29th feb, 2008

Analysis of Microsofts open arms

Some time ago Microsoft announced that they will “provide more access to APIs and previously proprietary protocols for some of its major software products, including Windows and Office”. Microsoft has set out new principles for interoperability:

  1. ensuring open connections
  2. promoting data portability
  3. enhancing support for industry standards; and
  4. fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

Infoworld has an analysis on how open the arms are.

Tom yager is not all that enthusiastic about the openness because it comes with a clause: MS code is open and patents are licensed for free to non commercial use, but not for commercial use. To Yager this mean that a non commercial solution can end up in a commercial package at a point down the line and suddenly turn into a landmine.

In reality this is old news and not tied to the new openness. Patented are always free to use for non-commercial use, which mean that a programmer can code something using the patent specs. That code can later be submitted to fx the kernel in Linux and included. This creates the same landmine effect. The new thing that MS is doing is to open API´s and protocols so you can see what they are doing. Furthermore the new promise can be interpreted as a promise to hold back litigation in a number of cases…but its not a patenet ceasefire i relation to their competitors.

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