Microsoft and Google bury the hatchet in one small way

Google has joined the .NET Foundation, to help shape Microsoft's programming framework

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, speaking at the Build conference in San Francisco on March 30, 2016. Credit: Microsoft/IDGNS

There's no love lost between Google and Microsoft. The two companies have been fiercely competitive with one another in the public cloud, productivity and operating system markets, at times leaving users in the lurch.

There's one small glimmer of hope in the relationship between the two companies: Google has joined the .NET Foundation, to help drive forward the programming language framework Microsoft originated.

Google will be a part of the technical steering group for the foundation, which helps guide the future of the platform and consults on changes to the .NET roadmap and project release schedule. The foundation oversees projects including .NET Core and the Roslyn .NET compiler.

Google's fellow technical steering group members include Red Hat, Unity and Samsung, which announced Wednesday that developers will be able to use .NET Core to develop for its Tizen operating system.

The group is a set of somewhat strange bedfellows for Microsoft, but could help the company keep .NET and the C# programming language relevant in a broader set of circumstances.

Wednesday's news comes a few months after Microsoft made .NET Core generally available for use on Linux and macOS. Before the creation of the Foundation, the programming framework was more locked to Microsoft-controlled platforms like Windows.

Julia Liuson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Visual Studio, said at a press briefing that Google has a team dedicated to making sure that its public cloud platform is compatible with .NET. This partnership seems like a way for each of the companies to gain something from one another.

That's how IDC Program Director Al Hilwa saw it. He said in an email that the move could be emblematic of an improving relationship between Microsoft and Google.

"I think this is a mark of improving relationships between the two giants as the two have what each other craves," he said in an email. "Microsoft is highly motivated to win startups and other emerging workloads, which Google technologies like Kubernetes have a lot of traction in, while Google is trying to build its enterprise business, something Microsoft has a lot of traction in."

It’s unclear, however, if the partnership will lead to an easing of relations between the two companies in other areas. Windows users, for example, have been clamoring for a YouTube app, something that Google has been unwilling to provide for a while.

This partnership is part of a suite of announcements Microsoft made at its Connect conference in New York City on Wednesday. The tech giant also announced that it would be joining the Linux Foundation as a platinum member, along with a host of product updates.

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