Microsoft says commercial interests keep Linux afloat

COMPUTER giants IBM Corp. and Hewlett Packard Co.'s interest in Linux is driven primarily by commercial benefits, a Microsoft executive told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday.

"It's all about the money. The interest in Linux is the same as any other software in the market," said Chris Sharp, director of platform strategy for Microsoft in Asia Pacific.

He said that IBM, Oracle and Hewlett Packard are all making money from Linux.

"Everywhere you look, IBM and others are pushing Linux. These guys are after a return on investments and they are not after the greater good of the (open source) community," he said.

Linux, he added, is just like any other commercial software out in the market.

Sharp was managing director of Red Hat Asia Pacific for three years prior to joining Microsoft in July 2003. He joined Red Hat, distributor of Linux, as its second employee in the region after the company's public listing. Sharp was responsible for the development of Red Hat sales within the region.

The briefing with Sharp in Manila was intended to demystify the local media's view of open source technology versus commercial software.

Discussing the difference between the open source world and commercial software, as represented by Microsoft, Sharp said that commercial software provides direct benefits to customers.

Among the benefits, he said, was lower total cost of ownership derived from commercial software.

By Erwin Lemuel G. Oliva


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