Microsoft’s open sauce war ends

The days of Microsoft considering Open Source as a “cancer” and “un-American” are over according to Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond,.

According to CNET, the long running hatred of Open Sauce goes back to 1976, when co-founder Bill Gates published an open letter chiding hobbyists for using Microsoft’s Altair Basic program without paying for it.

Microsoft Open Source as a threat to the way it sold software and services and went on the PR offensive and claimed that ‘Open source was an intellectual-property destroyer.

Former Windows chief Jim Allchin famously quipped in 2001. ”I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business”.

The shy and retiring Steve Ballmer said that that Linux was a cancer that “attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”.

Now according to Mark Hill, Vole’s feud with open source has been sputtering for quite some time, and the senior managers who led the anti-open source charge have left the Vole hill. Open source is now routinely used by corporations around the world, and the company’s sniffy put-downs only fed into the perception of Microsoft as out of touch.

Hammond said that there had been a real change in Microsoft’s attitude. He said that there were many example where Microsoft is integrating with, and even creating open source in an effort to grow market share and support customers.

“The real world isn’t black and white — and there are open-source companies that sell proprietary software and proprietary companies that use OSS to augment their commercial software and make it more attractive. As developer adoption of open-source software has grown to the 70 percent-plus level, I think most business units at Microsoft realized that treating it like ‘a cancer’ was self-defeating — they lost that battle a long time ago.”

Last month, the company finally made official its unofficial decision to incorporate some open-source code into its developer and programming languages. More recently, Microsoft put 22-year company veteran Mark Hill in charge of a global group to cultivate open-source developers to write applications that work with Azure, the Microsoft cloud service that competes against the likes of Rackspace, Google, and Amazon.