Microsoft has changed dramatically because of the popularity of open-source software, the company's chief software architect Ray Ozzie has said.
During a discussion at the annual Most Valuable Professional event in Seattle, he said: "Microsoft fundamentally ... has changed dramatically as a result of open source.”
"As people have been using it more and more, the nature of interoperability between our systems and others has increased."
That means that from the very start when Microsoft begins developing new products, it considers what components it will want to open up to outside developers, he said.
But he indicated Microsoft was not going to change its approach. "We have a software business that is based on proprietary software.
“We tactically or strategically will take certain aspects of what we do and ‘open source’ them where we believe there will be a real benefit to the community," he said. Opening up the .Net framework is an example of that, he said.
Ozzie also spoke about Microsoft's vision for using the web to connect devices and content, in what may foreshadow an official announcement. "The web really is a hub. It can be viewed conceptually as a hub for a social mesh and device mesh," he said.
Using the internet as a hub for a social mesh means people can connect a wide range of online content like information they tag and rank, content they publish and information they subscribe to, he said.
Ozzie may be hinting at a service, Live Mesh, that Microsoft plans to unveil on Tuesday. The company has not revealed any details about the offering except to say it will be unveiled next week during the web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Ozzie briefly described a similar mesh vision earlier this year at the Mix 08 conference.