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A New Open Source and Integration Mindset at Microsoft


By joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), as announced two weeks ago, Microsoft clearly shows that a new mindset, new approach has taken over. My partner Ed said in one of our recent Teams meetings that it marks the company’s “post-Ballmer” era. Erich Andersen, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel said this on the Azure Blog:

Now, as we join OIN, we believe Microsoft will be able to do more than ever to help protect Linux and other important open source workloads from patent assertions. We bring a valuable and deep portfolio of over 60,000 issued patents to OIN. We also hope that our decision to join will attract many other companies to OIN, making the license network even stronger for the benefit of the open source community.

What I find most interesting may be found between the lines in this assertion: Microsoft wants to reassure the Open Source community and its developers that they need not fear being sued for patent and / or copyright infringements. Likewise, as Microsoft proceeds with acquiring GitHub, unconditionally accepted by European Union antitrust authorities Friday last week, we see further evidence of that same mindset.

Furthermore, I believe the same impetus drives Microsoft’s hard work in integrating other operating systems into its ecosystem. The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is available as an optional feature in Windows 10, and Hyper-V users can use the Quick Create tool to create an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine in a minute or two, without having to install it from scratch.

On the mobile front, Android and iOS devices have been integrated into Microsoft’s ecosystem — particularly Android. On Android devices, users report that the Microsoft Launcher works even better than Android’s own built-in equivalent. Also, Microsoft Edge is becoming a surprisingly popular mobile browser among Android users. Applications like the Office suite and especially Microsoft Teams work well on Android. Development of the next Windows 10 feature upgrade, 19H1, takes this integration even further as evidenced in current 19H1 preview builds.

All in all, I personally welcome this development. To make a presentation in PowerPoint on PC, showing it to team members by joining a Teams meeting from Android phone when on the road, getting phone messages and notifications on PC, sending text messages from your desktop PC, this all is already available. Although I’m a great Windows Phone fan myself — I still run WP 8.1 on my old Nokia Lumia 925 — I have to accept the facts: Microsoft made a clever, user-friendly move by abandoning Windows Phone and moving to support Android and iOS.

Microsoft, please allow me to express my sincere, subjective personal opinion: Apart from recent Windows 10 delivery issues, you are going in the right direction. Keep up that good work!

Kari

Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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