Could we see Microsoft Linux in the future?

It seems that Microsoft are in the process of taking over Novell, the publishers of the SUSE Linux product range. Does this mean the latest plan from Redmond to deal with the Linux threat is to issue a Microsoft Linux and more importantly could they do this?

It has been reported that a Novell employee has anonymously released an internal memo saying that an MS takeover is imminent. Read this

Granted this is probably just a joke but it got me thinking. Personally, I have wondered for a while now why Microsoft don’t just make their own Linux distribution, they could get the source and do it easily enough. I don’t know the full legal ramifications of this though, presumably they couldn’t take any GPL elements closed source and any additions or improvements to the code would have to be released to the community. So what would be the advantage to them? I think what’s really happening is that Microsoft have positioned Novell as their Linux provider of choice for purely business reasons, the deal between the 2 companies late last year was a good indication of their intent. It’s the perfect move from them really and early reports indicate that sales of SUSE Enterprise Linux are already up. There’ll be some sweating going on over at Red Hat headquarters no doubt. It looks like the boys from Redmond are hoping to cash in on the popularity of Linux in the enterprise market.

It’s a classic MS tactic, absorb the enemy and the corporate machine rolls on. This move is targeted squarely at the enterprise market and there must be big bucks in it. It’s all about contracts in that domain and it’s obvious what the MS board want. The next time they are negotiating a large contract and the other party says “yeah thats very interesting but we’re exploring the Linux route for our infrastructure” they want the next line to be “ok we do that as well, I’ll put you in touch with our Linux department”.

Will it happen? I certainly hope not but I can’t help thinking the writing may be on the wall.

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