Microsoft dances with open source businesses

Summary:A year ago open source businesses would see through this like a pane of glass. Now it's more of a stained glass window. After a few hours with the accountant it becomes an appealing offer.

Snow White and witch from DisneyÂ’s Snow White, disney.wikia.com
Open source businesspeople are frustrated that their business models is not bringing them enormous returns. Microsoft perceives the threat of open source and wants to neutralize it.

Let the dance begin. (Image from the Disney Wikia.)

If "we're all mixed source companies" then there is no real difference between Microsoft and, say, Red Hat. Microsoft wants merely to share its profit secrets with anyone who is interested in making money rather than political points.

Thus its well-timed release of Web platform installers which can get open source developers conversant with tools like ASP .Net, Silverlight, and the .Net Framework.

The Web installer comes with out of the box support for such projects as Drupal and OSCommerce. Microsoft is aiming to become the largest open source distributor of them all.

The picture above, from the Disney classic "Snow White," illustrates my point. The apple was delicious. The girl ate it and the poison took her. There is no handsome prince in this story, however.

Note the continuum. Here is an open source tool. Here is something with a Microsoft open source license. Here is something with just a Microsoft license. Before you know it you're one of us.

And you should be one of us, says Microsoft. We make money. You're a businessperson, you want to make money too. You don't want to be a dirty hippie in your parents' garage all your life, do you?

A year ago open source businesses would see through this like a pane of glass. Now it's more of a stained glass window. After a few hours with the accountant it becomes an appealing offer.

After all, if pure open source business models don't pay, if we're all mixed source now, why not enter into Microsoft's orbit?

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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