A long-time outspoken critic of open software, Microsoft yesterday described the free software movement as "flimsy" and "flawed", and of jeopardising property rights and threatening to undermine the software industry.
"A common trait of many of the companies that failed is that they gave away for free, or at a loss, the very thing they produced that was of greatest value, in the hope that somehow they'd make money selling something else," said Microsoft senior vice president of advanced strategies, Craig Mundie, during a speech at New York University's Stern School of Business.
He added: "Releasing source code into the public domain is unhealthy, and as history has shown, while this type of model may have a place, it isn't successful in building a mass market and making powerful, easy-to-use software broadly accessible to consumers."
Furthermore, he said open source programming created software with great danger of security risks and a breakdown of common industry design standards that could force valuable intellectual property into the public domain.
In contrast, Mundie touted Microsoft's newly defined "shared-source" philosophy as a balanced approach that allows the company to share source code with customers and partners while maintaining the intellectual property needed to support a strong software business. Shared source will be available for programmers working on software for Microsoft's .Net strategy, he said.
"Many people will attempt to say that shared source is Microsoft's failed attempt at being an open source company," Mundie said. "This statement could not be more incorrect."
Mundie also took aim at the General Public Licence (GPL), a vital part of many open source programs that rejects traditional copyright in favour of open sharing of any advances made in software design.
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth
The groundwater basins in some areas of Tehran have been damaged irreversibly
This is the first time that any spacecraft on Mars has recorded air vibrations on the planet
Arctic sea ice is thickening at a faster rate during winter, thus slowing down long-term decline: NASA
But, the seasonal ice growth could only delay the demise of the Arctic ice cap for a few more decades