Desmond File

Blog archive

What's Behind Microsoft's Recent Moves?

A tip of the hat to Mary Jo Foley, who's blogging about an issue that's earned our attention. That is, the spate of Microsoft announcements, initiatives and policy changes that all seem to point toward a more open and standards-compliant stance from Redmond. I wrote about this in the March 4 issue of the Redmond Developer Newsletter.

The question all along has been: why? Why is Microsoft now opening access to its technologies and conforming to standards? Is it all about customer demand and being competitive? To an extent, absolutely -- Microsoft customers and developers have welcomed all the recent moves. But it also seems that each new initiative is spurred by a pointed threat.

As Foley points out in her blog, the January decision by Microsoft to allow its customers to virtualize the Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium versions of its operating system may not be due to Microsoft becoming comfortable with the security of the environments. Rather, a legal complaint from BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies may have spurred Microsoft to change its stance.

According to the recent Joint Status Report from the Department of Justice in the United States vs. Microsoft Corporation case, Phoenix in December complained that its new virtualization product was likely to suffer from Microsoft's license restrictions. Phoenix also argued that Microsoft's stance would "deter consumers from using virtualization software made by Phoenix and other companies."

Microsoft moved quickly to resolve the complaint. As the document notes: "After discussions with Plaintiff States and the [Technical Committee], Microsoft agreed to remove the EULA restrictions and has done so."

It's hardly surprising that Microsoft, perhaps the most examined company in the world, might have to change course in response to legal or regulatory threats. What's really interesting is that we've seen several such corrections over the past couple of years. Whether it's Microsoft embracing XML file formats to avoid having Office locked out of Massachusetts, or Redmond announcing a four-point interoperability initiative just ahead of a European Union finding, it seems like there's an important dynamic driving some key business decisions in Redmond.

What does it mean for developers? In the short-term, Microsoft has delivered increased transparency, openness and interoperability. By any measure, these are very good things. The only concern is that it may have taken the point of a spear to get them done.

What do you think of Microsoft's recent moves? Do the motivations behind them even matter if developers are gaining the access and interoperability that they need? E-mail me at [email protected] and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of this issue.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/11/2008 at 1:15 PM


comments powered by Disqus

Featured

  • VS Code Now Has Apple Silicon Builds for Native Mac Development

    Goodbye Rosetta, hello M1. Visual Studio Code has been updated with new builds that let it run natively on machines with Apple Silicon (M1), the company's own ARM64 chips.

  • Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.9 Ships with .NET 6 Preview 1 Support

    During its Ignite 2021 online event for IT pros and developers this week, Microsoft shipped Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.9, arriving with out-of-the-box support for .NET 6 Preview 1, which the company also released recently.

  • Analyst: TypeScript Now Firmly in Top 10 Echelon (Ruby, Not So Much)

    RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady believes TypeScript has achieved the rare feat of firmly ensconcing itself into the top 10 echelon of his ranking, now questioning how high it might go.

  • Black White Wave IMage

    Neural Regression Using PyTorch: Training

    The goal of a regression problem is to predict a single numeric value, for example, predicting the annual revenue of a new restaurant based on variables such as menu prices, number of tables, location and so on.

Upcoming Events