19 October 2007

Ballmer Will Buy (Into) Open Source

"We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products," Ballmer said during an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

A refusal to consider acquisitions of open-source developers "would take us out of the acquisition market quite dramatically," Ballmer said -- a tacit acknowledgment of how thoroughly open-source development has reshaped the software market.

I don't think Steve really realises what he is saying: you can't just buy an open source company, you have to buy *into* the entire culture - it's the only way the company's product can survive. In other words, Microsoft would have to become - if only in part - an open source company, as I've maintained it would for a while, now. (See also Matt Asay's interesting thoughts on who exactly Ballmer might be getting his chequebook out for.)

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