Microsoft Concerned Amazon, Google Hosting Not "Open" Enough

From CNET Microsoft is taking a sudden interest in "openness" that is having some scratch their heads. Following its foray into the open document world, Microsoft is now calling for an open cloud computing standard.

The cry to arms strikes many as strange as Microsoft built its empire on closing its OS and related software products, stifling competitors like Word Perfect until they eventually collapsed or faded to obscurity. While the days of openly using such tactics are at an end, thanks to the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found Microsoft to be an abusive monopoly, many world government regularly accuse Microsoft of more quietly resuming such tactics.

Stranger still, even if Microsoft is no longer looking to close its desktop Windows software, it is looking to close some aspects of its cloud computing OS, Windows Azure. Microsoft recently went on the record to say that it was nixing the use of Azure for local hosting (private) setups. By doing this it closed the box to its OS somewhat, giving itself sole control of the backend -- and the profits that deployments would bring.

Still, such actions were not enough to cause Steven Martin, Microsoft's senior director of developer platform management, to shy away from accusing his company's cloud computer competitors of being too closed and calling for an "open standard" for the emerging form of computing. He says he is concerned about the "Cloud Manifesto" which he says Microsoft competitors like Amazon, Google and IBM may be adopting.

So is there anything to Microsoft claims, or is it just an ironic attack on competitors that have enjoyed more success in this field? Well the answer is hard to state conclusively. While Microsoft has closed the deployment of its cloud offerings, it has been very proactive about opening the environment to interoperation and software development, led by chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

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