Through our Open Source marketing consultancy, Stephe and I are currently in contact with Microsoft evaluating how we might help them with marketing their NXT partner program geared towards Open Source ISVs.
Very recently, Microsoft’s OSS partner program has been heavily criticized by Mary Jo Foley and Matt Asay (in reply, Stephe provides background information). Furthermore, the credo of InitMarketing is: “If you are Open Source, we will help you succeed”. Our corporate mission is to foster the success of Open Source in general.
Our first major concern was: Would an engagement with Microsoft foster the success of Open Source as far as their partner program is concerned? Could InitMarketing live up to its claim?
While Microsoft’s flagship products are not open source software, if InitMarketing helps open source ISVs to optimize their interoperability with Windows through the Microsoft partner program, then this will benefit Open Source vendors, opening up access to new customers and a higher distribution of their OSS products. From that standpoint, I believe InitMarketing can live up to its claim.
Our second major concern was that we might sacrifice InitMarketing’s yet young and innocent reputation as a trustful actor in the Open Source domain. To tackle this problem, we proposed to Microsoft’s Open Source Software Lab and ISV team to make our work highly transparent to the Open Source community.
Microsoft supports us working in this transparent manner.
The benefits of open communication around the NXT program are clear for everyone involved:
- InitMarketing can establish itself as a neutral facilitator.
- The Microsoft ISV team can understand better the concerns of the open source community in general and ISVs in particular and gets valuable feedback which helps to improve the NXT program.
- By having InitMarketing communicate in the Open Source style (= transparently), it raises trust in the NXT program in the broader context of Microsoft messaging.
We feel very comfortable entering this sort of working relationship with Microsoft. We still value your feedback: Would you do Open Source marketing for Microsoft?, asks Stephe – please let him know your comments.