Microsoft Looks for Open Source Desktop Strategy Czar

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 06, 2009

Are you interested in taking the job of Director of Open Source Desktop Strategy at Microsoft? If so, here's the LinkedIn job description. Matt Aslett at The 451 Group notes that Microsoft is looking for "a strong team member to lead Microsoft’s global desktop competitive strategy as it relates to open source competitors.” The language used in the job description stays vague about whether the successful candidate's job will be to stave off open source competitors or grow an open source strategy internally, but this is yet another sign that Microsoft has open source directly on its radar.

According to Microsoft's job description:

"As the Director of Open Source Desktop Strategy you will need to drive research and build holistic strategies across dynamic market segments like PCs, NetBooks, and mobile internet devices. You will be responsible for bringing our business strategy to life by discovering and sharing the market insights that set the foundation for our platform value dialogue with customers and the industry."

There's that term netbooks again. As we noted recently, Microsoft blamed its recent financial shortfall and subsequent layoffs of 5,000 employess partly on the success of netbooks. This appeared in the company's 10-Q filing:

"The decline in OEM revenue reflects an 11 percentage point decrease in the OEM premium mix to 64%, primarily driven by growth of licenses related to sales of netbook PCs."

Many of those netbooks that are selling are Linux-based, and many of the ones that are Windows-based emphasize open source software applications, so it's no stretch to assume that Microsoft may be adjusting its attitudes toward open source. As we've noted, Internet Explorer is losing significant market share to open source browsers, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has alluded to possibly building a browser strategy around an open source rendering engine such as WebKit.

  It makes complete sense for Microsoft to leverage open source rather than shunning it. Hopefully that will be the stance that the new Director of Open Source Desktop Strategy takes.