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Microsoft Goes to China for Open Source Collaboration

China, meanwhile, continues to develop its own China Operating System (COS).

Microsoft is expanding its open source collaboration efforts overseas, with a special emphasis on the cloud.

Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. has opened an office in Shanghai, China.

China officials offered statements of support for the facility in Microsoft's announcement, issued today. The opening of the new facility signals that Microsoft will be investing in, and providing support to, the local open source communities in the country. The new office, called "Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai Co. Ltd.," will be staffed with engineers and standards experts focused on interoperability between proprietary Microsoft products and open source software developed in China.

"Our new subsidiary will offer more flexibility to iterate and release open source software created in China, participate in existing open source and open standards efforts and collaborate with the community of open source developers in China," said Jean Paoli, president of Microsoft Open Technologies, in a released statement.

One focus particularly called out for the China subsidiary is facilitating interoperability between open source software and Windows Azure. Microsoft had announced back in May that it was expanding its Windows Azure cloud-computing services into China and other countries in that hemisphere. Microsoft is partnering local Shanghai-based 21Vianet to deliver the Windows Azure services.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is proceeding apace to foster its own Linux-based China Operating System (COS) to compete with operating systems from Microsoft, Apple and Google that are used in the country, according to a CNET report. The COS development effort comes on top of China's earlier collaboration with Canonical to develop a state-sponsored Ubuntu OS for use in China.

Microsoft Open Technologies is a wholly-owned Microsoft subsidiary that was formed almost two years ago. Microsoft's had its collaboration efforts in place with open source software projects for years before creating Microsoft Open Technologies. However, the subsidiary apparently was created to help speed up those collaboration efforts.

Microsoft Open Technologies currently works with various Apache open source projects, such as Apache Cordoba and Apache Qpid. It also works with open source communities, such as JQuery, Node.js and WebKit, among others. It contributes its interoperability efforts to standards organizations, including DMTF, ECMA, IETF, OASIS, W3C and ISO/IEC. Such collaboration efforts mark a more recent phase for Microsoft, which has been sued by companies precisely for not enabling product interoperability with Windows.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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