Opinion: Times Change, Microsoft Changes

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-07-20 Print this article Print

Opinion: Microsoft's 12 principles indicate a change in rhetoric from the software giant. And that's half the battle.

What's all the fuss about Microsoft's 12 new principles for Windows? What's the big deal? Times change, people change, companies change.

Microsoft has changed and is continuing to evolve. Well, not necessarily overnight, but this move is clearly an indication that the company is changing ... if not its overall policies and practices, at least its rhetoric. That counts for a lot.

In a speech at the National Press Club on July 19, Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, acknowledged that eight of the 12 "new" principles come directly from guidelines hammered out in the settlement Microsoft came to with the federal government following its legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice.

So not a ton is new in these principles, but there is some newness in there. And it's the fact that Microsoft is doing this at all that indicates change.

Smith said Microsoft has learned some key lessons and these principles are a result of that. Perhaps the biggest lesson, he said, was learning to be humble.

"We've had five years of experience under the U.S. consent decree, and one thing we've learned is the importance of humility," Smith said.

And if you look you'll see that Microsoft of late has been showing a lot more humility, or at least more willingness to cooperate—from these new principles to the company's olive branch to the open source community.

And much of it started with the company's move from former general counsel Bill Neukom to Brad Smith, who seems to have ushered in a new era of the checkbook legal strategy for the software giant.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Times Change, Microsoft Changes

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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