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Microsoft Decries Cloud Computing Group's Lack Of Transparency

Microsoft says an industry group that's attempting to establish guidelines for maintaining interoperability in cloud computing has done so without asking for its input.

On Monday, a group consisting of dozens of technology companies and organizations will publish the first draft of the Open Cloud Manifesto, a document that articulates why the cloud, like the Internet itself, should be open. Reuven Cohen, founder and CTO of Enomaly, a Toronto-based purveyor of cloud computing products, announced the Open Cloud Manifesto in a Thursday blog post.

"The manifesto does not speak to application code or licensing but instead to the fundamental principles that the Internet was founded upon -- an open platform available to all. It is a call to action for the worldwide cloud community to get involved and embrace the principles of the open cloud," Cohen said in the blog post.

Microsoft thinks the idea is a great one, and the software giant's "long and productive history" working with other companies on standardization efforts should entitle it to a role in shaping the Open Cloud Manifesto, said Steven Martin, senior director of development platform management at Microsoft, in a Thursday blog post.

However, Martin said Open Cloud Manifesto organizers haven't afforded Microsoft this courtesy. Instead, their representatives merely showed Microsoft a copy of the document, "warned that it was a secret, and told [Microsoft] that it must be signed 'as is,' without modifications or additional input," Martin said in the blog post.

"We were admittedly disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto," Martin said in the blog post.

In Microsoft's view, the Open Cloud Manifesto looks to be the effort of one company, or a handful of companies, bent on controlling the evolution of cloud computing instead of letting it evolve organically through collaboration involving multiple parties. "An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic," Martin said in the blog post.

Although domain registrar data doesn't constitute absolute proof, the cloudmanifesto.org domain is registered to one Dirk Nicol, which happens to be the name of an IBM employee who's currently involved in shaping the company's cloud computing strategy.

Nicol is the former manager of developerWorks, an IBM Web site for software developers and IT professionals. IBM launched developerWorks in 1999 with a goal of providing a comprehensive resource for open-standards-based development.

Nicol's current title is unclear -- he's listed in LinkedIn only as an IBM strategist -- but a recent post in The Federal Architect blog lists him as program director of cloud standards at IBM.

Nicol didn't respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

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