Ex-Microsoft Open Source Guru Joins Cloud Startup

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On Sept. 10, Ramji resigned as senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft, where he guided the company's internal open source strategy and acted as its chief spokesperson in industry forums. The same day, Ramji took over as interim CEO of the Codeplex Foundation, a Microsoft-sponsored non-profit group with a stated mission of facilitating interactions between the traditionally oil-and-water worlds of proprietary and open source software.

At Microsoft, Ramji occupied one of the hottest seats in the IT industry and was a lightning rod for the software giant's many critics. Open source was previously marginalized within Microsoft, but Ramji is credited with pushing open source into a broad range of product groups, said Bill Hilf, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft, in a blog post last month.

At Sonoa Systems, which bills itself as a purveyor of analytics, management and cloud governance solutions for APIs and cloud services, Ramji will oversee product strategy and business development. That might seem like a much lower profile role for Ramji, but his role at the Codeplex Foundation has already cast him into the harsh glare of industry criticism.

Just days after the Codeplex Foundation launch, Andy Updegrove, a lawyer and expert on the ins-and-outs of industry consortia, suggested that the group's legal and governance structure was too tilted in Microsoft's favor and couldn't be considered a true industry organization without far reaching changes to its charter.

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Ramji has just a few more months to go as CEO of the Codeplex Foundation, but this situation shows that he's still squarely in the sights of those in the open source community who still aren't sure about Microsoft's intentions in this space.