During his speech, Mundie lightly touched on Microsoft's highly touted .NET initiative, linking it to a coming "third phase" in the Internet's evolution. Initially, the Internet's development focused on the creation of the hardware "plumbing" that makes the Net run; next came the "publishing" phase, which ushered in e-mail and browsers, Mundie said.
Now, the Net is entering a third phase that Mundie's prepared text referred to as "a shift in focus from individual Web sites or devices to new constellations of computers, devices, and services that work together."
It's that constellation Microsoft's .NET -- which is designed to be "user-centric rather than device-centric" -- will tap into, Mundie said.
"If Internet Three is going to emerge the way we think it is, it is going to demand a lot more software," he said. "Most of the world's programmers have sat out the Internet. They haven't had anything to do -- the two killer apps were already there, e-mail and browsers. ... Now, those programmers are going to be given ... new generations of devices, a new platform, to go get creative on, and we're very enthusiastic about that."
Enthusiastic, so long as those programmers' steer away of GPL.
"We should be clear: We are not in the business of giving away our sources or giving away our software products. We are a business, and we want to create value over time in that business," Mundie said. "Fundamentally, the thing that informs our choice is this belief in protecting intellectual property."
None of this rhetoric is new for Microsoft, said Chris Le Tocq, principal analyst with Guernsey Research in Los Altos, California. "I don't think anyone could describe any of this as shocking."
Microsoft is rolling out its public relations armada when it comes to open source, he suggested.
"This is really a PR campaign to try to persuade developers and customers not to move in the open source direction," he said. "Microsoft is feeling threatened by the open-source movement and has customers and enterprises that are looking to take advantage of code sharing."
Microsoft is co-opting the catch phrases of the open-source movement for its own purposes, Le Tocq said. The company has been touting its adoption of XML (Extensible Markup Language) and referring to it as "an open language," without plainly stating that its own XML work is proprietary, he said.
"They cleverly associate the word 'open' with XML. What they don't mention is that to see the XML file definitions for Microsoft Word, you have to sign a file license that says you will never use the code," he said.