Microsoft's Linux is growing market share

Novell's sell-out continues to sell. "Good" for it?

Back in 2006, Microsoft decided to borrow a Linux distribution. Microsoft, which has felt little negative direct effect from the Linux operating system, needed to ensure it could skew the open-source business model in its favor, by levying a patent FUD tax on anyone who chose to use Linux.

Microsoft has paraded its Linux in terms of customer choice and customer protection, but both are complete canards. Mandriva Linux is just as interoperable with Microsoft Windows as Microsoft's SUSE, is. The same is true for a wide variety of Linux distributions - they are all as interoperable with Windows as any officially blessed by Microsoft.

Today, the FUD strategy is paying off, apparently, as PC World reports.

Novell, whose Linux distribution Microsoft is effectively "OEM'ing," has been very happy to play dupe to Microsoft, spreading the FUD that Microsoft feeds it, as Justin Steinman of Novell notes:

When we're out there competing with Red Hat, [our salespeople] are saying, 'Our Linux is recommended by Microsoft,' and customers that already have a Windows investment say it seems to make sense to pick the Linux that works with Windows.

Microsoft continues to laugh behind its hands at the poor little Fantine of a Linux "partner" it bought as it makes goofy comments like this. Oracle and other real competitors wonder how having one's principal competitor "promote" one's product can possibly foretell good things to come for "Fantine."


At least Novell (Fantine) has found a way to make money from its demise. Let's hope it lasts for its sake, and that it doesn't for the sake of customers and open source, generally.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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