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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Microsoft And Linux: Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies Closer


It was said that it would never happen. Linux, the open source operating system, is the greatest enemy that Microsoft faces in it attempt to keep its software franchise worldwide.

Today, Microsoft entered into a deal with Novell to distribute Suse Linux, a version of the Linux software. Under the arrangement, both companies will promote the ability of computers to run Windows OS and Suse Linux. Microsoft will also refrain from any attempt to get an IP judgement against any portion of the Linux software. Whether there are infringement issues is not known.

The obvious reason that Microsoft might do this is that its rival, Oracle, is promoting another version of Linux from Redhat. Microsoft is simply flanking them.

But, there may be another reason. By promoting systems to run both Linux and Windows, it means that it is less likely that Windows will be excluded in place of the more economic Linux products. Microsoft may also be guarding against antitrust moves by Redhat, It may seem perverse, but it is the Microsoft way.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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