2006 is definitely the year that Microsoft came to know open source better. Whether it is deliberate or not, there has been a marked warming of their relations with the open source community.
More interestingly, it seems that it is a bottom up movement rather than vice-versa. Eweek explores the issue in an article called "Can Windows and Open Source Learn to Play Nice?"
Bob Muglia, a senior VP at Microsoft, utters phrases that would surprise even the most anti-Microsofters around.
The amount of flattering that takes place is quite unconventional and unusual from a company like Microsoft that many, like IBM, have qualified as 'arrogant'.
Bob Muglia pointed out to the newly opened Microsoft Linux and open source labs that tries to build more bridges between the two entities and the fact that Open source technology were included in the latest Windows Compute Cluster Server, something that went unnoticed by many.
2006 is not over and I would not be surprised if Microsoft announces more open source projects before Halloween.