Does Hilf speak for Microsoft on open source?

Hilf's title today has nothing to do with open source. He competes with open source. So does Microsoft generally, on every level -- including the legal one. Let's stop pretending it's any different.

Bill Hilf of Microsoft
Information Week has published a fawning interview with Microsoft's Bill Hilf (right), now general manager of Windows Server marketing and platform strategy, stating he was "revealing" the company's open source strategy.

In fact he did nothing of the kind. He claimed proprietary software offers a "guarantee" it works (try to find that in any license agreement), said his customers have "never heard of" Richard Stallman, and admitted he competes with Red Hat.

One point he did clear up was to take personal credit for submitting Microsoft's open source licenses to the OSI.

But the larger question remains. Does Bill Hilf speak for Microsoft's open source policy? He's now a Windows server manager, and while he worked with open source in the past, I see no evidence he is setting policy in this area.

Microsoft's open source policy is set by CEO Steve Ballmer. The threat to Microsoft from open source has risen in importance since ZDNet launched this blog. It now goes all the way to the top.

For some time Hilf and Ballmer had their statements played in the press as a "good cop-bad cop" routine, but I have seen nothing since Hilf's promotion to indicate that continues.

Hilf's title today has nothing to do with open source. He competes with open source. So does Microsoft generally, on every level -- including the legal one.

Let's stop pretending it's any different.

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