Yahoo could be Microsoft's 'prove it' moment on open source interoperability

Yahoo could be Microsoft's 'prove it' moment on open source interoperability

Summary: What do you get if you couple an email from Kevin Johnson, Microsoft president of the company Platforms & Services Division, to employees about the Yahoo deal and the software giant's pledge to be more interoperable with the open source world? One big moment to prove Microsoft is serious about this interoperability thing.

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What do you get if you couple an email from Kevin Johnson, Microsoft president of the company Platforms & Services Division, to employees about the Yahoo deal and the software giant's pledge to be more interoperable with the open source world? One big moment to prove Microsoft is serious about this interoperability thing.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced its big plans to become more interoperable with open source software. The move was met with a lot of skepticism and made for some entertaining debate. On Friday, Johnson launched his memo to employees (Techmeme). The letter was designed to deliver the message that Microsoft is serious about the purchase of Yahoo and address any employee concerns. The email was also designed for Yahoo employees to read. But this passage stuck out for me:

Q: If we move forward with a combination, what’s our plan for addressing Yahoo!’s technology infrastructure, since it’s non-Windows based?

A: Services we’ve acquired over the years have been based on both Windows and open source technologies. Although Windows is our strategic platform and in some cases the teams ultimately migrated their products to Windows for a variety of reasons, in other cases we have prioritized continuity and have used open interoperability mechanisms to achieve effective systems integration. Yahoo! has made significant investments in both its skills and technologies, so we would work closely with Yahoo! engineers to make pragmatic platform and integration methodology decisions as appropriate, prioritizing above all how those decisions would impact customers.

Yahoo has invested heavily in open source. Microsoft obviously is a Windows shop. How do you rectify the two? You connect the infrastructure without nuking Yahoo's investment. If that happens, Microsoft will have one massive case study to take to the market. Microsoft will have its "prove it" moment about interoperability and can silence a lot of critics.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Social Enterprise

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11 comments
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  • It's a good question, Larry...

    And I think people should consider that the Yahoo! reflects Microsoft's Hello-Moment and their absolute need to deprecate Windows, which is not a Web 2.0 platform.

    We think it's time to look to Microsoft's pact with Sun and look for Solaris to be the new Microhoo platform for the Web -- if the deal comes off.

    Microsoft will only embrace Linux as a last resort -- and they will, at that ... eventually.
    swhiser
  • Is a good question

    What MS does with Yahoo would be a good gauge of whether or not MS' interest in interoperability is more than rhetorical. On the other hand, MS is also renowned for eating its own dog food and I've always found that to be one of its more appealing traits (it does improve the quality of the product). I expect MS to try to make Windows as functional as possible and have no objections whatever to their doing so.

    I guess we'll see what happens.
    John L. Ries
  • Nobody is buying it

    [url=http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080221184924826]FYI[/url]

    Not nobody. Not nohow.
    D T Schmitz
  • Microsoft is not in need of proving anything.

    What in the world ever gave you the idea they need to prove anything to the tiny, disenfranchised minority? Believe them or don't, makes no difference to anyone in a position to do anything about it.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • What disenfranchised minority?

      They are trying to buy a company thats built almost completely on this "minority" and obviously provided better services. They are seeking to buy this company to attempt to compete with another company thats also built almost entirely on this "minority". There is barely a major web property or hosting company that isn't running on this "minority". In fact MS itself has had to rely on this "minority" to have its own site served.

      This "minority" is definitely no stranger in the server room and the rise of visualization technology makes it more attractive than ever now. You are right though. The don't need to prove anything to the "minority". They need to start proving why their server platform is even relevant at this point. This isn't the desktop realm.
      storm14k
  • There you are, Microsoft, 2008

    "For the right fee you can interoperate.
    Otherwise you can't. Nothing new about that.
    And as best as I can figure, they are
    selling patent licenses to patents Samba
    says it didn't need. They could work around
    them. And by the way, Novell is cited as a
    fine example of Microsoft's efforts to be
    interoperable. But Novell has yet to ship
    any GPLv3 code. Because it can't, without
    consequences. So how is that
    interoperability?"

    PASS THE HOGWASH, PLEASE! MORE SLOP, ANYONE?
    Ole Man
  • You only have to follow the money to understand that MS will maintain the

    compatibility problems. They might pretend to be nice guys, and help fix some old compatibility problems, at the same time creating new ones for instance Silverlight and OOXML.

    But, it is funny for them to offer the fix the very problems they created.
    DonnieBoy
    • Huh?

      OOXML is a standard (soon ratified by ISO) that anyone may use and Silverlight is being ported to OS X and Linux WITH Microsoft's help. Gee, do you want them to write the code for them too?
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • What were you smoking when you wrote this?

        [i]Silverlight is being ported to OS X and Linux WITH Microsoft's help. Gee, do you want them to write the code for them too?[/i]

        Porting involves writing code that compiles and executes in a given environment or for a given processor (ie: SPArc, MIPS, i686, etc.). The 2 quoted sentences are in contradiction to each other and indicative of a non-technical understanding of things (perhaps by someone with no technical experience or understanding).
        B.O.F.H.
  • For tier one web companies, Windows is not only the minority, but Microsoft

    is the ONLY one using it. I guess if you want to use the word disenfranchised, for Microsoft here we can.
    DonnieBoy
  • RE: Yahoo could be Microsoft's 'prove it' moment on open source interoperability

    I believe most of the open source software Yahoo! uses is not under the GPL, but is under Mozilla/Apache style licenses, which makes it much easier for Microsoft to stomach.
    scottmace2002