Microsoft and Linux vendor Xandros announced on August 15 an extension of their interoperability partnership.
Normally, I'd just write such an announcement off as more of the same -- mostly fluff with little real stuff. After all, Xandros already signed a patent-protection deal with Microsoft, similar to the ones forged between Redmond and Novell and Linspire. As of today's announcement, Xandros also has licensed Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol and the Outlook Exchange Transport Protocol, allowing Xandros' newly acquired Scalix Mail servers to better sync with Exchange Server.
There's another reason I found the Exchange-Scalix collaboration agreement interesting, however. In March, the Yankee Group issued an interesting study, which found a number of businesses contemplating migrating away from Exchange Server, in favor of a Linux and/or open-source e-mail platform. Hello, Scalix!
A quick recap of Yankee's findings:
"In an ominous portent for Microsoft, 23% of the survey respondents indicated they intend to migrate away from Exchange Server and switch to an alternative Linux or open source Email and messaging distribution platform over the next 12 to 18 months. The users attributed their decision to their belief that Linux Email and messaging packages are cheaper and easier to manage than Exchange."
What do you make of Microsoft's latest interop deal? Is Microsoft simply trying to assimilate its competitors before they can do more damage to Microsoft and its products? Or is Microsoft, as its execs claim, trying to "foster innovation that benefits the overall IT ecosystem" via the deal?