Bridging the Divide
That being said, the company also believes in a bridge that scales the divide, which is workable and scalable. But that is a bridge that needs to be built, even if it is hard, and that process started with Novell through the deal struck in late 2006, Smith said. "Is the bridge finished? Is it perfect? No, there is a lot of room for more dialogue between us," Smith said, adding that compromises were made on both sides. "We all believe in the magic of software, and there is a lot we can achieve together if we look one another in the eye and talk honestly about what we can achieve together."However, he dismissed what he sees as suggestions that the company should either make its patent licensing agreements expensive or give them away for free. "I don't believe that or buy into it," he said. Asked when Microsoft had stopped viewing Linux and open source as a cancer and un-American-sentiments previously expressed by its top executives-Smith said one of the challenges with the world today is that while we live with caricatures, people are not caricatures. "The world and people evolve, you get better informed, and you want that. You do not want people to stay within those caricatures. I don't think you have heard anyone at Microsoft talking in those terms of late. We are trying to have a constructive dialogue and take steps to sort out some of our differences, as we all benefit from that," he said. While Microsoft is unafraid to speak out, Smith said he hopes it will also become a better listener.
During the hourlong question-and-answer session, Smith said interoperability is not a one-size-fits-all matter, and even said that Microsoft loves open-source software running on Windows.