It appears that Microsoft has decided that the operating system is no longer an important battleground, and that it’s more important to gain market share in cloud (Azure and Office 365) than it is to put energy into battling Linux for application market share.
Microsoft’s cloud strategy has shifted to customer choice, including support for open systems and open source solutions.
In a surprise turn of events, in 2016 Microsoft joined Mesosphere and a broad group of industry partners including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Accenture, and Cisco to announce the open source DC/OS project, a effort lead by Apache Mesos for running modern distributed applications reliably and at scale. Derived from Mesosphere’s Datacenter Operating System, the 100 percent open source DC/OS offers powerful capabilities for container operations at scale and single-click, app-store-like installation of complex distributed systems, including HDFS, Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra and more.
If you want to see what a company really values, you look at their sales compensation approach. Microsoft focuses all of its accelerators and sales training on Azure and Office 365. Its sales people lead with these. Customers renewing their Windows/Office software licenses get free credits for Azure when they ask for a discount.
Microsoft will (of course) absolutely take a Windows renewal deal, but it is going to come with a chunk of free Azure because it wants you to use that instead of Windows on your own servers. It also has a program for its VARs (value-added resellers — people who help you get value out of Microsoft stuff) to provide professional services to help customers use those free Azure credits. It also has VARs who will help customers transition off Exchange and onto hosted Exchange instead, which is far easier to manage than hosting it yourself.
However, the recent announcement from Microsoft still comes as a surprise to many, as Former Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer once said, “Linux is a cancer,” in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
Here’s what Microsoft said in its latest announcement for joining the Linux Foundation:
“As part of its effort to work more closely with the open source community, Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member. Microsoft’s membership in the Linux Foundation will benefit customers through increased collaboration and innovation among a diverse ecosystem.”