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Analyzing the OS battles

A News.com reader writes that Microsoft needs to make money off operating-system development more than Sun and IBM do.

In response to the March 8 Perspectives column by Bruce Perens, "Deciphering the open-source war":

While I do not completely disagree with the sentiment of the article, the writer misses the central points.

IBM and Sun Microsystems sell hardware, and Microsoft does not. Microsoft needs to make money off operating-system development more than Sun and IBM do. Why can Sun and IBM afford to invest in open-source software? For the same reason that Microsoft can afford to invest in Internet Explorer: Even though they do not make a profit directly on the investment, it drives sales of their primary products (hardware and Windows, respectively).

Patrick Schmitz
San Francisco, Calif.