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The Register: MS Softway purchase – could it unleash ‘Linux for Windows?’

“On Friday Microsoft announced it had bought small San Francisco
Unix developer Softway Systems, explaining that the deal was
intended to strengthen Unix-Windows interoperability. But there’s
more to this than meets the eye – Softway had been putting its toes
into the waters of open source and Linux on Windows, so despite the
public statements, Microsoft may be tipping its hand…”

“So Microsoft has only bought Softway in order to provide a
bridge to allow Unix defectors to switch to Windows, allegedly. But
there are a few problems with that pitch. First of all, Microsoft
has plenty of bridges of this sort already, and has torched a
couple of them already. The company just recently escaped from an
antitrust action mounted by one of them, Bristol, but it has more.
Softway, as an independent company, was one of them. So it’s
difficult to believe that there’s much point to the Softway
acquisition, and to the addition of “many members” of its
development team to Microsoft’s headcount…”

But you can maybe see why a Redmond worried about developer
momentum in the Linux market might see reason for acquiring
Softway, and the (possibly embryonic) Linux for Windows.

Softway’s expertise could possibly be used as part of a Microsoft
’embrace and smother’ campaign, and as a worst possible case,
Microsoft could give Linux for Windows away with its own software
in order to offer its users the best of both worlds. That of course
would probably only happen if it looked like Linux was winning the
apps war.”

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