Microsoft’s New Openness Makes More Sense

    February 27, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

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?