On Sunday, I wrote about the Open Content Alliance (OCA), a group dedicated to digitizing books to make them available on the web.
One of the most interesting things about that group was the fact that Microsoft joined it. As I said in my blog, seeing that bastion of the proprietary approach joining an open source project made me want to shout, "The sky is falling!"
There are other signs that Microsoft is changing its business model. Remember--for years, Microsoft's business model has been to force users to buy their proprietary software by making it difficult to run other applications on their system.
In a column on November 2, Charlene Li of Forrester Research said, "the key change is the mindset that Microsoft is embracing: a user-pull model (building services that users want) rather than a software-push model (building applications and foisting them on users). Live services will be lightweight and quickly created and launched, which is the opposite of Microsoft's long development cycles and bloated software feature sets."
When you have a company as large as Microsoft, it can be hard to remain innovative and responsive to consumers. But it can be done. Look at Wal-Mart. The biggest company in the world has never lost its knack for innovation, even as it moved from the entrepreneurial stage to the growth and expansion stage.
If Microsoft can recapture the innovative spirit of its start-up days, it will clobber all the competitors challenging it.