<font size="3">Is Microsoft Linux in the Wind?</font>
Speculation that Microsoft might build a flavor of Linux into Windows Server 2003 has been rife since May, when the company said it was licensing the Unix source code and patent from the SCO Group. That action followed SCO's infamous US$1 billion lawsuit, filed in March, which accuses IBM of improperly lifting copyrighted Unix technology and building it into Linux. The Microsoft-Linux speculation has been fueled by Linux' increasing prominence on the enterprise server level, largely thanks to IBM, and Microsoft's historical willingness to react to competitive threats by creating its own versions of rival products. Still, despite the speculation, there is considerable doubt that Microsoft will develop or distribute its own version of Linux anytime soon.
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Perhaps the most compelling reason for skepticism is that such a move would be against Microsoft's very nature. "At this point, Microsoft appears to be opposed to both the concept of open-source software, in general, and Linux, in specific," Dan Kusnetsky, vice president of system software for IDC, told NewsFactor. "I'd have to say that the chance of Microsoft offering a Linux operating system is rather remote." Even if the software giant were to revise its philosophy, there is the matter of whether such a move would make sense in financial terms. "Microsoft's management has a responsibility to maintain and increase shareholder value," Stacey Quandt, principal analyst, Open Source Development Lab, told NewsFactor. "At the same time, Microsoft's survival in its present form depends on maintaining and increasing the Windows operating system installed base. Hence," she concluded, "it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will create a Linux operating system."
News source: NewsFactor