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I don't understand why Microsoft would acquire Canonical. Microsoft already has an operating systems business in Windows. I don't see any obvious synergies with other lines of business except Azure.

Azure officially supports a number of distributions. The risk of alienating the existing partners who package these distributions for Azure likely outweighs the small benefit Microsoft would get from acquiring Canonical. A deep partnership already exists (e.g. Ubuntu Advantage integration throughout Azure). They don't need to own Canonical for that.

> Microsoft already has an operating systems business in Windows.

Windows the OS is gonna die sooner or later, it's a question of time. Windows the legacy application API layer is probably gonna stick around forever.

Linux kernel + proprietary Windows application compatibility secret sauce seems like a killer combination. (Think Wine, except easy to use and actually working, and commercial.)

I think the only thing stopping Microsoft from following this plan is legacy devs and managers having a vested interest to keep their jobs around.

The Windows API may be old and rotting, but NT is a very modern kernel compared to Linux. It would make as much sense for them to support Linux binaries on Windows. Oh wait, they do ;). I think Microsoft would make quite a splash if they open source the NT kernel. They could even follow Apple's model, where they open up most of the kernel and keep win32 et al. proprietary.

I don't think Windows will die anytime soon. Yes, the traditional Windows desktop will die eventually. This is why Microsoft probably makes such a strong play with Azure and Office 365. But Microsoft can just continue to sell Windows + Blink-based Edge as a modern desktop for web apps that also has support for legacy win32 applications for those companies and individuals that need it.

Building a compat layer on top of Linux seems to make little sense. It will be a huge time investment and while desktop Linux is great for developers, the whole ecosystem is to volatile for most end users. Plus the Linux graphics stack is still not where it needs to be.

Whether they'll acquire a Linux distributor is a completely separate question for me. I think it makes sense to acquire know-how and some influence for Linux on Azure. On the other hand, maybe they don't want to upset other Linux vendors. Oracle, Red Hat, and SUSE are typically used on expensive SAP/Oracle deployments. In fact, they were even SUSE resellers one day ;) [1].

[1] https://www.computerworld.com/article/2532632/microsoft-to-b...

> The Windows API may be old and rotting, but NT is a very modern kernel compared to Linux.

I've seen this parroted before, no evidence to support this opinion.

If you're going to keep the Windows API then why would you replace the NT kernel from under it when it is, in many ways, better than the Linux kernel? What's more likely is that Microsoft buys Canonical so they can initiate the extend part of the EEE strategy with Subsystem for Linux.

Canonical would be a target mainly because of most - if not all cloud products - primarily run on Ubuntu.

Cloud Native products literally do not care for RHEL/SuSE and the like for a rather large portion but just give you Ubuntu. Also, paid support is given in combo with Ubuntu. Paid support: big business.

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