Brad Smith, a Senior Vice President at Microsoft, outlined twelve core principles this week at a luncheon meeting. These principles are "the twelve tenets that govern" development of the Windows OS from Vista forward, and are based around three key areas: choice for computer manufacturers and customers, opportunities for developers, and interoperability for users.
The principles (slightly reworded to make sense outside of Brad's monologue), in order:
- Installation - Windows should be able to install any software conveniently and easily, including non-MS software.
- Easy Access - Computer manufacturers and users should be easily able to add visual features to their workspace, such as icons and start-menu shortcuts.
- Defaults - Windows should allow the users and manufacturers to choose the default programs for any purpose easily, including non MS ones. Of particular mention were web-browsers and media players.
- Promotion of Non-MS items - In getting back to its core competency of Windows, Microsoft is acknowledging the need to work with the leaders of areas it is not as strong in, as opposed to trying to compete against them (i.e., Google).
- Business Terms - MS will not retaliate against any manufacturer who does not use (in whole or in part) MS products). To assure this, it will post its volume license prices visibly on the web for all manufacturers to see.
- APIs - Microsoft will begin a very strict practice of making well-documented, accessible APIs for third party developers to assure quality integration of thier products into MS Windows.
- Internet Services - MS remains committed to providing Windows Live, but it will be developed under an entirely seperate area of the company and will be completely unrelated. Not using the Windows Live services should in no way reduce your general Windows experience.
- Open Net Access - MS will not allow Windows to filter or censor any lawful website, nor will it direct users to MS-affiliated websites.
- No Exclusivity - Back to dealing with computer manufacturers, MS cannot provide incentives for companies to license solely MS products instead of offering consumer choice.
- Open Communications - The communications protocols will be available for all future releases of Windows, so that other software (including operating systems) can interact with Windows machines.
- Patent Licensing - MS will license patents on its most advanced code to protect it, rather than relying on obfuscating or otherwise hiding it.
- Industry Standards - Windows will work to maintain standards compliance with various formats that have become dominant throughout the industry, rather than developing its own proprietary ones.
The discussion of where the principles came from was as interesting, if not more so, than the principles themselves. Smith attributed Microsoft's new outlook to the recent anti-trust lawsuits, which brought the company's attention to how closed it had become and how difficult it was for many third party developers to work with the OS.
In an effort to prevent this from continuing, MS began to change its approach to things like formats and connectivity, and the first few principles were made. These naturally evolved into the twelve you see above, which will be like a little MS code of law to guide future development and sales practices. You can read more about it at eWeek
There are no details of anyone choking on their food during this speech from laughing, so we have to assume he was serious. If the company sticks to these, it is easy to see how Windows might become a more loved OS, as opposed to just the most popular.
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