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Muth ‘the mouth’ accidentally boosts Linux

And seems to suggest giving away IE for free...

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Somebody in Microsoft legal circles should speak to Ed Muth, enterprise marketing group manager for NT. He's been talking to ZDNN (Microsoft has many business ties with Softbank, ZDNN's parent) and his remarks could be used against Microsoft. Muth was reacting to the Intel/Netscape investment in Red Hat Software, and he clearly saw Linux as a competitor to NT. Referring to the investment and the fact that Linux itself is "free" (the fee charged for the CD-ROM is essentially a media and marketing charge), he said "It's a difficult business model to make work." But the comparison between the "free" "integrated" IE and Windows 9x was just too close for this argument. So why did Microsoft give IE away (when Netscape was charging for its browser) if that would make it a hard business model to follow? Muth then said that the "announcement" (Microsoft does not like to name Linux distributors such as Red Hat and Caldera, lest it publicises Linux beyond the trade press) would more likely affect other Unix vendors rather than NT. This suggests that Muth already believes that Linux is entering the corporate space (which is hardly the case on any scale - yet), because home users are extremely unlikely to have any other Unix flavour installed (and at home, it is mostly being used in a dual boot with Windows, or as an alternative to Windows). Muth evidently finds it hard to see Linux as a movement that owes much of its success to a reaction against Microsoft's hegemony. He sees Linux as a company competing with Microsoft when he says: "Companies need to protect their IP territory. Otherwise, there is no reason to stay in business." The Ziff piece also dug out a lawyer, a certain Rich Gray, to suggest that the Linux model may not last because "Linux could be co-opted by an applications maker. If a company invented a killer app for Linux and didn't use the code, you could corner the market by controlling access to that application." That could make two people who might soon be pursuing other interests. ® Click for more stories

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