Microsoft expands open-source efforts in Asia

Microsoft is opening an open-source subsidiary in China

A Microsoft Open Technologies subsidiary is coming to Shanghai, as the company aims to expand its open-source and open standards efforts in China.

"There is a very interesting open-source community in China and we want to work with them," said Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft Open Technologies senior director. "Creating a subsidiary of Microsoft Open Technologies sends a very clear signal that we care about openness."

The organization, called Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai, which opened Thursday, plans to employ engineers, standards professionals and technical evangelists, though it has not determined how many employees it will hire.

Like its U.S. counterpart, Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai will create and manage open-source software programs, participate in standards bodies, and look for ways to strengthen the interoperability between Microsoft products and open-source software.

Of particular interest for the new entity will be the many open-source efforts that originate in China itself, Rabellino said.

Rabellino declined to discuss why the new organization will be a separate legal entity from Microsoft Open Technologies, rather than another business unit of the company, which itself is a subsidiary of Microsoft. Often companies will set up subsidiaries in foreign countries for tax advantages or to shield themselves from local liability laws.

A subsidiary could also help companies do business with governments that prefer to work with local vendors. Last year, China enacted a comprehensive economic policy that, in part, seeks to decrease the reliance on foreign suppliers of goods and services.

Rabellino said he knew of no Chinese laws that would hinder Microsoft Open Technologies itself from doing business in China.

Engineers from Microsoft Open Technologies participate in standards bodies such as DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force), Ecma International, IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

They also contribute to open-source projects such as the Apache Web server, the JQuery JavaScript framework, the MongoDB data store, the Node.js server-side JavaScript platform, the Wordpress content management platform and the Mozilla Web browser.

Microsoft has no plans to set up additional subsidiaries in other countries, Rabellino said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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