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MS Shifts Houston to the Linux Front Line
MS Shifts Houston to the Linux Front Line

(July 2, 2003) - If anyone was in any doubt that Microsoft takes Linux in the enterprise increasingly seriously, it ended this week when the Redmond software giant announced the latest arrival in its Enterprise Management Division, Peter Houston.

Although the move is strictly internal, Houston has already spent more than a year now helping MS formulate its response to what it perceives as the "threat" of Linux. His move from senior director of Windows Server Strategies to his new post signifies an intensifying of Microsoft's focus on the business implications of open-source software.

Houston is best known in Linux circles as the man who commissioned IDC, in their capacity as a recognized leader in cost analysis methodologies, to conduct a comprehensive study for Microsoft evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) for Microsoft Windows 2000 versus various Linux server offerings. Having evaluated Microsoft and Linux in the context of five specific workloads common to IT infrastructures today, IDC's findings suggested that Windows 2000 offered a lower total cost of ownership than a Linux-based server across four of these five workloads. Houston was, of course, delighted.

Microsoft's argument, under Houston's guidance, has been that customers shouldn't justify Linux decisions based solely on acquisition cost, the classic business case for Linux being its lower cost - Houston would say, the "supposedly" lower cost.

Long-term business value for IT systems can be measured in an endless number of different ways, so Houston's chosen strategy was without doubt an inspired one. Calculating whether the "free" price of Linux translates into lower long-term cost of ownership isn't straightforward, since many of the components of TCO aren't obvious. This makes it a fertile area for anyone charged with Microsoft product strategy versus competing technologies such as Linux.

Certainly it marks an evolutionary step from the days when Microsoft executives called Linux a "cancer" and described it as "un-American." But Houston still disagrees with, for example, the Meta Group analysts in Stamford, Connecticut, who have predicted that Microsoft will need to start offering limited products tailored for the Linux platform by the end of 2004.

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Will be interesting to watch this play out over the next 6 months as SCO and IBM slug it out between them. With Microsoft's investment in SCO, they are definitely up to something.

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Alan wrote: Will be interesting to watch this play out over the next 6 months as SCO and IBM slug it out between them. With Microsoft's investment in SCO, they are definitely up to something.
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