Lots of people are commenting about yesterday’s announcement from Microsoft about their intentions to be more transparent, provide more information to the community and make their flagship products more interoperable. In a nutshell, they said that they are implementing the following principles:
- ensuring open connections
- promoting data portability
- enhancing support for industry standards
- fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.
This is a significant change the stance they had in the past where they had surrounded themselves with boundaries of patents, trade secrets and a downright stubbornness to accept the fact that they were only one piece of the jigsaw the makes up the IT industry.
The announcement seems to have been welcomed by a number of parties, though others remain extremely skeptical. One suspicious party is the EU, which released a statement shortly after which in essence calls for Microsoft to prove their words before they consider dropping any anti-trust charges against them.
What does it mean for the consumer? Time will tell; depending on how Microsoft take this forward and whether the industry accepts they are doing enough. I think it is a strategic step in the right direction. Interoperability is unavoidable and any player trying to build a walled garden is really just investing in door hardware and concrete to lock themselves into a short organisational life cycle.