This feels weird to write. Over the past few years, Microsoft seem to have been doing a lot of good work.
Windows Phone 7, despite struggling to pick up market share, is an attractive, innovative mobile OS and is available on some very good looking hardware - Nokia Lumia 900, for instance. Internet Explorer, too, seems to have been coming on leaps and bounds, with much better support for standards and nice privacy features. In fact, according to Ars Technica, IE has actually seen an increase in market share over the past year.
Then there's the best news of all. They no longer seemed to be afraid of open source. We talked about how Microsoft has just open sourced ASP.NET on our last podcast. Since then, the Linux Foundation has published a report that identifies Microsoft as one of the top 20 contributors to the kernel.
This suggests that not only are they not afraid of open source any more, they get it. With ASP.NET they're going to accept external contributions, not just do a lot of code dumps, and with the kernel they're contributing their changes upstream - better than some more traditional Linux companies manage!
While I'm sure they're by no means perfect, I'm hopeful that these developments reflect a shift in the company's culture. Standards compliance, real innovation and support for open source projects are the right ways to work in the technology sector, and if Microsoft continues down this direction, everyone will benefit.
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