Microsoft signs a Linux license deal with Casio

What’s wrong with this headline? Even though major corporations contribute to Linux, it is still considered open source isn’t it?

Back in 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated Linux was a bigger competitor than Apple. That admission even made Microsoft’s quarterly filing to the SEC.

The Linux operating system, which is also derived from Unix and is available without payment under a General Public License, has gained some acceptance, especially in emerging markets, as competitive pressures lead OEMs to reduce costs and new, lower-price PC form-factors gain adoption.

Far earlier, at the turn of the new century, Microsoft managers were admitting that migration to Linux from Windows was a major concern.

In one of the early signs that Microsoft had synched up their IP and business strategies (a change largely attributed to Brad Smith, who became SVP and general counsel in 2002, and the change in the U.S. IP protection remedies for software from copyright to patents), they tore apart Linux and examined how developers worked around various Microsoft patents. In May of 2007 they announced Linux, the free, open source operating system, violates 235 Microsoft patents. The company also laid out a second prong of its strategy: they wanted royalties from OEMs who choose Linux.

Linux users and suppliers now represent an opportunity for Microsoft.  In fact, Microsoft continues to contribute lines of code to Linux. Though headlines such as the above continue to shock, we can expect more of them.