The Big Question: Microsoft and Open Source

Stefane Fermigier, CEO, Nuxeo, open source developers

"Microsoft is surprisingly two-faced when it comes to dealing with the open source community. On one side they are overly aggressive and on the other they seem to want to befriend the community with initiatives such as their Open Source Software Labs (OSSL). This behaviour is irrational and makes it difficult for vendors and end users to understand Microsoft's position."
Josep Mitjà, COO for Openbravo, founding member of the open source alliance

"The real battle here is not in collecting royalties, as that will never happen. If any patent infringements ever come to light, they will quickly be re-written to avoid paying the royalty Microsoft demands. The real payoff will be in driving people towards Novell's SUSE. This is already paying off as we witnessed this week with SAP and Novell announcing expanded support options for customers running SAP on Novell's SUSE."
Dave Bermingham, SteelEye Technology, involved with both Microsoft (Gold Certified Partner) and the Linux communities

"While the open source movement is the most significant development in the software industry in recent years, the underlying themes of copyright, patent rights and intellectual property protection that have come with it are nothing new. Software manufacturers today are akin in many ways to the car manufacturers. Think your car came from the former DaimlerChrysler organization? Think again. Its brakes were probably manufactured in China, its ignition from Michigan, and its alignment rack from Germany. And it's always been that way."
Theresa Bui Friday, VP of Palamida, intellectual property specialist

"The whole issue of patent claims against open source is not new. Microsoft has been making noise about patents for a while and there have been other companies who have pursued patent claims against open source software. Large enterprises are looking to put in place comprehensive compliance and risk management policies to address open source usage. Indemnification against patent claims is one key piece they are demanding to address these issues."
Steve Grandchamp, CEO, OpenLogic

"Microsoft is not, for example, fighting another company trying to sell operating systems and productivity software; it's a long time since it faced direct competition on that front. It is instead facing the prospect of massive legacy income streams simply vanishing through abrupt obsolescence, while continuing to be held at bay in the server space, not by a company but by a loose confederation of open source developers turning out free software."
Clem Chambers, CEO of ADVFN - Europe's leading stocks and shares website


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.