According to GeekWire, Microsoft is stepping up its game when it comes to involvement in open-source initiatives. The company has announced a new subsidiary called “Microsoft Open Technologies Inc.”, which will handle open-source products and standards projects for the company.
Why a whole new company? Microsoft executive Jean Paoli, and the subsidiary’s president told GeekWire this today:
We believe that the subsidiary will provide a new way of engaging with open-source communities in a more clearly defined manner,” he said, adding that the effort is about ”bridging Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.
While Microsoft hasn’t always had the best relationship with the open-source community, it has taken steps to involve itself more and to build a stronger developer ecosystem around its products. Since this new venture is an entirely separate company, it will have its own board of directors and will be able to work independently from Microsoft’s money-making efforts.
Here’s an excerpt from Jean Paoli’s blog post about the announcement today:
I am really excited to be able to share with you today that Microsoft has announced a new wholly owned subsidiary known as Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., to advance the company’s investment in openness – including interoperability, open standards and open source.
My existing Interoperability Strategy team will form the nucleus of this new subsidiary, and I will serve as President of Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
The team has worked closely with many business groups on numerous standards initiatives across Microsoft, including the W3C’s HTML5, IETF’s HTTP 2.0, cloud standards in DMTF and OASIS, and in many open source environments such as Node.js, MongoDB and Phonegap/Cordova.
It will be interesting to see what type of leadership Microsoft can bring to the open-source community, and whether it can happily build free alternatives alongside the products that it currently sells to enterprises.