As it turns out, Powerset's open-source-happy semantic talents are only a small part of Bing, Microsoft's freshly-minted decision engine search engine. Microsoft acquired Powerset last July in a reported $100m deal, and after a conspicuous Tweet from Powerset co-founder Barney Pell, many assumed that the semantic search outfit …
"It's an embarrassing slip
( that's going to do more for Bing's fortunes than any $100m-TV advertising campaign.)"
do we really believe that???
Freeloading and patent threats
"And thanks to its integration with Powerset's platform, Bing is one of the few Microsoft "shipping" products to actually incorporate open-source code."
As far as we know. Only Microsoft actually knows what kind of Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V has been going on up in Redmond.
"Ramji points out that from the early to late 90s, Microsoft's Windows TCP/IP stack included BSD code,"
Which is why they love others offering permissive licensing, so they can freeload. It's not exactly what most people would call a commitment to open source, though.
"and today Windows HPC includes code developed at Microsoft that was then offered up to Argonne National Lab (ANL) for open-sourcing."
I wonder what patent strings were attached. "It's open source," says the man from Microsoft, "but we can sue people who download the software for patent infringement." Thus followed facemasks and much shaking of the head over at ANL.
To summarise: apart from a few projects, Microsoft's commitment to open source is mostly freeloading and patent threats. Sadly, those people working on the former have to suffer their bosses advocating the latter, presumably to continuous embarrassment.