Microsoft 'Wasn't Pressured' into Becoming More Open
A Microsoft official acknowledges market skepticism, but says he is confident that people will look at the company's actions as well as its words.Microsoft was not reacting to pressure from the European Commission or anyone else when it decided to commit to a set of interoperability principles designed to increase the openness of its high-volume products. So said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property and licensing for Microsoft, in an interview with eWEEK following the company's Feb. 21 media teleconference announcing the move.
Microsoft recognizes that many people are skeptical of the move, but the company is confident that people will look at its actions as well as its words, Gutierrez said.
"The principles also aren't really new-the European Union's Competition Commission required the principles' framework, in response to Microsoft's March 2004 adverse antitrust ruling," Wilcox said in a Microsoft Watch post. But while Microsoft's Gutierrez said it is normal for people to be skeptical, Gutierrez said the company made this move on its own terms because it realized that this was "the responsible thing to do at this point" based on what it had learned from partners, customers and regulators over the years. Michael Cunningham, general counsel at Linux vendor and Microsoft competitor Red Hat, said he had heard it all before and that he viewed Microsoft's latest move with a healthy dose of skepticism. Gutierrez acknowledged that Microsoft would need time to get things right on the specifications front, as many of these were works in progress. "For some of these specifications, which are essentially beta versions, we will learn, and they may initially not be as good as the ultimate version that emerges, but that is the nature of creating specifications from scratch when they were nonexistent before," Gutierrez said. Bill Hilf, Microsoft's general manager of Windows Server marketing and platform strategy, told eWEEK during the same interview that Microsoft's move to embrace openness and interoperability is not mere PR magic or a marketing campaign, but rather represents a substantial change to what the company had been doing all the way from software design to leadership across the firm. developing products that work better with its products and others in the marketplace. "This enhances the entire ecosystem and thus benefits Microsoft and its shareholders," Tom Robertson, Microsoft's general manager of interoperability and standards, told eWEEK.