Tag Archives: platform strategy

Day 1 at the MTS07: Keynote


They keynote was delivered by Bill Hilf. Bill comes from the open source community but now works for Microsoft, as the General Manager of Platform Strategy. His intent is to build the community, for the benefit of the software community as a whole as well as for the benefit of Microsoft. Bill seems to get the idea about how open source can benefit Microsoft, and how collaboration can help as well.

Bill is unapologetic. Microsoft is in the OSS to make more money. For him, this is not an emotional process. By building partnerships with other companies, he can sell more software (licenses, etc.). They sponsor every open source conference, to some extent. They will speak and sponsor at every event.

Port25 is the community front end for communicating the strategy and intention coming out of the open source lab.


Codeplex is open source community for developers, based on Visual Studio

Bill described a set of lessons about cooperating as well as competing with other companies, that he has taken from his favorite video game: Official Strategy Guide, World of Warcraft

Collaborate and compete, but there are challenges to doing so:

  • The Observer Effect – when you enter into an environment you change it by becoming a part of it
  • Balance – how much to compete, how much to cooperate
  • Perceptions – small but loud open source philosophers.  They believe that commercial software shouldn’t exist.  Huge base of people who write and deploy code and make policy about code: much more pragmatic.  Understanding the audience is important, and don’t target the business policy to the philosopher.
  • Red Oceans and status quo – what could you build?  Windows and Office are existing markets that make a lot of money.  Moving those markets is not a trival task. 
  • Focus – limited resources
  • The benefit and bane of history.  History of Microsoft, what has been problematic, what has been done and what they don’t do well.


Things that matter include:

  • Relationships
  • Platforms
  • Communities
  • Ecosystems
  • Value
  • Making Money



  • Patience is the key
  • Learn what you can handle
  • Invest in friends and skilled allies (hire people smarter than yourself)
  • Identify goals and suitable targets
  • The right place at the right time
  • Use all resources – “play long, play hard, and use as many sources as you see fit”


Community front end for communicating strategy and intention coming out of open source lab
Open Source Community for developers, based on Visual Studio