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Here Is Why Microsoft Is Warming Up To Open Source!
 
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Here Is Why Microsoft Is Warming Up To Open Source!  
 
When we speak about partnering with the open source ecosystem, we mean to work a way forward. When we come to competing, we continue to compete with our open source competitors, says Mandar Naik, director, platform strategy, Microsoft India.   
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012 It was just a decade before when Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft called Linux 'cancer'. Times have changed and so has Microsoft and its attitude towards open source technology. Microsoft has not only gone warm towards open source technologies but has taken a concrete step forward in the direction by opening an all-new open source subsidiary for its initiatives. EFYTimes.com spoke to Mandar Naik, director, platform strategy, Microsoft India about Microsoft's changed attitude and why Linux is no more 'cancerous' for the company.

Naik speaks:

Mandar Naik, Microsoft, Microsoft's open source subsidiary, Open source technology, linux, Steve Ballmer. Microsoft's CEO




On why Microsoft took the open source way...

One of the core things that have happened to Microsoft is a vast change in our outlook. If you go back ten years, we could say that Microsoft competed with open source but that was driven more by what customers wanted. Ten years back the debate was whether open source is better or proprietary software. Today, the market has matured and these conversations have changed tremendously.

On how the bridge between proprietary and open source technologies was built...

One of the fundamental things that customers have realised is that it`s not about source code is open or the software is proprietary. At the end of the day what matters is getting the job done. So a CIO primarily aims at getting the right business solutions. If he can get that in open source, then good, else if a proprietary software fits the bill, that is fair too. So most of the IT environment in today's world are mixed. You can't say any more that a company is going to use just proprietary software or just open source software. There are elements of both. Customers now want to know how proprietary software gels well with the open source software. The customer has driven this change based on how their needs have changed. That is the reason why Microsoft has changed as well. It`s not just Microsoft but even the open source community. In recent times, we have seen tremendous opportunities where we can partner with open source.

There are huge number of developers who use frameworks like Java, PHP, etc. So what Microsoft has done ensuring that PHP runs as well in the company's platform as it does on any other platform. So that's the kind of partnership that we are looking at driving. And it`s not about what I feel but Microsoft as an unit wants to drive similar partnerships in a very strategic manner. Today every product that we are coming up with, ensures interoperability with all other products. That's the biggest change that has happened. If you look around two years back, we had started seeing this change coming to our main product.

While Windows has been a large base for us from the users` stand point, the cloud was a complete wide space for all of us. So, when we started thinking about what our cloud strategy would be, the one thing that we were absolutely committed about was that we have to be as open as possible on the cloud. We did not want to say that our cloud is only for x developers or y developers who are using our technology, that`s not what this is about. So, fundamentally when we started building the cloud, we shifted gear and saw the opportunity to really become open as a company and that's what we are committed to. We did global launches of tools from India itself for SDKs, for Java and PHP developers. If you are a Java developers or a PHP developer and you want to develop on Windows, you don't have to worry anymore, we will provide you the tools required for developing on Windows and these tools are all open sourced. That was the good starting point in India.

That's where the partnership with the open source community is heading. We are learning to work with the open source community and the open source community is learning to work with us.

On how Microsoft has gone realistic in adopting open source....

We got to be very realistic on why we exist as an industry. It`s not about Microsoft, or open source companies, all developers exist with the purpose of serving what the customers need. So, for us it is very natural that we will always do what customers need. That is reflected in each and every product that we have come up with and obviously there is a whole lot of innovation there. I think that this change in Microsoft had occurred long time ago.

On Microsoft's image makeover...

I personally think that Microsoft hasn't struggled with this image makeover. If you look at the mature markets like the North America or Europe, this partnership with the open source has really made a huge impact in enterprises and customers. So, if you look at our partnership with SUSE that we entered a few years ago, we have more than 8090 enterprise customers, who deployed SUSE and Microsoft in a virtualised environment. This has happened because of the partnership. SUSE too was very keen on our partnership as well. So, it`s not lip service honestly. It`s not something fake to keep people quiet. I don't think the real intention is to keep people quiet. We always talk about, I know, 10 years ago Steve Balmer said Linux is cancer and I am not denying it. But times have changed.

On how Microsoft still competes with open source...

If you think about the IT industry, it consistently and continuously changes and we have got to adopt. And this commitment of partnering with the open source is a part of the journey. But that doesn't mean that we are not going to compete. We see competitors today even in the open source eco-system just like we see competitors in the proprietary ecosystem. We have got competitors and competition is separate from the overall development of the industry. So, when we speak about partnering with the open source ecosystem, we mean to work a way forward. When we come to competing, we keep on competing with the open source competitors. So, if you take cloud for example, we compete with Amazon. It`s a proprietary platform. Just like that we would compete with other cloud platform of open source ecosystem.

Diksha  P Gupta, EFYTIMES News Network


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