Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2003

IBM and Linux (A)

by Carliss Y. Baldwin, Siobhan O'Mahony and James Quinn


In the fall of 1998, Dan Frye, member of IBM's emerging technologies and business team, is trying to decide whether to forge a strategic alliance with the Linux Development Community (LDC). Just two years earlier, IBM had its first exposure to an "open source" software program when it selected Apache as the web server program for the web site of the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. Based on its success with Apache, and Frye's intuition that Linux could be a critical, strategic step in the new "network-centric" computing environment, Frye and his colleagues are trying to decide whether an alliance between IBM and LDC would serve their interests--and, if so, how IBM could manage the alliance with a loosely affiliated group of software developers.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Open Source Distribution; Problems and Challenges; Alliances; Cooperation; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry;


Baldwin, Carliss Y., Siobhan O'Mahony, and James Quinn. "IBM and Linux (A)." Harvard Business School Case 903-083, June 2003.