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Microsoft Spins Off Open Source, Hopes to "Build Bridges"

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Microsoft is spinning off its open source unit into Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., and promoting open source veteran Jean Paoli to the role of president of the wholly owned subsidiary. The move gives the new company a measure of open source credibility and is likely to give Paoli more latitude in determining Microsoft's open source policy.

Paoli helped create XML, cementing his reputation among developers, and in 2007, he pledged his company's support for multiple document formats so long as the other format did not restrict customers' free choice. The masterstroke of diplomacy calmed a brewing rebellion among champions of the existing ISO standards format, OpenDocument, who claimed competing standards (specifically, Microsoft's Open Office XML) would sow confusion.

Building a Bridge

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