AOL in Negotiations to Acquire Red Hat (PDA form factor)

Luis Villa
21 Jan 2002 14:05:06 -0500

This is an interesting proposal, Dave, and I'm sure AOL will explore
things along these lines. However, AOL is definitely interested in a
Linux/GTK-based userland and has been for some time (though not very
publicly) so I think that's a much more likely line of reasoning.

On Mon, 2002-01-21 at 13:09, Dave Long wrote:
> > I think they are interested in RedHat because of near term use in SetTop 
> > boxes along with a general long range defense of Xbox, et al. 
> Here's a more prosaic, less strategic
> interpretation.  (Warning!  I am so
> technologically lagging I still use
> paper to keep contact information*,
> so these numbers are both guesses
> and woefully out of date, to boot.
> Please correct to FoRK once you all
> have stopped laughing)
> Let's say AOL has 10 acres of data
> center, with a server/square foot.
> That's .4m servers, and if RHAT is
> to be had for $1.4b, that's $4k per
> (existing) box.
> Pull a multiplier of 20 out of thin
> air, and a RHAT acquisition (even if
> it runs the existing business into
> the ground) is worth it as a cost
> cutting exercise if AOL can save at
> least $200 / server-yr in software
> licensing & maintenance fees.  Does
> anyone have real figures to compare?
> (does it make a difference that one
> expense is cash and one is stock?)
> What would the other options be?
> HWP is 15 times as expensive, and
> CPQ or SUNW 30 times.  DELL and
> IBM are even more spendy, and I
> think DELL and GTW don't have OS
> people to speak of.
> (okay, to be more realistic, SGI
> would be a third the price, and
> CALD a 30th.  So maybe this isn't
> just a back end deal; what sort
> of teams do those companies have
> left with IRIX / SCO experience?)
> -Dave
> * one can keep quite a few phone #'s
> in small-point type on something the
> size of a business card, which can be
> carried around easily with a phone,
> and can also be updated in the field
> with a "pen".  That's an example of
> portable read-mostly technology, even
> if it is *so* last millenium (or two,
> maybe even three...)