What does MS open sourcing .net have to do with SaaS?

I'm willing to bet that the announcement by Microsoft today that they would opensource their .net application went fairly unnoticed by the wider SaaS community. I think this is a grave mistake and a fundimental unestimation of Microsofts attempt to get into SaaS big time (in their own way according to Phil Wainwright)

Marshall Kirkpatrick on R/WW states that " It's hard to say what the incentive was for this move" and openly admits that they at R/WW are "still chewing on the significance of this announcement"

Well here's my pick. It links nicely with my bit about opensource and SaaS from the other day. Stay with me because this is a little convoluted.

.Net is a critical component of Microsoft's web services play. One of the key ways that Microsoft has commercialised it and is using it in a SaaS way is through its Connected Services Framework .   Here's where SaaS companies should sit up and take notice.
CSF is being sold to Telco's as the underlying framework to connect communications AND SERVICEs together. Its a platform, a webservice platform to make a Telco's existing stuff better and to run new services.  The new services they allude to are SaaS services.  (Told you this would get interesting).
The other thing (and this is a guess), but i'm willing to bet that Live.come is built on CSF/.Net 
To my mind this puts .Net up there as a clear contender to other application development platforms like Force.com  . Only better, better for a tonnes of reasons.
  • There's a massive developer community already skilled in building .Net stuff.
  • By openning it up to the world, Microsoft has essentially given its developer partner community an easy leg into the SaaS world. Something they clearly wanted after they announced thier S+S play.
  • Its also given its chances of developing a lot of different applications that appeal to the masses a huge boost. (remember when i talked about Scale and Microsoft ?)
  • Its also given its Telco partners a way of getting access to that same developer community / ISV's. Given they too have scale, know about platforms and are seeing SaaS as a blue ocean, thats incredibly valuable.


Watch this space, i think you'll see a whole bunch of SaaS action out of it

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