What does “open” really mean to you?

Regular Contributor

Written by Erich Barnstedt, CHief Architect Standards and Consotia, Azure IoT


In the world we live in today, almost every announcement has the word “open” in it. Unfortunately, it feels like there are as many definitions of what “open” means as there are announcements mentioning it. Sometimes it means “we have documented our closed-source SDK from our 100 percent proprietary product”, but nothing more. Allow me to give you my definition. Plus, you can sign up for a free digital event to learn more about Microsoft's commitment to Open Source.


When we started the Industrial IoT team eight years ago, our team had already been working in the automotive and manufacturing spaces for a long time. Back then, we were called the “embedded” team. The replacement term “IoT” came much later. During these early years, we learned that customers in the manufacturing space were tired—very tired. They were tired of getting locked into proprietary ecosystems dominated by a single vendor who was charging them big bucks and yet they couldn’t go elsewhere as their data and interfaces were locked to that vendor’s systems.


We knew we had to do things differently. Satya had taken over the company and enabled each and every person working for Microsoft to embrace openness and focus on doing what’s right for the customer, instead of our bottom line. Increasing our bottom line then became a byproduct. This is a subtle but important distinction. The share price of Microsoft today is an indication of the success of this strategy and has proven him, and by extension us, right.


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