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osOpinion: Red Hat Revisited

Nov 30, 1999, 06:38 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Zedlewski)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"A few months ago, I marvelled at Red Hat, Inc.'s new, $5+ billion dollar market capitalization and wrote an article in which I considered possible ways they could use their new success to transform from a simple Linux distributor to a major player in the software and service industries."

"Now Red Hat's market cap exceeds an unbelievable $16 billion, and the company has finally succeeded in an acquisition (of Cygnus Solutions), after talks with TurboLinux and LinuxCare failed for a variety of reasons....and Cobalt Networks' IPO has thrown several billion more dollars into the Linux camp. With all of these developments, I thought it would be worthwhile to take another detailed look at the company's position and consider where they might go from here."

"Red Hat's most significant move in this time period has, strangely, gone relatively unnoticed. Earlier this month, they made the transition from a "Linux company" to an "Open source company" by announcing their first support offerings for Apache on non- Linux platforms. This change (which, in "Winning the Open Source Support Game", I had suggested would be strategy that another Linux distributor could use to outflank Red Hat's Linux dominance) can actually justify the purchase of Cygnus, whose main strengths are actually in development tools for embedded systems, The folks at Cygnus must have one hell of a negotiation team to convince Red Hat to shell out 6.7 million shares of RHAT stock (worth $674 million at the time, but now valued at over $1.5 billion). The influx of open source support personnel is important, but we have to ask ourselves whether the company really got a good value."

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