Le Web 08: Microsoft, Bizspark and Openness

Microsoft Guy

Ah, and the conference kicks off with Microsoft. Steve Gilmour is interviewing Dan’l Lewin, the Corporate VP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development. In particular, Dan’l is talking about Bizspark, we he describes as an aggresive expanion into startup community.

It’s for startups that are less than three years old, and with less than 1m revenue (local currency variations apply). Basically, you get free stuff for three years.

Lewin worked with Apple and Next before coming to Microsoft, a company he suggests that is reinventing itself around distributed systems on the web, away from the desktop. He admits that Google did well in this space and have  “reasonable thoughts about how to turn organisng the world’s information into a platform”.

Azure services are available as part of it – were as soon as it was announced. An intergral part of how join the programme.

Gilmour suggested that Microsoft were coming into this space from behind? Lewin replied that they’re ahead now – but were behind before.

Previous efforts (like Hailstorm) didn’t consider OpenID, fedeation and open standards. This one does. And they’re very clear that the enterprise owns the data. Demand since Y2k is to make things work together.

Gilmour suggested that Microsoft has boat loads of cash, so can afford to take advantage of a downturn.

“Those who are cash strong can get stronger during downturns,” replied Lewin. “But it’s also an ideal time for entrepreneurs.”

Markets collapse and rebuild, he suggested. That’s when you can have real change.

Silverlight? It’s a front and centre tech at Microsoft. Cross-platform and cross-browser.

Is Microsoft warm and cuddly, now, with all this cross-platform, open standards stuff? “A little bit.”

Are they going to buy Twitter? “I have no forward looking statements to make today.”

That seems a shame at an inherently forward-looking conference.