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Red Hat Speaks: Microsoft And Oracle Are Following The Linux Leader

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Red Hat executive VP of engineering Paul Cormier talks about Red Hat's response to the newly invigorated competition from Microsoft and Oracle in the Linux market.

Everyone wants a piece of Red Hat lately, in particular software giants Microsoft and Oracle. If competition is the sincerest form of flattery, then Red Hat should feel flattered several times over. What Red Hat doesn't feel is worried. InformationWeek editor-at-large Larry Greenemeier spoke Friday with Red Hat executive VP of engineering Paul Cormier about Red Hat's response to the newly invigorated competition in the Linux market.

InformationWeek: Why has Red Hat become a target for other software vendors, in particular Microsoft and Oracle, at this time?

Paul Cormier: "There's no question that Linux is a viable part of the enterprise. The two largest proprietary software companies just stood up, and by them saying that Linux is a threat to them, it's obvious that Microsoft and Oracle feel Linux is mainstream in the enterprise." Oracle had a number of options in terms of its Linux strategy. "They could do what Red Hat does in tying together all of the software needed to make Linux a useable operating system. But they said they were going to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux because it's the standard and the technical leader." Red Hat has become a target because "we've been running away with the enterprise marketplace," with more than 80% of enterprise Linux servers using Red Hat. Still, Oracle and Microsoft's moves "are less about revenue and more about control."

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Szulik: 'There must be problems with Vista'

Red Hat insists it remains unperturbed by the recent movements from Oracle and Microsoft, which could potentially place the leading Linux seller under increased competitive pressure.

Speaking to an audience here this morning, Matthew Szulik, Red Hat's chairman, CEO and president, recalled his initial thoughts when news of Microsoft's new partnership with Novell broke late last week: "My first question was: 'There must be problems with [Windows] Vista." Szulik said his thoughts then shifted to what he described as a lack of innovation from a company that had billed itself as a great technology innovator.

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