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Microsoft: The open-source company

Microsoft has long used open-source software, like the BSD code behind its original TCP/IP network stack, they just didn’t admit it. That was in Bill Gates’ day. It’s a different story today. Recently , Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft loves Linux and Microsoft just acquired Revolution Analytics, which is the major open-source player for the R statistical analysis language.

What’s going on here?

Let me start by saying what’s not happening. First, there is zero, zilch, chance of Microsoft open-sourcing Windows or Microsoft Office. On the desktop, Microsoft will remain as proprietary as ever for the foreseeable future.

However, Microsoft continues to transform itself from a software sales company to a software service rental business with Windows as a Service. To power that, Office 365, and its other service offerings such as its Cosmos big-data service, Microsoft is relying on the cloud and it’s in that hidden engine behind its services that Microsoft is embracing open-source software.

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