Microsoft pledge questioned

Microsoft pledge questioned

Industry sources sceptical about giant’s drive to become more open

Onlookers have questioned Microsoft’s pledge to change its technology and business practices to become more open for developers, partners, customers and competitors.

The vendor assured that it will open connections, promote data portability, enhance support for industry standards and foster more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, said: “For the past 33 years, Microsoft has shared a lot of information with hundreds of thousands of partners around the world and helped build the industry, but this announcement represents a significant expansion toward even greater transparency.”

A representative for Microsoft UK said: “Microsoft is excited about the new opportunities that this announcement presents for all types of software developers in the UK,” he added.

The representative continued: “I am confident that developers here in the UK will take full advantage of these new opportunities. This is the right thing to do for our customers and for the industry”

However, industry observers argued that Microsoft’s announcement was spurred by its recent run-ins with US regulatory authorities and European regulators for refusing to disclose interface information for its monopoly.

Michael Cunningham, executive vice president and general counsel of Red Hat, said: “Red Hat regards this most recent announcement with a healthy dose of scepticism. Three commitments by Microsoft would show that it really means what it is announcing – commitment to open standards, commitment to interoperability with open source and commitment to competition on a level playing field.”

Peter Dawes-Huish, chief executive of reseller LinuxIT, agreed that Microsoft’s announcement should be approached with reservation.

“LinuxIT welcomes the announcement as Microsoft begins to feel its way through the open source world; however it’s a very small step,” said Dawes-Huish.

“LinuxIT would feel more confident if Microsoft committed to open source standards instead of pushing its own and it should be encouraged to interact with the open source community more.”