Over the past couple of days, Microsoft seems to be showing itself to be a “new” Microsoft, one that is friendlier towards competitors. Personally, I find that hard to believe.
The first thing Microsoft did was start the “DreamSpark” program, where you can get (if you are in college) a free copy of a Microsoft programming application, with several available.
The second thing Microsoft did is open some of its APIs to the public. Is there something behind this?
From my point of view, Microsoft is making an effort to keep development happening on Windows. There would be something seriously wrong if they did not try. As younger programmers try different systems, there is the possibility that they will choose to program on a competitor to Windows. As Microsoft has pointed out in the past, developers are some of the most valuable assets, as applications make the system. They are not after just regular development, but Open Source development as well. First, Microsoft offers their best programming applications for free for future programmers in college. They are giving them the free program as an incentive to program for Microsoft Windows. Next, they open up many of the API’s. This echoes the statement made by a certain Microsoft CEO a while back that he wants all of Open Source development to happen on Windows.
Put two and two together, and you get new programmers writing code, both open and closed, on Microsoft Windows. Simply put, every developer they can get to program using Open Source lessens the chance of that developer to develop on competing systems. I imagine it will take the “new” Microsoft a while to dig itself out of the PR hole they dug themselves into.