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Monday, August 15, 2005

At Microsoft, the yin and yang of Linux

As Microsoft's director of platform technology strategy, Bill Hilf spends half his time trying to figure out ways Windows can work better with Linux and the other half trying to outflank the open-source rival.

Of course, he doesn't describe it quite that starkly.

"My life is like a yin and a yang," he said in an interview at this week's LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. "There is just as much time thinking about the there is about the cooperation/interoperability/opportunity. It's equal time."

The lab's dual purpose reflects an evolution in Microsoft's mindset when it comes to Linux and open-source software.

Linux is still seen as a competitor that needs to be addressed head-on. The company spends plenty of time and money on its anti-Linux "Get the Facts" campaign, for example.

At the same time, though, Microsoft seems to have accepted that Linux is not going away, and the company wants to make sure it's not turning off customers--or leaving dollars on the table--by ignoring its very real rival.

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