Microsoft May Move Towards Open-Source Windows

In April of 2015, Microsoft software engineer and CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovich, stated that an open-source Windows is a definite possibility during a panel discussion at the 2015 ChefConf internet technology conference. His remarks caused many to suspect that Microsoft is shifting course away from its long-held strategy of tightly controlling its software products and services. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the company has recently reached its fortieth year anniversary. In 2014, the company made a notable executive change when Satya Nadella (previously chief of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise division) assumed the position of CEO.

Nadella has been breaking with the company’s previous “strategy tax” line of thinking in which the maintaining the dominance of Windows was the foremost priority.Now, contrary to tradition, Microsoft offers its Office Suite products on mobile devices which use alternate operating systems. The new public statements on open-source software is a further indication that the company is leaning towards going along with the latest trends (such as open-source, mobile, cloud computing and vast data networks) in the technology industry, rather than retaining its leadership position through brute force (i.e. antitrust violations). Microsoft posted revenues of approximately $87 billion in 2014 and maintains a workforce of about 123,000 strong. According to the Economist, Nadella’s new strategy for Microsoft includes the likes of “mobile first, cloud first” and “platforms and productivity”, and even less formally “build stuff that people like”. This newfound flexibility is a response to the increase of mobile computing, at the expense of PCs (with sales of personal computers down by 13% since last year). Other initiatives under his reign include the acquisition of innovative startups such as Acompli (an email app developer) and Mojang (developer of online game Minecraft) and releasing test versions of products to the public from a website called Garage.

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