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CNET News.com: Microsoft sees a future beyond the PC; sets sights on Linux in devices

Feb 06, 2001, 18:51 (27 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Fried)

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"For Bill Veghte, Microsoft's future lies in devices that skirt the traditional definition of a "beige box." Veghte, an 11-year Microsoft veteran, has for the past year worked as vice president of the embedded/appliance platform group, the unit responsible for the Windows CE and Windows Embedded operating systems."

"[News.com:] When you look at the competitive landscape, obviously you have different competitors, some of which are charging, some of which are free, some of which are open source, some of which are not. How do you assess that competitive landscape?

[Veghte:] ... If you look at Linux as a platform, obviously Linux is still pretty adolescent in the tool set that they provide. If you look at the size of something like the Linux browser, it's very big and very bulky.

There's a tremendous amount of tinkering going on right now as people say, "Hey, I've got a Linux kernel booting on a device." But that's very different from creating a rich set of applications and services and experiences on those devices. So for Linux, it's about: Can the tool set mature? Can business models be strong. Can there be a strong business model behind it? And can that deliver a great applications and services platform?

The other question that people often (mention) is: "Well, Linux is free." And of course the run- time license is one portion of the overall cost of bringing a device to market. For example, there are Linux companies out there that say the kernel and the memory manager for free, but (add): "We're going to charge you for the device management module. We're going to charge you for the browser module." And by the time you add it all up, it's actually more expensive (than Microsoft operating systems)."

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