He mentioned Netscape as evidence (that’s 20 years ago now). Show me something bad business-wise in the last five, even ten years. Even the Windows Telemetry thing was addressed (zdnet.com/article/windows-1 … etry-data/) and was blown way out of proportion.
I believe Microsoft has changed and has open source developers best interests at “heart”. I would wager in five years from today, that statement will still ring true.
I went to a Microsoft event in the early days of the Mono Project. Ballmer was on stage doing Q&A and I asked him what he thought of Mono. His face turned redder (it’s always red I think) and he clearly disliked the concept of open source software. But he complimented Miguel and made an attempt to be gracious (failing, but not badly). It was clear that from a leadership perspective, Ballmer (and probably Gates behind the scenes) didn’t understand the benefits of OSS. But Scott Hanselman, Scott Guthrie, and Satya Nadella have changed the culture of Microsoft. Their flagship development platform .NET now has a completely open source and cross platform implementation that’s lauded by those using it. They started ripping apart IIS and rebuilding web server technology as opens source components. (of course web servers are about to become extinct with static web hosting and serverless API’s now en vogue). There’s an open source beta project to compile dotnet core in WebAssembly so you can run C#/ASP.NET in the browser. That’s not a company trying to lock people in to anything. That’s a company just building cool tools.
My read here is that you and many others were burned by Microsoft in the past (and in many cases, the very distant past, like A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away distant past) and you can’t find a way to look at the current 2018 industry with an open mind. If there’s anything about computers that’s true is that everything changes very quickly and if you want to stay in business, you really can’t keep pissing people off. The Nokia purchase is an excellent example. I think Ballmer had good intentions, but their legacy of abuse tainted Windows Phone and well, Apple+iOS was the sexy new thing. That was the lesson they needed to learn. They tried to make Windows Phone work for several years. They simply could not get any serious developers to care. They couldn’t even pay developers to care.
The second they realized they’d lost the developers, they knew they’d screwed the pooch and had to make wholesale changes to even survive. Luckily for them, Windows and Office are still fundamental business tools that allowed them to muddle through the transition to cloud and open source.
But that’s it. They did make that transition. They have the largest footprint of open source software of any organization in the world and although they have work to do, they are making an honest effort to win back the developers.