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Microsoft Opens Up--Maybe the Open Solutions Alliance is onto something after all

Posted by Michael Harvey on February 26, 2008, 8:30 PM EST
Michael H. photo

In hindsight, it almost feels inevitable that after countless anti-trust lawsuits and reticence towards third-party developers, Microsoft has opened up its major APIs. Following the likes of Google, a company that strongly encourages community development on its products, Microsoft's move seems a bit overdue but ultimately quite logical.

More and more software focus is turning away from desktop computing towards web applications and services. The SaaS phenomenon is one example, as is the increasingly visible open source movement.

Now that Microsoft has opened up its API developers will be able to work on applications that can be more closely integrated with MS Office and Exchange Server, not to mention the ability to work with the Windows OS not just work on the Windows OS. We recognize that Windows is the most popular OS, and that's why we created an Outlook plugin (PDF warning) to make it easy to coordinate contacts, appointments and messages between ConcourseSuite and Outlook. With the newly opened API, we hope to further our integration efforts. For the record, though, ConcourseSuite has been running atop Windows and SQL Server for 6 years.

Citing similar reasoning for Microsoft's announcement, Matt Aslett of the 451 Group wrote, "It's an acknowledgment that in today's world, many more flowers bloom when platform companies make their APIs completely open for developers to write to." As a founding member of the Open Solutions Alliance, Concursive has always followed this theory and been dedicated to cooperative development for increased interoperability.

Not everyone is entirely convinced of Microsoft's motives; the Linux-Watch blog posted this piece citing numerous flaws in this story, along with the WSJ blog which hints at the opening up as a way to appease the EU before the potential Yahoo! acquisition.

But I agree with Linus Torvalds, that this announcement is far from perfect, but it's a "step in the right direction" for open software. Then again, how "open" do you consider 30,000 pages of documentation

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