I get a kick out of IBM’s and HP’s reports of Linux revenue mostly because (short-sighted) people laughed when I said Linux will be a huge business years ago (“Linux is a fad”, “Linux is for 16-year old geeks”). Yesterday, HP announced they earned $2.5 billion (that’s a ‘b’) last year in Linux revenue, a 40% increase over the previous year. Amazing how much money something that is free can bring in.

To put the $2.5 billion into perspective, the only real challenger to Linux where Linux is currently dominating (the server market) is Microsoft. Microsoft in fiscal 2003 earned $6.5 billion in their “Server and Tools” group which includes all their server products (SQL Server, Windows Server, BackOffice, etc.). Let’s assume that Windows Server is 50% (of all server products), Microsoft only made $3.25 billion, or only 30% more than HP alone made. If you factor in all the other companies profiting from Linux (IBM, Red Hat, Novell, etc.), it’s pretty clear that the market for Linux has already eclipsed its #1 threat. And it did it in 2-3 years, whereas Windows Server has been in the market for 12 years. The trend should be obvious.

Speaking of Microsoft, they continue to break the laws that they were convicted of breaking and for which they were never punished. When is the government going to stop trusting this company and take some action to discourage law-breaking? It’s like catching a bank-robber and forcing them to apologize but not force them to give the money back and send them on their merry way.

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