When a company as large as Microsoft makes a u-turn on it’s product strategy, you know trends are changing, and Microsoft realized it was heading off in the wrong direction. Last week they announced that their Azure cloud service will now offer support for Linux VMs, offering an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud offering running your choice of OpenSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu or CentOS Linux flavors.
Given Microsoft’s past efforts to squash the rising popularity of Linux, with the millions of dollars it pumped into SCO’s legal actions against Linux backers, and Ballmer’s memorable ‘Linux is a cancer’ statements describing with no uncertainty his deep hatred for Linux, last week’s announcement seems rather startling. What? Microsoft are offering a commercial service to host Linux for paying customers? If there isn’t a single action that shows you how successful Linux is in our current world, then Microsoft making a u-turn of this degree is surely it.
If Microsoft’s Azure service is going to be successful, it makes complete sense that they have to offer Linux options for an IaaS offering, especially if they’re aiming to get a slice of Amazon’s AWS popularity.
I wonder what it was like to be in the meetings at Microsoft when they were planning this move?
“Steve – about this Linux thing. You know, if we’re going to stay alive and keep competitive, we really need to stop being an ass about Linux. It’s time to admit that it’s stomping all over our turf. Windows just doesn’t cut it any more in comparison to running systems on Linux. To stay in the game we need to start embracing this thing – let’s start by offering support in Azure and hosting Linux VMs…”