Microsoft seems to be losing all its old bad behaviours and changing to become an open, participative player in the new world. And all power to them. I think it is the right move strategically and it should open up opportunities for entrepreneurs and VCs.
I posted a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft are going after the internet and that they understand what they will need to do to succeed – although they still face a huge challenge
Now we have the Novell deal and it appears that Microsoft is embracing Open Source.
I can believe that.
They rolled out Ballmer to make the announcement, and it just makes sense. Open source has an unstoppable momentum. Plus they have Ray Ozzie pulling the strings now.
This about turn is similar in many ways to the change from being anti internet to pro internet that Microsoft made in the 90s.
Check out Travis Read’s Software Blog for some thoughts on their motivations.
I’m also seeing evidence of changing behaviour in the field. MSFT have stepped up their efforts to partner with VCs notably over the last couple of years (from a point maybe five years ago where their message to us was every close to “please invest in companies that drive our ecosystem, but we won’t buy any of them, and if the markets get big enough we will develop our own product”!!! good to see that arrogance disappearing).
They are even beginning to partner with companies that don’t run on MSFT platforms.
At an even more micro level at Esprit we are redeveloping a couple of key internal apps and Sharepoint is looking like it might be the way to go for our wiki style internal collaboration platform.