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Microsoft makes plenty of money on what Microsoft does best: pushing it's OS (and Server & Office software) into a fairly captive market. It's recent restructuring of its SQL Server license fee structure suggests it's not have as easy a time in that market, however.
It wouldn't suprise me if in the future, MS takes a serious stab at a Linux or similar OS. It's dabbled in the past. But I think it would take something amazing to shift in the current market before MS takes considering their own distro seriously. They could do it, but they don't need to.
Even then, I don't think Linux is really their style. If they did an MS-nix, it would probably end up defeating the purpose of the whole Linux/open source idea by somehow only being reliably compatible with MS apps... meaning they'd have to write a whole bunch of MS-nix apps to go with it.
Are there any OS companies that really produce and promote more than one "family" of OSes? Apple does Mac desktop and Server OSes, MS does Winders, RedHat does Linux, etc. Nobody really does more than one... tho' OSX is scooting closer to the *nix realm.
Just a guess here, but IBM, which does the whole AS/### series, and OS/2, is also looking into (or already does...'fraid I don't keep to up to date on IBM stuff....) a distro of Linux. I suspect, that if they want it to run on their hardware, and not be strictly Intel-based, that they will roll their own version. 'course the other rumor I heard from a co-worker (you can value that as you wanna. ;)) is that they are partnering with SuSE to create their version of Linux. But again, I'm not up to date on IBM info, just trying to come up with an example. :)
I think I heard the linux crowd trumpet that they're selling linux now.
McSoft wouldn't dare get into anything "infected" with GNU. If they wanted to get further into the UNIX market, they'd just beef up their stranglehold in SCO.
On a related note, McSoft will not do anything but Intel (er.. x86) these days, either. They've successfully flushed the projects associated with the other cpu arches and now will have nothing to do with them.
Ironically, that fits the SCO paradigm. :-)
Plus it would be a money drain for them at this moment to work so hard to have their products accomodate it. Dell, one of the best comp. manf., has just dropped RedHat from it's line of personal computers because they just were not making a profit out of it.
Now, when you are talking server software, MS won't touch it because they have their own stuff to pump out.
When Linux gets to a much higher level than it is at this time for personal computing, MS will probably play with it some. At least somehow better equip their Office Suite to run without problems.
IMHO, they will do their best to make sure Linux does not grow. Will they do it? Who knows :o
I certainly don't, but I'm not so sure MS do either at this stage. I think if they did go ahead with their own distro, the push would sway towards MS*nix-specific software for a set period, before the Windoze architecture begins to have cross-(MS)OS compatibility. That (compatibility) would continue to develop until it reaches a point where the MS*nix platform can be scrapped because all the apps work in the latest release of Windoze anyway.
That might be one way that MS does away with *nix platforms, but I doubt it.