"In August, Red Hat did their IPO. While it is impossible for a
bricks-and-mortar business plan to explain the current stock value
of about $7 billion, there is a big difference between the
perceived value of bricks-and-mortar companies and Internet-related
ventures. After all, the stock market is, in a sense, legalized
gambling for the white-collar class, and they are more excited
about a big "maybe" than a small "sure thing..."
"We can compare Red Hat to Caldera and SuSE, because they all
ship the same product. That is, it could be exactly the same, but
each has elected for a different market segment and has made some
differences. As far as revenues, SuSE is roughly the same as Red
Hat; that is, about $10 million. I don't have revenue numbers for
Caldera, but would expect them to be somewhat smaller. Caldera has
its own market segment--the VAR--which is likely to be where they
experience significant growth, and their recent announcement about
Lineo, their other division (working on Embedded Linux), should
firmly entrench them in that area as well..."
"What may make the biggest difference is timing. Red Hat did
their homework, got themselves to look like the biggest thing going
and entered the market when many buyers didn't really understand
that they were just one of the flavors of a system that could
compete with Microsoft. It is likely that SuSE and Caldera
investors will do more homework before they buy. I would guess this
would limit their value growth, but I'm also the guy who didn't
expect Microsoft to be taken seriously when they started selling an
OS they bought from another company about 15 years ago."
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