A Microsoft official said Friday that the company has agreed to provide monetary and technical support to the Apache Software Foundation, an open source effort that promotes community-built tools and services.
"This sponsorship will enable the ASF to pay administrators and other support staff so that ASF developers can focus on writing great software," said Sam Ramji, senior director of Microsoft's platform strategy, in a blog post from the OSCON open source conference in Portland, Ore. Ramji did not disclose financial details, but the arrangement makes Microsoft a Platinum sponsor of Apache.
A "Platinum Sponsor" according to Apache Foundation is a contribution of at least $100,000 per year. Google and Yahoo are already Platinum Sponsors.
What do they wish to achieve? Probably that the Apache server software runs as smoothly on Windows as it does on Linux. It's the same thing with PHP (they have worked with Zend to improve PHP for Windows).
I agree with infp - $100k to Microsoft is nothing and it is good value for money in terms of what Windows users will gain, gives a nice kick up the backside of their server teams too - competition is vital for good results.