Just to be clear I do not think a version of Linux will appear from Microsoft within the next couple of years I would imagine at least 5 and very possibly never. So why do I feel that Microsoft might go this way, well predicting the future is tough and predicting the future of IT and technology is almost impossible but here goes.
Microsoft wants to make money as all public companies do, they are also clever enough not to let pride get in the way, you can see evidence of this today. Microsoft have had Linux experts working for them for many years now, and have a dedicated Linux laboratory. The Linux lab really tries to achieve three main things:
- Find out where Windows is better than Linux.
- Find out where Linux is better than Windows.
- How can customers lives be improved when using the two technologies together.
There are lots of stories about how things are changing, for example Microsoft use MSN extensively internally for communication. The messenger client for Linux (which was reversed engineered to make it work) did not actually work properly. The Linux team went across to the MSN team to get them to fix the client. It is in now available on the Internet, no one would have expect a Microsoft tweaked MSN Client. This just shows a completely different approach to the non-Windows world we would not have expected 5 years ago.
If we bring this more up to date Microsoft are starting to build much closer ties with Unix and Linux vendors (Novell/Sun etc). I see this as Microsoft testing the water, trying to find out if they can make money in this area without taking any risks at all. If these relationships start to prove profitable, then the desire to make as much money as possible along with looking for new revenue streams as others start to dwindle (office maybe), Microsoft will want to go it alone to maximise the return, hey presto Microsoft Linux.
As with all these things there are more IF's in here than one could ever imagine and you could always question how Microsoft might present Linux (e.g. Virtualized on a Windows Server Code System). But for a change I just want to publish something maybe first on the Internet so have risked adding 2+2 and making a very large number with this leap of faith...
Please do not connect this with http://www.mslinux.org/ which is a bit of a wind up.