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Microsoft and SugarCRM partner on open source

Partnership is expected to boost interoperability and reveals an ever-increasing cooperative attitude on open source.

Microsoft and open-source enterprise applications vendor SugarCRM unveiled a technical collaboration Tuesday under which Sugar CRM will release its next customer relationship management suite under the Microsoft Community License.

The agreement is designed to bolster the interoperability between Microsoft Windows Server products and SugarCRM open-source software. The cooperation highlights the pragmatic spirit that has infused some in the open-source movement to move beyond the culture of fervent philosophical objection to proprietary software makers like Microsoft.

"Over 35 percent of our customers run Microsoft Windows Server," said SugarCRM CEO John Roberts, noting a number of his customers have been asking the open-source company to develop a closer relationship with Microsoft.

SugarCRM, which has seen 1 million downloads of its open-source software and boasts 450 paying customers for its Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise products, plans to release its Sugar Suite 4.5 version under the Microsoft Community License this summer, Roberts said. The distribution for the Windows platform will be in addition to SugarCRM's offerings for Linux.

Because this release will address a number of Microsoft interoperability issues, Roberts said it made sense to offer it under Microsoft Community License, an open-source initiative.

SugarCRM plans to focus on improving its support for Microsoft's Internet Information Services and enhancing its interoperability for the Redmond, Wash.-based company's Active Directory and SQL Server.

The technical collaboration with SugarCRM marks the second commercial open-source deal Microsoft has made for its server products, said Bill Hilf, Microsoft Technical Platform Strategy director. The first deal involved linking its server software with open-source developer JBoss.

As for building upon this current arrangement with SugarCRM for other projects, Hilf said: "This is the start of an ongoing relationship and we'll see how customers respond."