A few hours ago, I posted "Is Microsoft the New SCO?" but now I realize, after a little research, that Amazon and Microsoft are in this patent agreement for one reason: so that Amazon can abandon Linux on its Kindle in favor of Windows 7. Crazy? Nope. It makes perfect sense. Why would the world's largest software company and the world's largest online retailer team up? To Window-ize the Kindle. I'm afraid it's true. Amazon wants the Kindle to run apps, like the iPad and this is the best way for them to accomplish that. They didn't give any details in their agreement but I'll fill-in the missing bits for you.
Amazon uses Linux for its Kindle now. Amazon uses a lot of Linux for its EC2 service. Just one day after their patent agreement deal, Amazon announced that they now offer Windows reserved instances just like their Linux ones.
Are you getting the picture yet? If not, let me help some more.
If you think about it, Amazon can't or won't team up with Google because Google wants to give away books. Amazon wants to charge for those books.
Apple and Amazon wouldn't make a good gadget-based business pair since Apple already has the iPad and the Kindle would compete directly with that device.
Linux has some distinct advantages for embedded devices but which Linux company would Amazon pair with to bring you a richer Linux-based device experience? Red Hat? Novell? Canonical? Nope. There are several reasons for this but the most significant one playing against such a pairing is that Amazon would alienate too many potential customers by choosing one supporting Linux company over another. The second biggest issue playing against Amazon's choice of Linux is that to develop an application-ready system would require a huge investment in development. They weren't ready for that nor did they want to make the investment.
On to the only choice left: Microsoft.
It must have been a hard decision for Amazon to do this. They must have pondered it at length. They weighed the options of sticking with Linux versus going with a Windows-based solution. In the end, for the Kindle to remain on the leading edge and to move ahead of all the Linux-based competitors that are entering the marketplace at half the Kindle's cost, they had to do something drastic.
They chose Windows. Wisely.
Microsoft and Amazon will marry nicely in this move.
I just wonder why they didn't make it more public and come clean about the agreement. I expect that, if this post doesn't do it, they'll wait until summer for the real announcement concerning their hookup.
Pretty clever Amazon and Microsoft. I applaud your little smokescreen. And it almost worked. It took me a few days to decide to post on this issue, since all the other open source pundits and anti-Microsoft radicals had already reacted to this news. They (and I) did exactly what you wanted (reacted negatively to your detail-lacking news release) and it was a good try at a diversion. Well played.
I'd like to know one thing, though. Which company approached the other about this potential liaison? Did Amazon decide that their Kindle was going nowhere since, as it stands, the Kindle is an overpriced one trick pony? Did Microsoft realize that they couldn't effectively compete against the iPad and decided that they needed to convince Amazon to make the switch to Windows 7?
It's an interesting thought and it will be well worth seeing the outcome. There's one thing I've noticed about these kinds of deals: when they don't make obvious sense, there's more to the story. The glaring lack of details in this deal was also a head-scratcher. And now we know why.
What do you think about this agreement? Do you think I've seen through the smokescreen or do you think I was right the first time around?