Microsoft’s future

Last week the BBC sent that well-known techno-geek, Fiona Bruce, to interview Bill Gates for the Money Program. The result was a fairly pedestrian plod through the history of the company, although it was interesting to see the bit where they recreated the original (and now infamous) photo of the Microsoft start-up staff in full, late-1970s regalia.

What the programme didn’t say much about was the far more interesting question of what happens next. Where will Microsoft go post-Bill? Although they did touch on the emerging threat of Google and the on-going Yahoo buy-out situation, they had little to say on the way Microsoft clearly has to change to deal with the post-PC era and the emerging Web generation.

One of the issues facing the Redmond-based behemoth is the rapid rise in free and open source code, open data, and associated new innovation development methods. On Monday I had the privilege of interviewing Justin Erenkrantz, who is the President of the Apache Software Foundation, a leading open source software development community. Amongst many interesting lines of discussion we touched on the changing nature of Microsoft and Justin expressed his opinion that, based on his recent experiences, there has been a ‘sea-change’ at Microsoft.

Justin is one interesting and busy guy – juggling a software job at online TV start-up Joost, undertaking a PhD and carrying out his role with the Foundation, but he certainly has his finger on the Silicon Valley pulse. As ever I have to disappoint and say you’ll have to wait until the full interview comes out for further details.

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