Microsoft Opens Source to System Integrators

Microsoft today announced it would expand the scope of its Shared Source Initiative and provide approximately 150 system integrators access to the Windows source code. Microsoft's support partners servicing at least 1500 Windows clients with a Premier Support Agreement -- a list which includes Compaq and Avanade -- are eligible for the new program. The extension is designed to give partners an in-depth understanding of the operating system's internals in order to implement more robust integration services and provide quicker resolution to support problems.

"By sharing our source code responsibly with our partners, we are committing our most valuable intellectual property to the belief that a vibrant and integrated software ecosystem is critical to the future of our global economy and IT performance," said Microsoft senior vice president Craig Mundie.

Microsoft launched its Shared Source Initiative last year amidst harsh criticism from the open source community. But many analysts and Redmond critics have already chalked this latest announcement up to a legal tactic. Microsoft was told last Friday to give the nine states pursuing antitrust remedies against the company access to the Windows code. Such action could prove very painful to Microsoft, as many of the company's bitter rivals including Oracle and Sun are closely aligned with the states' case.

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