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Which open source vendor should Microsoft buy in 2009?Matthew Aslett, January 22, 2009 @ 7:37 am ET
Matt Asay thinks it is likely that Microsoft will acquire its first open source company in 2009. I think he may well be right that Microsoft’s involvement in open source is now at the point where an open source license should not be a deal breaker (especially if its a permissive one).
At the same time, I would expect any purchase to be tactical and based on acquiring technology/talent rather than revenue or users/customers. As I briefly noted in The 451 Group’s preview of open source in 2009: “A major investment [by Microsoft] in open source is unlikely, but the potential for small tactical acquisitions cannot be dismissed”.
Matt suggests that Zend would be a likely target. Savio Rodrigues is not convinced (to say the least). I agree with Savio that Microsoft can’t buy open source credibility but I do not think that would motivate a purchase and I don’t think that Matt did either. And I’ve already noted that Microsoft wouldn’t do it for the money.
Savio’s arguments about what Microsoft would gain (or not) from owning the PHP technology are more compelling, and I would agree that there would have to be a good technological reason for Microsoft wanting to own an open source project/vendor and lead the development of that technology.
For that reason I would be inclined to look towards the company’s efforts around interoperability as a potential hunting ground. Like Matt I would look for clues at the Port25 blog. The recent post about the Stonehenge project and collaboration with WS02 for example.
I would also look at cross-platform systems management as an area of potential interest for the company – again probably from a technology perspective rather than a product perspective so as to avoid stepping on the toes of partners.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. I’d be interested in any views on who or what Microsoft could or should buy. If we get enough suggestions we can start a sweepstake (in the UK sense of the word).
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