"It's definitely possible": with these three words, the IT world was left pondering a question it had probably never thought to ask itself.

Would Microsoft really consider making the source code to Windows open source?

Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich's comments to the ChefConf conference quickly reverberated worldwide, despite healthy skepticism in early press reports.

"Certainly, Microsoft won't open source the thing tomorrow—if ever," Wired cautioned. "Windows is still such a big part of the Microsoft revenue stream."

Steve Kleynhans, a research VP in client computing at analyst firm Gartner, similarly took Russinovich's three-word bombshell with more than a few grains of salt.

"This wasn't a statement of direction or intention - Russinovich was simply responding to a question and trying to demonstrate how much Microsoft has changed," Kleynhans told Information Age.

"I think there would be very little value in open sourcing all of Windows. However I could definitely see portions of the OS becoming open sourced.

"The OS is a lot more layered and modular than it was in the past. I could see some of the inbox apps, or perhaps certain subsystems becoming open source over the next few years."

Other commentators doubted Microsoft would even get that far. PC World noted that Microsoft's present product direction did not show much - if any - leaning towards open source.

"The idea of Microsoft open-sourcing all of Windows is clearly a lot of hot air today, and even if it will happen someday, that day is far in the future," PC World stated.\

Adobe's VP of mobile, Matt Asay, opined on the "irrelevance of open sourcing Windows" on readwriteweb.

"Were Microsoft to open source desktop Windows, no one would care," Asay wrote.

"That ship has sailed. As the world becomes mobile, open sourcing yesterday's hegemon is interesting but insufficient to curry developer favour."