Microsoft Chants Open, Interoperability Mantra

msft_open.jpegMicrosoft is changing the way it does business and is opening up, according to a long elaborate press release the company issued this morning. I am reading through it and will try and make sense of it all. At first blush looks like the leopard is changing its spots. Is it?

Mary Jo Foley is rightfully skeptical — she has heard this pledge before. My view is this: They are worried about the EU and the Justice Department creating problems when it comes to the pending Yahoo bid and the Danger deal.

Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

More information is here. Ray Ozzie is talking about software partners, APIs, web services and the need for Microsoft to change it does business, and become open and interoperable. Between the lines you can read, Microsoft is worried, scratch that, very worried about developers leaving them in the cold.

The 451 Group analysts note:

The European Union’s Court of First Instance was cited as the main driver for the new announcements, although clearly it’s also is a big win for the open standards/open source movement. It’s also an acknowledgement of changing market dynamics and emerging trends such as web services and software-as-a-service, and a recognition from Microsoft that an open approach will be more fruitful in developing momentum, partnerships and business opportunities than competition and litigation.