Amazing news today that Microsoft are set to provide software blueprints on their website and promise not to sue developers who make use of them (for non-commercial purposes).

Have Microsoft grown up and realised that a closed environment is not the best for fostering innovation, something which Microsoft used to have in heaps but seems lacking lately?

Really good news for those working on online office solutions as interoperability should be much easier to proved. And great news for users as this could open up many opportunities to make software more accessible and open to all.

News today that the BBC has been slated by the Open Source Consortium for it’s plans to make it’s on demand service work only for users of PC’s with Windows (in other words Microsoft). The OSC believes this is anti-competitive, and would be in breach of the broadcaster’s charter by using public funds to develop and promote the service.

I totally agree with the OSC. No doubt the BBC will expect anyone watching their on-demand to have paid a license fee so why should some people be excluded? Quite why they can’t just develop the software to work on all platforms is beyond me, it’s so easy these days to make apps platform independent, seems really narrow minded to exclude a group of users so large as Linux/Mac owners.

So, apparently Microsoft are now embracing open source technologies and getting all huggy with Linux and PHP suppliers…

The news came out earlier this week that they have developed a partnership with Zend to ensure that the experience of running PHP on Windows Server improves. Great news, about time MS acknowledged what is one of the most widely used web application languages.

It’s been announced today that MS have reached a deal with Novell over it’s brand of Linux. Again, great to see MS embracing another popular and widely used open source technology.

So do we think there are any motives behind this other than a general willingness to become more open and supportive of what are essentially competing technologies? Could there be an element of Microsoft wanting to have some say over these technologies. If they throw their advertising might behind them this will be a way of them establishing a foothold and making sure they can keep their own products compatible as well.