Microsoft Tries to Smack Down Red Hat, Cozy up to Open Source

Kachina Shaw

Last week, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik projected that his company would capture at least half of the enterprise server OS market by 2015, up from less than 20 percent today and overtaking Microsoft's two-thirds market share. Analysts in this piece tend toward the skeptical side on that number, but do expect gains for Red Hat, given that enterprise adoption of open source and Linux is trending up, Red Hat is racking up plenty of new accounts, and the company is also claiming that it's got some key virtualization technology up its sleeve.


A few weeks before, Szulik reveled, as in this missive to Jack Loftus, in the European Union's decision to uphold the European Commission's 2004 antitrust ruling and fine against Microsoft regarding Windows desktop software.


Meanwhile, Steve Ballmer has been bringing up the threat of patent infringement litigation again -- against Red Hat this time. He's also added to Microsoft's Open Source Lab Director Bill Hilf's duties, naming him General Manager of Windows Server Marketing (in addition to his existing open source-centric duties), according to Techworld Netherlands.


So Redmond is receiving both reprimands for reviving its claims that open source vendors (and users?) are going to see their use of alleged Microsoft intellectual property in their software come home to roost in the form of patent infringement lawsuits and accolades for putting the well-regarded Hilf onto the server software marketing team. Rob Enderle blogged today about how the new post for Hilf will likely mean both more effective marketing strategy and stronger cooperation between Redmond and the open source community as a whole -- a massive undertaking for one man.


Microsoft's seemingly inconsistent stance regarding its open source competitors can be partly forgiven, in that it's playing a game of corporate Whack-a-Mole. Every time another threat arises, especially in a strong corner like the Windows Server market, it has to act, even if it can only get a whiff and a miss in.

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