Ballmer: Microsoft Will Buy Open-Source Companies

Microsoft's detente with the open-source world is growing stronger by the minute. Steve Ballmer said today that he wouldn't consider an open-source-based business model a deterrent to buying a company Microsoft found interesting.

"We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products," Ballmer said during an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

A refusal to consider acquisitions of open-source developers "would take us out of the acquisition market quite dramatically," Ballmer said -- a tacit acknowledgment of how thoroughly open-source development has reshaped the software market.

It's a pretty strong turnaround from the executive who famously denounced GPL-licensed Linux as "a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches" in a 2001 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.