IT-Director: Linux to get the drop on Microsoft?

“Montreal has been hosting Linux Expo 2000, where the Linux
companies are aiming to bolster their image. The recent antitrust
ruling has weakened Microsoft, leaving an opportunity for Linux to
gain ground. But the Linux companies have seen sliding stock prices
recently. Are they in a position to push Linux forward in the face
of a weakened Microsoft?”

“First, let’s consider how much Microsoft has been affected by
the antitrust ruling. Given the judge’s earlier statement of facts,
the ruling shouldn’t have been a surprise. Nonetheless, it seemed
to bring home to markets the problems that are being created
through Microsoft’s intransigence. The company has already pushed
its model about as far as it can. The judge took the view that
Microsoft had operated by dominating one market, then using
proprietary hooks to move on to another. There is wide agreement
that this process could not continue much longer, as it has become
too much of a threat to innovation and competition in the software

The pure Linux companies do not have business models that
look capable of sustaining huge valuations. It was inevitable that
there would be disappointments for investors. That does not mean
they have no future.
On the contrary, they have an important
role in what is still a vibrant sector of the market. It’s just
that their role is not as important as investors hoped. At least as
important are the major corporations such as IBM that have decided
to back Linux as a serious operating platform. They continue to
provide enterprise scale support for Linux, and the recent launch
of Linux for the IBM System/390 has been extraordinarily