pig flying
Microsoft has changed its long-standing opposition to free and open source software. PHOTO: Colleen Conger, DigiPD.com

Jaws are dropping in software development communities today as IT enthusiasts and industry watchers learn that Microsoft has not only joined the Linux Foundation but that it has also welcomed Google to the .NET Foundation. 

Microsoft is also actively reaching out to Samsung developers to help it build .NET apps for more than 50 million devices worldwide.

"Has hell frozen over?" Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller asked when he heard the news that was announced by Scott Guthrie, EVP, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, at the company's annual Connect(); 2016 developer event today in New York City.

Embracing FOSS

To provide some context, the world's largest software company has, until recently, been emphatic about its disgust for free and open-source software (FOSS) — specifically for Linux, which former CEO Steve Ballmer once referred to as "a cancer”.

But this is a new Microsoft, according to Mueller, who noted that Linux has lived on Azure for some time now.

It is a sentiment that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff probably does not share. "The new Microsoft is actually the old Microsoft," he told the audience at a different event, codeenterprise, earlier this week.

But whether the (once) protectionist company has opened its heart or not, embracing Linux is a smart business move.

As a Platinum member of the Linux Foundation, Microsoft will now have a voice, and possibly some influence, over the direction of the operating system. Not only that, but the company's membership also reassures enterprises that they can move Linux loads over to Microsoft's Azure cloud, according to Mueller.

Love at the .NET Foundation

Microsoft is not entirely new to open source. It has been the heartbeat of the .NET Foundation and particularly the open source and cross-platform application framework .NET Core.

Today Microsoft welcomed Google to the .NET Foundation's Technical Steering Group with the idea of energizing the .NET developer community and reassuring .NET engineers on Google’s commitment to fostering an open platform that supports businesses and developers who have standardized on .NET.

Both Microsoft and Google seem to win in this relationship.

Microsoft, for its part, is committed to keeping .NET apps running but it does not want to use all of its valuable developer capacity moving old but important and used .NET apps to the cloud.

It is better to find a way to run them and to have the developers focus on next gen Apps, Mueller told CMSWire, noting that Google (Google Cloud Platform) needs to prove itself on enterprise loads.

So there is a win for both parties here.

Samsung, Microsoft Meet

Samsung announced the preview of its Visual Studio Tools for Tizen today giving developers what they need to build .NET apps for the Tizen operating system that runs on Samsung televisions, wearables, mobile devices and IoT devices worldwide.

If Guthrie is making one thing obvious at Connect(); 2016, it is that Microsoft wants to be where developers go to build the next generation of applications. If openness, cooperation and collaboration are the keys to developers' hearts, AWS might have something to worry about.