SmartMoney.com: Stock Watch: Linux at a Crossroads
Nov 17, 2000, 22:46 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Russell Pearlman)
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"In a nutshell, companies attempting to profit off the Linux
operating system are having the same problems as those looking to
make a buck off selling water: How do you make money when your
product is ubiquitous and free? Furthermore, now that the hype
surrounding these stocks has past, investors are paying attention
to what they really knew all along - slaying the beast in Redmond
will take much more than just angry talk and good
"So does all this mean the Linux revolution has fizzled?
Nobody's saying that; investors have simply come back down to
earth. Nevertheless, lessons have been learned over the past year,
and it appears that four business models are emerging for companies
looking to differentiate themselves from the Linux pack. Each has
its own plusses - and minuses...."
"Finally, there's the "Coke" strategy. The water used to make
Coke can't be patented, but the syrup Coca-Cola adds to the water
can be. Likewise, Linux can't be patented, but applications that
augment the Linux system can be. There are a slew of companies
already developing software applications exclusively for Linux.
TurboLinux, a company that recently filed to go public, is the most
prominent of the bunch. But other traditional software companies,
including software giants Oracle and SAP, are already taking steps
to make their software Linux-compatible."