Microsoft vs. Linux. There's nothing new there--the conflict between the two is not only economical, but also ideological--the king of proprietary software squaring off against the strongest champ from the opensource community. It's like Rocky all over again, but who's wearing American colors? It's not even that different than Protestants vs. Catholics, if you think about it. I was browsing /. today and noticed that IBM is dumping billions into Linux development. IBM spokespersons say it's to create such competition and end Microsoft's monopoly, but this Forbes article suggests there's more at play here:
But IBM has a broader agenda--undermining Bill Gates' company. Here lies the next big battle in tech, pitting two erstwhile allies against each other in a fight to rule the computer industry in the years ahead. As big corporate customers seek to lash together worldwide networks and imbue them with more online commerce, a new $21 billion market for Web-linked software has emerged.
IBM has struggled with M$ in the past, of course--the article mentions the OS/2 system, which was actually the system of choice for many Amigans jumping ship after Commodore struck the iceberg. Proprietary stuff only works as long as compeition is minimal. Creating a standard operating system was only possible because the hardware was cheap (thanks to the clone-makers). You can't have proprietary hardware AND operating system and expect to win in the battle of standards, no matter how much better you are.
Let me tell you what this looks like from the perspective of a former Commodore Amiga user. My computer and operating system was destroyed when Commodore went out of business. I had no choice but to drift elsewhere. Now, I could either go with a Mac, which was also "double proprietary" (i.e., hardware and OS), or switch to an IBM-compatible. I know what it's like to live with a computer for whom only about .05% of all available software is compatible for it and wasn't about to embrace another proprietary system if I could help it.