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Microsoft Doesn't Care About Destroying Linux 330

techie writes "A latest column on suggests that Microsoft may not be really interested in killing Linux for mainstream users. It's after something else, and it's getting its way already. Read on to find out what it is. The author states, "Love it or hate it, Microsoft's IP attacks will continue, Linux user numbers will continue to grow and broad spectrum adoption throughout the rest of the world will grow and flourish. Microsoft's not interested in destroying Linux in the slightest. Why would they? it's been a fantastic vehicle for them to land a firmer grip on the corporations throughout the US."
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Microsoft Doesn't Care About Destroying Linux

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  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:12PM (#19718515)
    But one thing business do care about most if the "bottom line" and if free as in beer and free to use and modify to your benefit will help their profit margins grow, Linux and FOSS sounds enticing.

    Say you're in charge of a datacenter:

    1. One one side you can have Windows on all servers, 10 IT people to take care of them all, headache of licensing, updates, patches, crashes, recovery.

    2. Run linux on them, free updates, more secure, no worring about having to keep track of licenses, less staff because they dont break as often

    Which do you think they'd pick? Granted it depends a lot on what kind of work needs to be done, but for something like web/email/sql server then Linux does the job very well. You can always have 1-2 Windows servers for those few clients that absolutely insist on having MsSQL and IIS.

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:23PM (#19718681)
    Of course, they weren't considering directly competing with the iPod before either, and Windows XP Express was just for a different demographic, they didn't care about the OLPC and thought SmartPhones were the way to go, and that OLPC wasn't going after the same market because they didn't share exactly the same goals...

    Microsoft is forever expanding into new markets because Windows and Office aren't the "revenue streams" they used to be, and eventually they will be trying to get money from people using Linux. Even if they don't go after Linux directly, they will probably be going after Linux users saying they owe Microsoft something for some reason. Microsoft isn't interested in putting products on the shelf that a user may or may not buy.

    They're more interested in taxing or selling a "service", simply because it's a guaranteed income if the customer is tethered to Microsoft in some way. If you don't buy Windows, then you can't keep it on your PC when Microsoft releases a new version. Instead, MS wants to be charging you yearly for using Windows (like with business Licensing) or yearly for using their IP in Linux. It's guaranteed money every year, as opposed to you maybe not upgrading every year like their ideal situation.
  • Riding the Wave (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:43PM (#19718937)
    Microsoft's fortune was made on riding the wave - making money off the shift in the industry from proprietary hardware platforms to commodity based platforms. IBM was the big loser as it lost control of the platform they made popular. Meanwhile, every single (or close enough) "PC" was a payment to Microsoft no matter if it was IBM, Compaq, or Joe's Whitebox Store.

    Linux is a large part of the next wave - shifting the OS as proprietary product to commodity platform. But instead of IBM, this shift directly threatens not only Microsoft's core products but a large portion of their business model (and development). Microsoft is looking for a way to get on top of this wave as well.

    The IP shennanigans going on is simply Microsoft's attempt to gain control of Linux and hash out a way so that every commodity hardware platform that runs a commodity OS (specifically Linux) also includes a payment to Microsoft.
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:16PM (#19719365)
    The ironic things is this...

    Things that break a lot- you stay sharp about fixing them.
    Things that break once a year- it can be very tricky to remember how to fix them.
  • Theft? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ryzzen ( 1078135 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:30PM (#19719535)
    I had a thought. What if Microsoft isn't trying to destroy Linux, but trying to steal it? The contracts they are making are so neither company can sue the other. Now, if Microsoft were make these deals with every major Linux distributor and then were to start incorporating GPL'd code into their next version of Windows, who would be left to sue? Novell, Xandros, and Linspire already can't...

    Microsoft already knows Vista sucks, and stealing code would not be a new trick for them.
  • Software is support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:37PM (#19719595) Homepage Journal
    It's no longer possible to make money selling software alone to corporations. The support contracts and maintenance are part of the package and are in fact the biggest money maker. These were once add-ons, when the price of software itself was high relative to costs, but as complexity has expanded, so has the cost of production and with it, the tendency toward bugs and incompatibilities.

    As a result, corporations aren't going to buy any software that does not come with support, because those gotchas can delay vital money-producing work. Software companies have quite sensibly as a result been drifting closer to a license/service model, where software is "sold" but that purchase is really an entry point to the purchase of yearly support contracts and licenses that entitle them to updates.

    Microsoft is not concerned about Linux because Microsoft makes money from selling its support contracts. Their goal at this point is not to slander Linux, but to leave it as a free option with no clear support path, because Linux is divided into thousands of distros with no clear market leader.

    This can benefit OSS/FOSS in that where Microsoft tackles the broadest, unspecialized market, Linux distros can shine in specialized areas, for example music production, and offer unofficial support to those who are smaller companies or individuals wanting to forge their own path and not be dependent on expensive support contracts.

    What OSS/FOSS should do at this point is to cease any emulation of Microsoft or Google as market leaders, and look closer to the Apple model, which is selling a specialized service to a number of specialized needs. So goes my experience, and whatever "wisdom" has been imparted to me by it.

  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @02:29PM (#19720195)
    There's still that perception by business management types that a Windows-based IT shop can be staffed adequately by cheap, plentiful , easily-replaceable fresh grads right out of the local community college who have MSCE paper stuck to their foreheads. And there's still that perception that Linux/Unix qualified people are hard to find, tend to demand lots more pay, want real offices instead of an open bullpen with cubicle dividers, and that they tend to be more argumentative against the bean-counting management and they dislike strict dress codes and are less punctual when management expects them to always be there at 8:00AM sharp every morning despite whether or not they had to work until midnight the prior evening (for no overtime of course). In short, business management types prefer to keep their IT staff well under their thumbs, and squirming in fear of their positions... management hates, in the most profound way, to ever let themselves get into any position that looks like their IT people might have any kind of leverage to hold over them. Microsoft has convinced the business world that as long as they run a pure Windows-based IT operation, then their IT staff will always be a controlled commodity and easily replaceable with standard off-the-shelf "parts".

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright