How big a threat is good Microsoft?

Microsoft plans to give people what they know they want from open source, support it better than an open source project can, and get its enterprise market share back.

Bill Gates as angel, by Matt Elder
One point was made to me repeatedly while covering the HIMSS show for ZDNet Healthcare this week. (Drawing by Matt Elder.)

All this "good Microsoft" stuff about supporting open source, abut placing code on Codeplex, and about keeping open source projects "in the loop" regarding format changes, is no head fake.

It's serious. This is the new strategy. Kill open source with kindness.

Over time, if this strategy holds, all the hoopla over OOXML and SharePoint should die down. Microsoft will become as "open" as it was said to be in the 1980s. Shouts of kumbaya will be heard across the land.

Stop laughing.

Rather than trying to trap people with its proprietary code, Microsoft plans to give people what they know they want from open source, support it better than an open source project can, and get its enterprise market share back.

That's the theory.

Now let's assume we're being told the truth. (I know, big assumption.) But wouldn't Microsoft's support, its development strength, and its enterprise hand-holding make it a threat to every open source project on the planet, if this were its strategy?

Isn't this the best strategy Microsoft, in fact, has?

And how successful do you think it might be?[poll id=68]

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