Microsoft revising its attitude toward open source

When Microsoft completed its acquisition of San Francisco-based startup Powerset in July, it acquired more than just search-engine technology. In the HBase component of Powerset's product, Microsoft also acquired open-source code that is actively being redistributed back into the Apache Software Foundation's Hadoop project.

The scenario of having open-source technology in a product is a first for Microsoft, which to date has had only proprietary technology in its software, said Robert Duffner, a senior director in Microsoft's Platform Strategy Group.

Letting the acquired technology exist as it is, and letting the former Powerset employees continue to contribute code to Hadoop, represents a shift in mindset and strategy at the company to be more friendly toward open-source technology and realize that "innovation occurs across a wide variety of technologies," he said.

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