Microsoft's winning anti-Linux strategy

Summary:Everyone knows that Microsoft has a new anti-Linux strategy. Everyone knows it's based on promises of security.

Everyone knows that Microsoft has a new anti-Linux strategy.

Everyone knows it's based on promises of security.

What everyone doesn't know is how well it's working. And it's working better than open source advocates want to admit.

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia recently used interviews to diss Microsoft's latest effort in this area, a Wipro-produced survey of 90 organizations indicating Windows is cheaper to patch than Linux.

The snarky response is "Windows takes more patching." But I submit that at the heart of Microsoft's response to Linux is a strategy to turn its weakness into strength.

There is a new profession being built into every enterprise, network security management. These people are now being consulted on buying decisions. They want enterprise-grade tools, both for finding vulnerabilities and patch management.

By giving them tools such as Software Update Service and (over time) visualization, Microsoft is aiming to win the loyalty of these new professionals and, through their recommendations, stop the spread of Linux in its tracks.

Open source has an opportunity to deliver scaled scanning, patch management, and visualization tools that serve whole enterprises, which are still heterogenous environments. But building such tools will take a big effort, either a big budget or a lot of time. And until those tools are available security professionals will become ever-more entrenched, and ever-more loyal to Microsoft.

It's not in fixing problems that Microsoft hopes to win. It's in building tools that help people manage problems where Microsoft hopes to win.

By concentrating its big budget on that one place, right now, Microsoft is winning.

Topics: Microsoft


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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