable. It is also the same company whose CE goes around saying things like:
“Linux violates over 228 patents, and somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property,”
Too many of these statements and blatant lies from a company that has lost its ethical compass. This is the same company that is now pro-CISPA even after backing down from being pro-SOPA. Do read this statement from EFF about what’s wrong with CISPA.
Never mind all that. Clearly, Microsoft sees money in FOSS. It is business as usual for them in creating their new subsidiary.
If they are really serious about FOSS being part of their long-term future, I am sure they will be reaching out to many people in the FOSS world to join them. Thus far, all I have seen is a redeployment of their internal, dyed-in-the-wool MSFTies.
I think Simon’s commentary on the plausible reasons for Microsoft setting this new entity up is a good set of conspiracy theories, but I think Simon gives Microsoft too much credit.