Microsoft Is Wooing The People Who Hate It Most To Try And Beat Amazon

Steve Ballmer cloud Azure
Steve Ballmer has promised Microsoft will suceed in the cloud

[credit provider=”Associated Press”]

Microsoft wants nothing more than to grab customers away from Amazon’s cloud.So it made some shocking changes to its Azure cloud platform to attract people that pretty much hate it: open source developers.

Microsoft’s success with Azure depends on how well it can lure many software developers to it.   Developers can now use a rival development technology known as Java on Azure.

Azure will also let applications tap into Hadoop, a wildly popular open source method for storing massive amounts of data. Microsoft used Yahoo’s new Hadoop company, Hortonworks, to bring Hadoop to Azure, says CMSwire. That feature isn’t fully available yet — only a preview is being shown to select Azure customers.

Even more surprising is that Microsoft gave Azure users access to other popular open source applications that directly compete with it including a popular database (MongoDB), and a search engine (Apache Solr), reports the Register.

The company even went so far as to put its software developers kit under a non-Microsoft open source licence, Apache 2, and add it to a rival site that hosts open source projects, Git.hub. Microsoft normally uses its own hub, Codeplex.

Software built under most open source licenses allows the users of that software to modify it as they wish. This differs from the proprietary software that the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP make most of their money selling.  Touch that without permission and you can get yourself sued. Many software developers, particularly younger ones just entering the workforce, tend to prefer releasing their software as open source projects. They also tend to avoid Microsoft like the plague. And that means they turn to Amazon’s cloud when they need a data centre for hire for their applications.

These changes in themselves won’t be enough to get open source developers to love Microsoft and use Azure. But they are a start.