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Microsoft’s New Openness Makes More Sense

Big fines often change people's minds about things

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When Microsoft announced last week a new openness philosophy, the first thought that came to mind was, “Well, that’s a switch!.” Considering they’d been fighting tooth and nail against open source competitors for years – I seem to remember Steve Ballmer paying personal visits to mayors in France and Germany to talk them out of Linux – opening up everything to developers was a surprising move.

This week we learn the European Commission levied an additional $1.3 billion fine for failure to comply with an antitrust ruling, and the timing of everything becomes pretty clear. I live-blogged the conference call last week, and I remember Steve Ballmer breezing by with a couple of sentences, sliding them in at the end of large chunks of rhetoric and then moving on.

The sentences were about full compliance with EU rulings. I would have asked him about it during the Q&A period, but the Microsoft execs were very busy and had to run.

This week, big fine. Coincidence? Sounds like Microsoft knew it was coming and was working on getting out of it. The show of openness then, would be a show for the EU in the Lord’s-Prayer hopes of being forgiven their trespasses.

It conceivably could help, too, when they’re trying to buy a major competitor as a salve to further antitrust concerns. Plus that’s one more billion they’ll have to come up with in the purchase process, right? 

Microsoft’s New Openness Makes More Sense
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  • Rich Ord

    Jason — I see a sinister underlying motive when Europe fines one of the largest companies in the U.S. This is really a trade issue where the United States ought to be stepping in and protecting Microsoft.

    The original EU fine was the result of a complaint by RealNetworks — a U.S. company. If you look at the reasons for the fines, harm done to Europe is hard to find.

    Rich Ord
    CEO, iEntry, Inc.
    Publisher of WebProNews

  • http://www.riversagency.com catalog design chapel hill

    I hope this continues because I would hate to see them have the same fate as yahoo, although i am sure they have alot of other backings besides just the web.

  • http://www.encyclopedia.com/ Find articles

    Its about time a big company started to open up. 

  • http://www.hemroidshelp.com hemroids

    It’s nice to see MS being openminded about antitrust elements. Ultimately, you cannot survive in business in a bubble – and even competitors should understand the yin and yang of business is bout push and pull – not about absolutel domination.

  • http://www.animaroo.com puppies for sale

    It’s nice to see Microsoft make the move toward being more open to opensource, however the proof is in the pudding herre. Opensource really is the future of technology and if MS doesn’t move with the times, they will indeed lose market share.