Ex-Microsoft boss admits firm was wrong on open source stance

Ex-Microsoft boss admits firm was wrong on open source stance

The former president of software and PC giant Microsoft Brad Smith has said that the company was "on the wrong side of history" on the subject of open source.

Speaking to the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab – as reported by The Register – Smith said that he's happy with the fact that Microsoft is in favour of open source these days. Back in 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said that "Linux is a cancer." 

"Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century and I can say that about me personally," Smith said. "The good news is that, if life is long enough, you can learn... that you need to change."

The Microsoft of today is a rather different beast to the Big M of 2001. The firm bought open source code-focused website Github back in 2018 for $7.5bn. Balmer admitted in 2016 that he was also wrong on the subject of open source, too. 

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.