So far, Microsoft has based its business model on developing products that could only work on its own operating system Windows. So, if somebody planned to purchase a Microsoft enterprise database they would have also had to first buy Windows.
But yesterday, the tech company said that its flagship corporate data software SQL Server would become compatible with Linux, a free operating system that has rivaled Windows for years.
Experts believe that the news means that Microsoft is ready to burry the hatchet and allow competitors use more of its products on their systems. SQL server is one of the company’s most valuable software products. SQL is also the key software in Microsoft’s ongoing war against rival Oracle Corporation to lure in more corporate customers.
But Microsoft first decided to open the gates wide two years ago, when Satya Nadella was appointed CEO. Back then, the tech giant developed software compatible with its competitors’ mobile operating systems including iOS.
But this year, it is the first time Microsoft employs the same strategy in back-office software such as SQL.
Nadella explained that the move was necessary since data has become the “core asset” in recent years. Furthermore, opening SQL to other operating systems was a logical step for Microsoft to prevent corporate customers from fleeing to competitors.
According to a Gartner report, Linux servers have become increasingly popular in the last two years. For instance, in 2014 Linux sold 1.2 million more units from 2011. In the meantime, Windows server sales lost 300,000 units.
A few decades ago, making the SQL server available to competitor systems would have been unthinkable. Yet, because Linux is now climbing in popularity, keeping SQL in a walled garden would plainly mean turning away new customers.
Nevertheless, Microsoft does not have an enterprise sale issue. It still rocks the data management software business with its 21.4 percent market share, behind Oracle’s 43 percent share.
Nadella also argued that making the software available to Linux customers would be a great “market expansion opportunity.” But the transition will be made gradually.
First, Linux users will run a temporary version of the corporate data software since a full commercial version is slated for 2017. So, expect buyers to postpone purchases until next year. Plus, Linux could become instantly “more attractive,” as one analyst has put it, a risk which Microsoft said it was ready to take.
Image Source: Flickr