Business as Usual

by billhilf on May 18, 2007 09:22pm

It’s been an interesting week, with people offering a range of opinions about what they think is happening in Redmond.  Despite a lot of pontification, our strategy regarding intellectual property and open source has not changed – and it is not frivolous litigation or fear.

IDG did an article – it’s a far more accurate reflection of Microsoft’s IP strategy than the Fortune article from earlier this week.  Andy Updegrove also has a thoughtful article on his site, and Gartner’s lead open source analysts have been clear to customers: “don’t panic.”
Our strategy remains the same:

  1. Our IP bridge makes lawsuits unnecesary.
  2. We will continue to offer this licensing bridge to commercial software distribution companies.
  3. This IP bridge enables Open Source developers to develop software free from concerns about patents.
  4. We will continue to grow Open Source applications and technologies on the Microsoft platform.

Microsoft was created by developers, for developers and is only successful through developers and customers.  Developers who write Open Source software are participating in a worldwide community of practice and a spirit of collaboration.  These are noble characteristics and Microsoft both applauds and supports this work.

We continue to champion projects like JBoss, Zend (PHP), and SugarCRM, as well as Firefox, openwsman, Bandit and thousands of others.  We are building relationships and a track record here and we ask that you judge us on these actions.  We will work with commercial and non-commercial developers to increase the availability and quality of open source on Windows and interoperability with Windows.

Our IP strategy has not changed.  Where we have unique and valuable intellectual property (as indicated by our high scores on the science strength of our patents) we will seek to license it to commercial entities (such as Samsung and Fuji Xerox).

It’s not us versus the free world.  It’s about commercial companies working together around IP issues – it’s business as usual.

- Bill Hilf and Sam Ramji

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