Splitting Microsoft in two could be bad news for companies
developing applications for the Linux platform, according to
Earlier this month, a US judge ordered that Microsoft be split
into an applications developer and an operating systems supplier.
Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of IDC's software research team,
believes that the applications business could smother the Linux
applications market with Linux versions of its popular Word and
"The applications business could address the up-and-coming
Linux client markets and could place energy into porting Microsoft
server products over to other operating environments, including
Linux and Unix. We're not convinced Microsoft would take that
approach, but it could," said Kusnetzky.
He added that Microsoft would prove tough competition for
Corel and Applix, as well as other companies that make similar
Linux-based applications. Microsoft could also produce its own
version of Linux to compete against Red Hat, Caldera and
"What would stop it from coming up with Microsoft Linux?" asked
Kusnetzky. "It would have command of every major channel and
Another part of the judge's order is that Microsoft should not
penalise partners who choose to endorse competitive technologies.
"This order, coming when it does with the growing interest in
Linux, is certain to give this open source phenomenon a major
boost," said Kusnetzky.
He also said the order would free heavy hitters such as Dell and
Compaq to go after Linux system sales without fear of a backlash
from Microsoft, adding that this could hurt companies that make
Linux system hardware.
Microsoft has failed to comment on the IDC report.
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