September 8, 2005

Microsoft marketeer goes open source

Author: Tina Gasperson

Laszlo Systems, the creator and sponsor of the OpenLaszlo platform for Web application development, has hired Kent Libbey away from Microsoft to fill the position of chief marketing officer.For the last two and a half years, Libbey was the director of product marketing for Microsoft's TV software division, which is working on IPTV -- television over IP. At Laszlo, Libbey says he'll be overseeing community outreach in addition to supporting Laszlo's big communications customers like Earthlink and more traditional partners like IBM.

Libbey says this is his first experience with open source software. He wouldn't say what Microsoft's "behind closed doors" opinion of FOSS is, but says he is looking forward to getting involved in the OpenLaszlo initiative. "I'm delighted to see the energy and enthusiasm that I've seen in my short tenure, from users of OpenLaszlo," Libbey says. "We've seen people who have just adopted the platform outright, without really informing us, until we see some very compelling applications that will be launched soon." He expressed surprise at the willingness people have to embrace OpenLaszlo. "We've met with a couple of customers who are using the technology to launch enterprise applications, and a critical part is the fact that it's open source. They can ultimately control their own destiny."

Compared to Microsoft, Libbey says of the open source atmosphere, "It's a different mentality altogether. The enthusiasm for the technology [at MS] is internally generated, and there are a lot of enthusiastic and talented people in Microsoft, but it's a very different thing when you can outreach to the global development community. And people are really investing their own credibility. It's a very different feel."

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