The code in question is the Windows Template Library, and before you get riled it’s open source, has been open source since 2004. (Picture from MSDN Magazine.)
Scott Hanselman has a great blog post upabout exactly how Google Chrome uses this code, but the more important point is that this is happening at all.
The key to open source is the code itself. Good code can be found, and used, to everyone’s benefit.
Both Google and Microsoft have drawn enormous benefits from Chrome. Google has gotten a place at the browser table. Microsoft has a new browser under Windows, and its open source code may be a key reason why that is so.
Chrome has introduced some key concepts to the Web. The idea of separating tabs as tasks. The idea of an address bar as an application.
These are concepts Microsoft can now use to improve Internet Explorer, because Chrome is open source.
All this provides an important lesson to the rest of us. While proprietary companies may be to-the-death adversaries, open source changes the rules of that game in fundamental ways.
Open source enables competitors to benefit from one anothers’ innovations. It delivers products and concepts everyone in the market can benefit from.
I have noted before how Google Chrome will benefit SaaS vendors, by giving Web application developers a clean client window they can write to.
As I have used the program I have also seen how this will discipline such vendors, and ad agencies. We can now know why windows crash, and it’s often from bad implementations of technologies like Flash we thought were stable.
Again, this is not all bad. It can force the agencies, and the application developers, to do a better job. They can’t hide behind a closed session, or claim malware did it.
So while some may see this as theft or irony, it’s actually a win-win for Microsoft, for Google, for open source, and for you.