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Matthew J. Szulik, CEO, Red Hat Software: Page 3 of 5

Is using Red Hat really more economical than using Microsoft? We've had IT managers price out server licenses for Red Hat versus Microsoft. Red Hat comes back just as expensive, sometimes more so.

There are some technical inaccuracies in that description. To start with, we don't license software; we sell annual subscriptions. Maintenance, service and support are included in the purchase price of our subscription, as compared to software licenses sold by most competitors, where maintenance is extra. That's a basic difference.

But where customers truly see the value is in total operating cost. As customers deploy more and more systems, they have a decreased dependency on human labor to manage them. There's also a decreased need for security implementations because of the high degree of security that Linux and open source can bring.

Still, some users have questioned the support structure for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Have you considered a per-call option for companies that don't need a blanket support contract?

When a customer purchases a subscription for Red Hat, it's not just the 1-800-break-and-fix that they're receiving. That was an old business of Red Hat back in 1998. Part of what we are marketing and selling to the customer is a high degree of integration of the software with the service paradigm, where the customer is receiving a steady stream of technologies that we have been able to put through our certification and testing processes.