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Open-source Windows? The unthinkable is already happening, says Microsoft

Mark Hachman | April 6, 2015
However unlikely a future in which Microsoft makes Windows open source may sound, Microsoft has already taken considerable strides in that direction.

A group of dedicated developers could undoubtedly add their own improvements to the Windows products. (Stardock and others have built a business on that idea, with their own versions of the Start menu.) And it's also true that Microsoft doesn't or can't respond to all requests; the most popular Xbox One request, for example, is for Microsoft to build in backward compatibility to the Xbox 360 and its stable of games. 

Right now, Microsoft has built its business on Windows, Office, and its enterprise products. But as Microsoft moves more toward a "devices and services" world, it's possible that Windows will become less important, even as those services become more prominent.

"Microsoft's revenue increasingly comes from the compute services rather than licensing software, and by selling a wide collection of related services such as Office 365, OneDrive, Bing, etc.," said Al Gillen, a vice president with IDC. "So would it make sense to open-source Windows in, maybe, 10 years? Quite possibly."


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