(First draft published 9/25/09 @ 10:38 AM)
One of Microsoft's cornerstone principals - and the reason it flourished out of the split with hardware developer IBM - was that it maintained propriety rights over the software it developed. "IBM chose not to build the operating system and microprocessor internally, rather it sourced these vital components from Microsoft and Intel respectively." says Wikipedia. Or in other words Microsoft - kept hidden and profited from - owning and selling software. It was their business model then as now, and a very profitable one.
The software development community has always been larger than Microsoft's staff of developers; but Microsoft played an important part it's expansion and nurturing. But the 'Open Source Community' understood that the technology was only taking it's first steps of a jouney up a mountain, and that keeping software hidden from each other would only slow the journey. They saw the web as part of the biosphere, a nature out-growth of the culture of humans rather than a trade-able commodity. Now here we are, the top of the mountain no where in sight but the road in front of us is incredible and peculiar in ways no one could have guessed.
On September 24, 2009 Microsoft partnered with O'Reilly Media to publish both ebooks and hard books; as part of the deal Microsoft relinquished Digital Rights Management going forward.
Microsoft in my opinion just blinked, a crack has appeared in fortress Microsoft, they have admitted their business model may not be progressive - playing well with others maybe essential to a growing, healthy Microsoft, and the industries as a whole.
Which goes to show, you Can go home again.
Welcome home Microsoft.