So Microsoft has gone open source, well, that’s old news if you ask me. I think that long time now Microsoft is not the devil and since the late 90’s the time has changed with new giants on the scene.
If you want to develop using MS technologies (like C#) you can use the Visual Studio Express for free.
If you want to share your code or start your own open source project, you can use codeplex (or any other site like github)
If you want cloud services, you can use Azure (for this one you’ll have to pay), unlike Google engine that is free for beginners plan
From now on, most of their projects are open source and you can contribute code by yourself.
If you are building your own company, you can join the bizspark program and get full access to everything MS has to offer.
The beautiful thing about MS, is that they are always getting better. look at VS compare to eclipse. While eclipse is great VS is getting better and better in a fast pace with tones of features (like DB schema compare, architecture explorer, tons of extensions and alike).
Look at C# compared to Java. C# has lambda, anonymous types, async built in, tons of libs and every year or so we have a new version. on the other hand the Java community looks at Scala or other sourced to get better.
Look at Entity Framework that started with a lame ORM solution and now supports enums, more than 4 different programming models.
Yes, most of the new stuff comes from the open source community, and as always, MS takes the lead lingering behind but eventually giving a better, more well-formed solution. but that is only if you wanna wait for them. You/we/me can always take the lead and build our own libs and tools – but it’s easier waiting for MS to do the job.
I think that the next step is for MS to take the lead on an existing open source project instead of having others to jump abroad with them. While there are many thoughts on the other directions, I think MS is heading to a good direction.