Linux winners will be deal-makers with Microsoft

We have just entered a new era in interoperability between Linux and Windows.

The Desktop

A week ago, Google announced that they licensed Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol technology, and released a beta of the Google Sync service. Google Sync is a new push technology that allows over-the-air sync of Google calendar appointments and email contacts, across a number of handset environments including Windows Mobile devices. This was a wise move and one with a desktop component best described in a related quote I found:
"... a solid step in Google's march toward owning the desktop."
If Linux wins ground on the desktop, it won't be because the Bell Curve of users cares it's Linux -- it'll be because the desktop gives users what they want. Easy synchronization is essential. At the same time, I believe this was smart of Microsoft. Android and Google services are gaining traction, and at some point Microsoft has to capitalize on the areas it has value, rather than trying to own the entire space. What'll be interesting to watch is whether Google Sync will be supported by Ubuntu, Moblin, and other Linux platforms.

The Server

Today's news was the clincher on the server side; Red Hat and Microsoft agreed to validate each other's operating system on their respective virtualization hypervisor technology. Once validated by both parties, customers with valid support agreements will receive cooperative technical support. What was really impressive is that Red Hat pulled this off without patent or financial clauses. I believe this deal was inked, simply put, because customers demanded it. It also shows Red Hat has some serious pull, not surprising given their beat-the-street quarter and posture to gain some new ground as a result of poor economic times.

Winners and Losers

The market has spoken; it wants choice, interoperability and support. Enough players with clout have signed on. Although, this creates a whole new dynamic for other players in the Linux vendor space. Vendors who have not struck such deals are at a disadvantage until they do. If they aren't able to make the deals, they risk getting boxed out, or at least getting relegated to the fraction of the market formed by pure Linux shops.

Disclosure: no positions